Human RightsNews

Workers Stage Protest Demonstration against Inflation in Karachi

Demand cut in defense budget, salaries of parliamentarians, judges and generals

“Stop making Pakistan colony of IMF, the New East India Company” – Workers chant slogans against rulers.

Sindh Courier

Karachi

A large number of workers staged protest demonstration here on Sunday against inflation and demanded to stop making Pakistan a colony of International Monetary Fund (IMF), whom they dubbed as a new East India Company. The workers chanted slogans against the sitting government.

The demonstration, organized by National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF), was led by Comrade Zehra Khan, Riaz Abbassi and Comrade Aqib Hussain.

Addressing the protestors, labor leaders accused the rulers of being facilitators and agents of IMF and other global lenders. They said for just six billion dollars, Pakistan is being made an IMF colony.

Terming the present and past rulers responsible for the ongoing economic crisis in the country, they said that due to their anti-people policies today Pakistan is burdened with 130 billion dollar foreign loans and Rs.53.5 trillion internal loans. They said 22 percent increase in these loans happened during the government of Imran Khan alone.

They said every new ruler has proved crueler than the previous one. “The present government has pushed the masses to the worst economic crisis. By increasing oil prices to an unbearable level the poor masses are being pushed to hunger and death,” the added.

The relief of Rs.28 billion as announced by the government is like rubbing salt on the wounds of poor people of Pakistan, they said.

The leaders said the real inflation is much higher than the government-announced inflation of 15.1 percent. “As per an estimate food inflation is more than 17.25 percent, while electricity tariff has been hiked by 24.8 percent and gas tariff by 45 percent. During last five years the rates of medicines have been increased by 265 percent.”

They said that in 2018 minimum wage was Rs16200 or 132 dollars per month and in 2022 it is Rs.19000 equal to 95 dollars, which means that real minimum wage has decreased by 33 dollars or Rs7300 per month.

“Resultantly, 179 million Pakistani citizens, or 78 percent of population, are compelled to live beneath the poverty line. But the ruling elite including capitalists, military and civilian bureaucracy and landlords, who control politics, extort 17.4 billion dollars per annum from the national economy. The landlords who are not even one percent of the total population own 22 percent of the cultivable lands of the country. Capitalists get benefits of 4.7 billion per year from the State, while military establishment gets relief of Rs.1.7 billion every year in land tax. The national economy is at the verge of bankruptcy but the defense budget is being increases by Rs.1.45 trillion for the coming fiscal.”

They said that 49.6 percent of national income goes to 20 percent high-income population while the poorest population of 20 percent gets only 7 percent of the total national income. They said that governor of State Bank gets a salary of Rs.24 Lakh per month and a judge gets salary of Rs.13 Lakhs per month besides other perks while a worker gets Rs.19000 per month salary in Sindh and 90 percent of workers even do not get it.

They said increasing socioeconomic injustice in society is the result of insensitivity of the ruling elite. It could only end with help of an organized mass resistance movement.

They suggested that with approval of parliament talks should be held with the lending agencies including IMF for a ten year moratorium on their loans.

Following demands were made:

  • Curtailing defense budget by fifty percent, but not to reduce the combat budget.

  • Use of vehicles of more than 1500cc in government offices should be banned. Free petrol of Rs50 billion per year to 0.15 million cars of government officers should be stopped.

  • 50 percent cut in the salaries of officers of Grade 18 and above including judges, parliamentarians and generals.

  • Trade ties with India should be resumed and both countries should give the most favorite nation (MFN) status to one another.

  • Sweeping land reforms, and distributing lands of absent landlords amongst Haris.

  • Patronizing export industry while discouraging imports. They asked banning imports of all goods that could be made in the country. Steps should be taken to check smuggling.

  • At least Rs40000 minimum wages and calculating the minimum wages on basis of price hike.

  • Pension and old age social security rights to each and every citizen.

  • Awareness drive on war footing basis to tell masses about the harmful effects of extra use of sugar, ghee and vegetable oil.

  • Start office timings at 7:00 am and shop closure at 7:00 pm.

  • Increase public transport to check unbridled use of fuel.

  • Levy a 100 percent duty on soft drinks and cigarettes.

Those who spoke include Karamt Ali of National Labor Council, Saira Feroz of United HB Workers Union, Parveen Bano of Home Based Women Workers Federation, Bakht Zameen of SITE Labour Forum, Fahad from Standard Board Workers Action Committee, Saeeda Khatoon of Balidia Factory Fire Affecttees Association, Comrade Wahid Baloch writer, Zahid Farooq of Urban Resource Center, Akber Narejo from Progressive Labor Union Pakistan Steel Mill, Ayub Qureshi from National Party, Annoshay Alam and M. Sharif, Social Activist, Owais Jatoi from Alternate Youth Group and others.

________________

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close
Close