The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has called for all progressive political and social forces to unite around a genuinely transformative political-economic programme based on redistribution of wealth, reduction of defence and other non-productive expenditures, defence of the livelihoods and liberties of the working masses, an end to the pillage of natural resources in ethnic peripheries, and the elimination of all anti-women oppression and socio-economic structures.
The AWP has asserted that the demise of Imran Khan’s PTI and the ushering in a new government spearheaded by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif represents at best temporary respite from deeply entrenched class, imperialist and gendered structures of power that are sustained by the military establishment. The long-term wellbeing of Pakistan’s predominantly youthful working masses demands a genuine political alternative.
In a communique issued at the conclusion of its two-day federal committee meeting in Karachi, AWP president Yousuf Mustikhan, general secretary Bakhshal Thalho and senior vice president Akhtar Hussain said that in a desperate attempt to save his faltering regime, Imran Khan claimed that that he was the target of a US-backed conspiracy.
There can be no doubt that US imperialism has systematically undermined Pakistan’s democracy, whilst also subjugating its working masses and ethnic peripheries to the rule of capital and endless wars. Meanwhile the Washington-backed NATO alliance continues to weave destruction around the world despite it being a relic of the cold war.
Imran Khan’s vacuous anti-Americanism deliberately neglects that the PTI government was systematically patronized by the US-backed military establishment, and that in almost 4 years in power the PTI acceded to IMF-conditionalities and the hegemony of multinational corporations.
For its part, the government headed by PM Shehbaz Sharif will soon be revoking fuel subsidies which are likely to push the price of petrol beyond Rs250 per liter, which will confirm that none of the ruling class parties are able and willing to undertake political and economic decisions to extricate Pakistan from the suffocating grip of multilateral and bilateral donors.
Meanwhile, there is no evidence that the new government is willing and able to challenge the military establishment on fundamental questions of policy, including the gruesome practice of enforced disappearances, military domination of Balochistan, and state patronage of militant right-wing forces like the Taliban and TLP.
The AWP leadership asserted that a genuinely anti-imperialist project in Pakistan must challenge the domination of the military establishment, religious right and the ruling class accumulation project that is based on the ruthless exploitation of land, water bodies, mountainous highlands and other natural resources.
They said that it is only left-progressive forces that articulate such a politics and the AWP will focus its energies on uniting all such forces on a common platform, especially in the build-up to general elections.
Such a left-progressive alliance will also articulate a truly independent and non-aligned foreign policy that privileges peace with Pakistan’s immediate neighbours, India and Afghanistan, whilst also pursuing meaningful policies of economic cooperation with other regional countries, including Iran.
The party leadership believes that the building of such a left-progressive political alternative demands that politicised youth – including those poisoned by the reactionary rhetoric of the PTI – close ranks with katchi abadi dwellers, fisherfolk, domestic servants and home-based workers, small and landless farmers, and daily wage workers whose labour makes Pakistan society function on a daily basis.
This working mass is largely alienated from the high politics of the establishment-dominated system, even though it is the primary victim of the elite’s often violent accumulation strategies.
Only by uniting working masses and youth, both in metropolitan Pakistan and ethnic peripheries, can federalism and democracy thrive, and a long-term transformative project away from colonial capitalism reach fruition.