Thousands demonstrate against neoliberal agenda and price hikes in Pakistan

Posted June 12, 2008

Over 3000 activists and supporters of the Labour Party Pakistan took part in rally at Lahore June 6 against the ongoing neoliberal policies of the present Pakistan People’s Party government. They chanted slogans against the price hikes, U.S. imperialism and demanded an immediate end of policies dictated by imperialist companies and financial institutions.

Similar demonstration took place in 30 other cities including Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Multan, Moro, Dault Pur and Layya. Labour Party Pakistan organized the demonstrations and rallies with the support of trade unions, social movements and peasant organizations. A day of national action against price hikes, they also demanded an immediate restoration of the top judges and the resignation of General Pervez Musharraf.

  • The Peshawar demonstration was broadcasted live by private television channel ARY World. Over 400 participated in that demonstration including more than 100 women.
  • In Karachi, over 250 activists demonstrated at Regal Chouck. They raised slogans against U.S. imperialism and its policies towards colonial countries.
  • In Islamabad, over 150 demonstrated at Aab Para Chouck against the price hikes and demanded a living wage of at least 12,000 Rupees. They also demanded action against those bosses who are attacking workers forming trade unions in different parts of the country.
  • In Lahore, over 1000 women participated, with the main leadership of Women Workers Help Line (WWHL), a working-class women’s organization, in the lead. The main Mall Road was blocked for over two hours as the rally passed thought this busy and prestigious road. Thousands on both sides of the road cheered the demonstrators. Mall Road was red with all the waving red flags.

This demonstration against price hikes was the largest so far organized by any political party in Pakistan. Demonstrators raised slogans in favor of Socialism, declaring that Socialism is the only answer to the problems facing the working class.

“Capitalism has failed in solving the basic problems of the masses; it is a message of consistent price hikes and unemployment. We have to change the system and develop a party that could prepare a Socialist revolution,” declared Farooq Tariq while addressing the public rally at Lahore. He went on to say, “We demand a minimum wage of 12,000 Rupees with an introduction of unemployment benefit for all adult unemployed; we want an end of privatization and cancellation of foreign debts. Reduce the military expenditure and spent it on the people.” He also demanded action against the owner of the New Khan private bus company who has sacked 80 workers for forming the first trade union at the company.

Several leaders of the lawyers’ movement and trade union leaders, including Moeen Nawaz Punno, Muhammed Yousaf Baluch, Bushra Khaliq, Azra Shad, Mehmood Butt, addressed the rally. All the main print and electronic media covered the event. Activists of Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party participated.

The Labour Party Pakistan will participate in the long march planned by the lawyers’ movement starting from Sukhar in Sindh on June 10. The LPP also plans further demonstrations opposing the price hikes.