Awami Workers Party Pakistan condemns murder of PIA workers in Karachi
The Awami Workers Party strongly condemns state violence against workers of the Pakistan International Airlines on Tuesday in which at least two workers in Karachi were killed and scores were tear-gassed, beaten up and injured. The AWP also condemns the imposition of the barbaric Essential Services Maintenance Act to stamp out the workers’ right to protest for their rights. The party has called for a protest in solidarity with PIA workers at Charing Cross at 3pm on February 3.
It is necessary to point out that all regimes have attempted to privatise PIA and exploit it for their own political and economic interests.The reasons given to us for the privatisation of the national carrier – incompetence, wasteful expenditure, declining service standards, gross mismanagement – are a result of usurious myopic policies of successive regimes.
Yet, all research into the privatization of public assets since the 90s demonstrates how the process has been marred by corruption, cronyism, asset-stripping, as well as aggravating social problems such as unemployment. In bizarre irony, the political elite of the country, which has used public institutions for financial gains and petty electoral considerations, have been handed over the responsibility of overseeing the “transparent handing over” of Pakistan’s national assets. Without an accountability process of the highly dubious previous privatization projects, once again, it is the ordinary workers and ordinary citizens who will face the brunt of the elite’s economic mismanagement.
More importantly, if crucial policy decisions affecting millions of citizens are not presented in front of the public for a thorough debate,and instead are decided by technocrats from the IMF, it will raise serious questions on the efficacy of a parliament allegedly representing the “will of the people”.
The government’s attempts to bundle-off and privatise segments of the Water and Power Development Authority have only served to highlight the failure of a neoliberal capitalist system.
The argument that privatisation will make ‘lumbering’ state-owned enterprises more efficient has fallen on its own merit with the case of power supply companies. Yet the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government is going ahead with an aggressive gamble in privatising the PIA.
The brunt of this failed experiment being repeated over and over again falls on the workers. Now with the right to strike and protest taken away, the space to even demonstrate dissent against these myopic policies is being stamped out.
The AWP demands that the government revoke the draconian Essential Services Maintenance Act and holds the government and rangers accountable for the usage of force against the workers.
The AWP demands an immediate end to failed austerity and privatisation policies and expresses complete solidarity with the striking workers who are demanding nothing but a life of dignity.
Awami Workers Party
Ph: 0300 8433173