Since its creation in 2012, the Awami Workers Party has established itself as the only political force in Pakistan that is committed to overturning our elitist, patriarchal and unsustainable status quo. We have struggled consistently to bring to the fore the real issues and concerns of Pakistan’s long-suffering people, and in particular the working classes, women, religious and ethnic minorities that are still condemned to the status of second-class citizens 70 years after the country was created.
This is no small task in an environment where media sensationalism, money and influence of ‘electables’ and the machinations of the deep state render it extremely difficult to retain the substance of democracy, of the people, by the people and for the people. Today’s Pakistan is extremely young, and faces enormous challenges in the years ahead. More democracy and real alternatives to the status quo are the answers to all of these challenges, and we will remain steadfast in our struggle regardless of the scale of these challenges moving forward.
AWP has formulated a manifesto for the 2018 general elections that focuses on structural issues of importance to the country. This manifesto focuses on issues of local social, political and economic relevance to Islamabad’s citizens.
While we have established a presence in many parts of the country, our work in Islamabad-Rawalpindi has been particularly significant, both because the federal capital and its twin city are perpetually in the public eye, and also because Islamabad remains beset by many of the same structural crises that affect Pakistan at large, despite being the only city in the country planned and constructed from scratch in the 1960s.
After the 18th amendment, despite the devolution of various subjects to the provinces, there remains an administrative vacuum in Islamabad, which is still governed bureaucratically and undemocratically. For this purpose, our manifesto is expressly geared toward bringing true participatory democracy to the capital city so that its development reflects its residents’ will and aspirations.
It is often said that Islamabad is 15 miles from the rest of Pakistan, but despite all of the slogans about ‘Islamabad the beautiful’, class inequality, patriarchal oppression, ecological destruction and ethnic/religious discrimination are rife in the capital. The AWP has established itself firmly as the voice of resistance to all forms of power in Islamabad, and has also previously showed that the politics of change can be taken to the ballot box. We garnered almost 10,000 votes in 8 union councils in the 2015 local government elections, thereby making us amongst the highest vote-getters behind the ruling-class parties PML-N and PTI.
In this general election we are once again appealing to Islamabad’s conscience, to its young people, women, religious minorities, people of all ethnic backgrounds who have migrated to the city in search of education and employment, and to its working masses who build its roads and plazas, clean its homes and offices and without whom the lavish lifestyles of the rich and powerful would not be possible. We want to build an Islamabad for its people, so join us in the struggle and prove that a people’s campaign can succeed.
The AWP won three general councilor seats in the 2015 local government elections in Islamabad; our elected leaders were expected to be granted legal and fiscal authority to address the needs of their constituents. Instead, since the establishment of the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad (MCI), there has been no explicit separation of powers between the MCI and the unelected Capital Development Authority (CDA), and decision-making processes have remained opaque and insensitive to the needs of the city’s residents. AWP intends to:
There are more than 40 katchi abadis or informal settlements in Islamabad at present, a microcosm of the country-wide situation: the poorest 68% of the urban workforce has access to only 1% of the market-provided housing in cities. More katchi abadis will crop up in years to come unless the elitist planning paradigm that privileges the rich and dispossesses the poor is not redressed. AWP intends to:
The AWP seeks to address the growing and increasingly dire environmental problems faced by the citizens of Islamabad, particularly the growing water crisis. In doing so, we will ensure a secure future for coming generations. AWP intends to:
In line with its country-wide manifesto, AWP is committed to revamping Islamabad’s education system to ensure access to education for all of the city’s children without discrimination. We are also committed to equipping our children and youth with the skills required for them to become productive and conscious 21st century citizens. AWP intends to:
AWP will push for increased government intervention to strengthen protections for the thousands of ordinary workers in Islamabad, in particular informal workers and domestic workers (most of whom are women and underage children). AWP intends to:
AWP is conscious of the dwindling opportunities for young people in Islamabad, many of whom feel frustrated about the lack of jobs, opportunities and recreational spaces available to them. We intend to:
There is arguably no other section of society so underprivileged and oppressed than women and girls. They are literally second-class citizens, typically confined to the home, and those who step into the male-dominated public sphere for education and employment are made to struggle for basic dignities and freedoms that men simply take for granted. AWP intends to:
The AWP is committed to a growth strategy for Islamabad that is geared towards fulfilling people’s basic services and employment needs while charting a course towards improved productivity, sustainability and distributive efficiency.
Rather than serving the people according to their constitutional responsibilities, many state office-bearers who wield power often use it to exploit the weakest segments of society. The state-sponsored politicization of religion, especially since the 1980s, has led to the indoctrination of millions of children and adolescents across the country, often resulting in violence and social practices deleterious to the public interest. Furthermore, the institutions responsible for providing justice and security to ordinary people have become synonymous with injustice and tyranny. State institutions offer little to the weakest segments of society, including minorities and the disabled. AWP will:
AWP recognizes the crises around child rights in Pakistan with more 23 million children out of school and millions illegally employed in different industries, often toiling in dangerous conditions and facing verbal, physical and sexual abuse. AWP intends to:
AWP is keenly aware of the impact that the countrywide energy crisis has on the citizens of Islamabad. Our approach to addressing this crisis will be multi-pronged. AWP intends to: