An alternative is possible
Dear friends, comrades and allies,
This year, in order to provide a genuine progressive alternative to people of Pakistan after decades of misrule by an authoritarian and conservative elite, the Awami Workers Party (AWP) will contest the General Election in different parts of the country to bring its progressive message into the electoral arena.
The AWP is the largest and fastest-growing party of the socialist Left in Pakistan. Formed in 2012, it represents an attempt to rebuild a popular left-wing party that represents ordinary people and is adapted to the new challenges of the 21st century. Since its formation, the party has tried to reintroduce progressive ideas into a political arena that has shifted alarmingly to the right in Pakistan. It has worked to build movements that challenge the political, economic and ideological status quo; for access to land and housing, for political and social freedoms, for women’s emancipation amid rising patriarchal violence, in support of fair wages and dignified employment, for equal rights for all nations, against imperialism, for a progressive fightback against growing rightwing fascism, and for the separation of religion and state. In this time, AWP has also worked proactively to build a left democratic alliance around the country.
In Islamabad, the AWP has worked consistently to organize katchi abadi residents in the struggle for their rights and helped build a progressive political coalition around people’s issues in Pakistan’s capital. The party has established its presence in neighborhoods across the city, organizing for the right to housing, access to water and sanitation, access to education, women’s political participation, resistance to police harassment, inter-faith and inter-ethnic solidarity, and the revival of local art. The party engaged in struggles against arbitrary mass evictions by Islamabad’s Capital Development Authority (CDA). In August 2015, after the violent eviction of the I-11 katchi abadi, the AWP managed to halt the CDA’s eviction drive through the Supreme Court, following which the apex court declared housing to be the responsibility of the state and ordered the government to prepare a countrywide policy for regularizing katchi abadis and providing low income housing.
AWP has also organized progressive sections of society in Islamabad around democratic rights, gender equality, minority rights, student rights and protection of the ecology. In this process, it has provided practical support in Pakistan’s capital to multiple resistance movements from around the country that converge in Islamabad to demand rights and justice.
Building on years of organizing and movement-building, the 2018 general election is an opportunity to present a genuinely pro-people progressive politics in Pakistan. The party is doing this by nominating two committed political workers, Ammar Rashid and Ismat Raza Shahjehan, who have spent years organizing for people’s economic, political and constitutional rights in Islamabad and beyond.
For anyone who believes in the politics and the ideals of justice we stand for, and to all those who have messaged to express solidarity, encouragement and hope: We need your support to make these ideas a reality.
Elections are meant to be democratic. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, these are dominated by moneyed candidates with billions at their disposal, with no regulation of campaign spending by election authorities.
We cannot compete with the power and wealth of mainstream parties. All we have at our disposal is a dedicated team of volunteer political workers, our experience in grassroots mobilization and a firm belief in the need to change the unjust status quo.
In order to be able to compete against this powerful alliance between the state and economic elites, we need more than your votes. We need your practical solidarity and financial support to meet basic campaign expenditures (campaign materials, printing, transport, logistics, administrative expenses, etc.)
Any and all donations are welcome. The AWP will ensure that the funds are utilized with utmost diligence and transparency and will provide accountability for them. The party will keep a meticulous record of donations and send out a newsletter to all those interested, updating on the use of resources and related mobilization and campaign activities.
If you wish to volunteer for this election, please send us your phone number and email through our facebook page or on this email address.
We extend our deepest gratitude in advance for help in this process of building a new politics of social justice, of resistance, for building a people’s democracy in Pakistan. Please feel free to get in touch for any queries or further details needed.
Thanking you in solidarity,
The people of the Awami Workers Party Islamabad/Rawalpindi