Lahore rally against foreign debts.

Farooq Tariq 19\09\2010

We had a very vibrant rally with a lot of slogans and with full enthusiasm. The rally was organised to demand cancellation of Pakistan debts and spending it on flood affectees. The main Mall Road was blocked for over one and half hour and the road saw many red flags raising slogans against American imperialism, IMF, World Bank and other financial institutions. One of the main feature of the rally was participation of women and young activists from different background.


There were several trade unions who had mobalised their members to attend the rally, they include Rustam Suhrab Cycle and Motor Cycle Workers Union CBA, Lahore Gymkhana Workers Association, Railway Wokers Union, Itehad Carpet Union, Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union. There were many activists of Labour Party Pakistan and Workers Party Pakistan and also some from Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party. Progressive Youth front mobalised over 100 youth from one area of Lahore and National Student Federation also mobilized their members. Women Workers Help Line and Labour Education Foundation worked very hard to mobilized those in their out reach. The activists and leaders National Trade Union Federation, Pakistan For Palestine, CATDM Pakistan, Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee, Tehreek Istiqlal, Pakistan Trade Unions Defense Campaign, Pakistan Institute of Secular Studies  and students of Lahore University of Management were among others in the rally.


Abid Hasan Minto, president Workers Party Pakistan came to share his voice against the repayments of foreign debts. The rally started from GPO Chouck and ended at Charing Cross on Mall Road. Asim Sajad Akhtar and Naeem Shakir advocate from Workers Party Pakistan, Abdul Khaliq Shah of CATDM, Bushra Khaliq secretary Women Workers Help Line, Mohammed Naseeb of Lahore Gymkhana, Azhar Siddique advocate, Sakhai Mohammed of Railway Workers Union, Hanif Goraya of Tehreek Istiqlal and myself spoke in the end of rally and vowed to continue the struggle for cancellation of Pakistan foreign debt. 


The speakers made it clear that the campaign will not end and we demanded that government should not take any more loans and say no to the repayments of the debts. They were say that we have paid enough and we will not pay more. They criticized the PPP government of assuring the IMF that they will not go for debt cancellation. "Pakistan has a very strong case for debt cancellation. People of Pakistan are totally in favor of getting rid of IMF and World Bank Loan. People are suffering from the conditionalities of these financial institutions. The new loan on the name of flood will put more burdens, we need grants and aid and not loan" were some of the main points of the speakers.  


The rally was organised by Labour Relief Campaign in association with Oxfam. Over 700 participated in the rally on a Sunday afternoon. 




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