Why does Pakistan need privatization
Resistance to privatization
Revolutionary Socialist Movement, Pakistan, Section of the League for the Fifth International, New International 154, November 2010
Electricity workers from across the country organized protests on October 13th against the privatization of public companies. There is growing anger in Pakistan over the constant price increases in essential goods, coupled with rising unemployment, which exacerbate miserable poverty.
The already big gap between rich and poor is widening day by day, which makes a lot of people angry. The government has now proposed to privatize the state-owned company Pepco (Pakistan Electric Power Company) and to break it up into several smaller companies. This proposal comes at the direction of the World Bank and the IMF - a clear sign that the bosses are trying to abuse the crisis to privatize public services.
The protests were organized by the WAPDA (Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority), the WAPDA-Hydro-Electronic-Trade Union, and met with massive support from workers across the country. There were mass demonstrations and rallies in all major cities such as Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faislabad, Multan, Hyderabad, Quetta and others.
In Lahore, thousands of workers marched from the "Bukhtiar Labor Hall" through the city center and ended the demonstration with a rally in front of the Lahore Press Club. They carried red flags and banners that supported their demands and shouted slogans such as "Down with the World Bank, down with the IMF!", "Down with privatization!" and "Against price increases and unemployment!" Some demonstrators burned an IMF symbol.
The general secretary of the Khurshid Ahmad union said that the planned dismantling of PEPCO and the instructions from the World Bank behind it were against the interests of the workers. He called on WAPDA to comply with the workers' demands and said that if the government did not engage in talks with the union representatives, they would march to Islamabad. Other union leaders said that workers went out of their way to thwart the government's neoliberal plans and that the recent privatization of public companies such as KESC (Karachi City Power Company) had already proven the policy's flaws.
The mood among the workers was very good, they are determined to fight against the planned privatization and for their demands until the end. Sajjid Hussain told the Resistance (newspaper of the Pakistani section of the LFI): “We live in very bad circumstances, it is difficult to live in this situation. We will fight for our demands and against privatization. "
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