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Parties panned for ignoring workers while awarding tickets.

LAHORE -- The working class has expressed grave concern over the fact that no political party has bothered to give due representation to intellectuals, peasants and workers while awarding tickets for the forthcoming general elections.

'Election manifestoes of political parties also lack concrete plans of action for tackling economic and social problems facing the country,' said a resolution adopted at a meeting organised by All Pakistan Workers Confederation (APWC) at Bakhtiar Labour Hall on Wednesday.

Attended by representatives of APWC-affiliated trade unions from all over the country, the meeting also urged the caretaker government to take note of the devaluation of Pakistani currency against American dollar and the 'uncalled for' increase in prices of petroleum products.

'Both the factors have resulted in unprecedented increase in the prices of essential commodities and medicines, in particular, besides other goods in general,' said APWC President Robina Jameel.

She regretted that the manifestoes of mainstream political parties 'contain no measures for social and economic uplift of women who constitute more than half of the population, by ensuring equal opportunities of education and employment, elimination of discrimination against them and enforcement of principle of equal pay for equal work'.

Confederation Chairman Yousaf Baloch said the manifestos should have measures to ensure provision of free and uniform education to each child, jobs to the youth and 'decent' working conditions and rational wages to the workers along with social protection against sickness, accidents, old age, elimination of child abuse and bonded labour in society.

APWC General Secretary Khurshid Ahmed was of the view that all political parties should have not only included solutions to the problems in their election manifestos, but also to bring labour laws in conformity with International Labour Organisation conventions ratified by the government.

Special seats should be allocated in the national and provincial assemblies besides Senate to workers and intellectuals so that these decision-making bodies were not dominated by feudal lords, capitalists and their family members.

Additional General Secretary Osama Tariq said there should have been suggestions to improve taxation system by imposing high rate of tax on the import of luxurious goods and building of posh bungalows as well as on agricultural income in order to raise revenue for meeting the basic needs of the poor.

The manifestos should have clear-cut guidelines to attain economic self-reliance by enforcing austerity in all walks of life and by getting rid of the culture to rely on loans and debts at the earliest.

Agrarian reforms to eliminate the outdated feudal system should have been part of the manifestos describing that uncultivated state land would be distributed among landless peasants after allocation of adequate resources for promotion of their farming skills and provision of marketing facilities for their products, said Mr Tariq.

Through another unanimously adopted resolution, presented by Akbar Khan, Chaudhry Anwar, Mahmood Butt and others, the meeting demanded that exemplary punishment be awarded to the killer of bus hostess Mehwish Arshad. It also urged the government to get implemented the order of the apex court pertaining to grant of pension to employees of Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation and National Bank of Pakistan.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Jun 21, 2018
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