Women Democratic Front statement on curbing of political freedoms

Women Democratic Front slams the government for curbing political freedoms amid during COVID-19

We demand immediate action to provide income, food, health and shelter for the working class majority during the coronavirus pandemic: WDF

Islamabad, May 12 2020: WDF held its’ federal council meeting to discuss the increasing vulnerabilities of the working people due to the pandemic and the inefficiency of the government in dealing with the crisis. “The binary created between lives and livelihoods is being presented as the only choice, instead of providing relief to the workers. The packages have been announced to bail out the construction industry which rightfully belong to the people. The government does not seem to be motivated to work for the people. We have families committing collective suicides due to hunger and poverty” said WDF secretary Alya Bakhshal.

Women across the country especially working class women are being disproportionately affected by the lockdown and the pandemic due to the increase in work burden in the households. “The work of care has increased manifold during the pandemic with an increase in patriarchal violence at homes. The government has failed to address the growing incidents of violence against women. It is the lack of political will on part of the government than the lack of resources” she further added

They said that the government is not willing to redirect funds for the well-being of people and expanding the existing health infrastructure. “Cuts on the defense budget to upgrade the healthcare infrastructure and to provide relief to the working people is the critical need of the hour. The crisis has exposed the criminally neglected state of public healthcare in the country after decades of privatization under neoliberalism, as governments now scramble to build emergency hospital capacity, buy ventilators and struggle to provide life-saving protective equipment to health workers at risk of infection The government cannot provide relief to people by announcing package for the elite.” said Ismat Shahjahan, president WDF. “Providing a nominal amount in the name of relief is not enough, the relief government provided is not dignified. The locusts attack is going to cause further food insecurity in the country, the federal government is paying no heed to it in Sindh which can result in food shortages in the coming days”

They also demanded that the state must stop the increasing curbs on political workers and organizations during COVID-19 lockdown. “We have noticed a rise in curbs on political freedom and silencing of dissenting voices. Various political groups, activists and academics have been facing threats lately. We strongly condemn this and demand that these feat instilling tactics must stop at once and people must be allowed to express their democratic rights” said Ismat Shahjahan. “We also strongly condemn the ban on JSQM-A, a peaceful sindhi nationalist political party.” said Alya Bakhshal

The WDF gave an open call to all the progressives to unite during the crisis to take action against the growing injustices and inequalities being met by the workers. WDF also vowed to continue its efforts towards forming international solidarity of the left amid the COVID-19 against the rising authoritarianism and against the neoliberal world order.

Issued by
Tooba Syed
Secretary Information WDF