We want peace in our region and at home

(Islamabad 22 September 2022): On the ‘International Day of Peace 2022’, the Women Democratic Front (WDF)’s federal leadership said in a joint statement that we are faced with a four-sided war: not only a four-decade-long imperialist war in our region, but Pakistan is also at war with its own immediate neighboring countries. In addition, the state is also at war with its own citizens within the country, which crushes movements for peace, democratic rights and women’s emancipation. This situation has led to a patriarchal war on women and increased patriarchal violence in public and private spheres.

Military operation in North Waziristan, June 2014 (photo: https://foreignpolicy.com)

Through these decades, the UN, the human rights organizations, and the international community mostly remained silent spectators or colluded with the war industry and the states involved in these wars. While another round of imperialist war is on our way. After winding up the ‘war of terrorism’, the US together with its allies has already initiated Cold War-II in our region – a region that is already devastated and in the grip of violence, poverty, religious extremism, and militarization. Given this context, the return of proxy war through religious extremism and militancy in Pakhtunkhwa province is a matter of grave concern. Thousands of people are out in the streets against the organized target killing of peace activists and nationalists, abduction for ransom by death squads and enforced disappearances by the state, and bomb attacks on civilians by proxy death squads. Children continue dying due to land mines in border districts.

We believe that patriarchal extremism has become a strategic, political, and social asset for these wars. We express deep concern over the plight of women in the war zones of Pakistan and Afghanistan and the growing patriarchal authoritarianism inflicted on women. A large number of women and girls have not only been displaced from their native homes but have also been evicted from public life, education, and jobs.  With the increased militarization and weaponization of society, the use of firearms has become common for ‘honour killing’ in Pakistan, they said.

The WDF acknowledges the sufferings of women in our region and expresses heartfelt sympathies to all our sisters who lost their loved ones in these wars and frequent military operations in Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

With a hegemonic national-security state and associated military expenditures and militarization of the economy, millions are suffering in Pakistan due to the absence of public services, and increasing indebtedness resulting in high inflation. Most foreign exchange obtained by Pakistan through foreign loans goes into import of arms and oil. In the meanwhile, most western countries have already established socialist and social-democratic republics in the 20th century, we are still struggling in 21st century for a basic level welfare state, that can provide for basic needs and pen-path.

We understand war as the battle between imperialists for control of the external markets, resources, cheap labor, oil, and above all politics. War in itself has also become the most profiteering business in the world – wars feed the global arms industry. The military-industrial complexes around the world are having a booming business of arms and bombs’, and continue their covert wars for imperialist expansions in the Global South. We do not see these proxy militant groups (death squads) as Middle Age misogynists but rather as modern Frankenstein created by the West in collusion with our own state – a font-line state in the Great Game and the cold war.

We call upon the western Left and feminist movements to make their own war-mongering states accountable on account of imperialism and associated wars and the arms industry (unlimited), they said.

We express solidarity with our Kurdish and Afghan sisters in struggle, and the current people’s resistance movement against Talibanization of Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces. We extend solidarity to the missing persons movement.

We stand committed to the struggle for the decolonization of Pakistan and Afghanistan, peace and democracy building, and women’s emancipation, they said.