Aurat Azadi Jalsa Calls for Land and Economic Reforms

Activists gather in Islamabad to demand women’s rights, land reforms, and economic democratization on International Working Women Day

Women Democratic Front (WDF) and Aurat Azadi March held the ‘Aurat Azadi Jalsa’ at F-9 Park on Sunday to commemorate the 113th International Working Women Day. A large number of activists, including members of trade unions, attended the event to demand an end to patriarchy and violence against women as well as the democratization of the country’s economy.

The gathering, which was first held in front of the National Press Club in 2018, has since taken place all over the nation, creating networks of support with other resistance movements.

The WDF and Aurat Azadi March issued a communiqué at the meeting that called for land reforms, the return of federally owned lands, mines, and water reserves to the federating units, as well as the economic democratization of the nation.

The speakers emphasized how Pakistan is in danger on a number of fronts. Millions were left homeless and suffering from hunger, disease, and extreme poverty as a result of last year’s catastrophic floods. While this is going on, patriarchy and violence against women are still prevalent and have a strong institutional and societal foundation.

Ismat Shahjahan, the president of the WDF, denounced the growing oppression of Baloch women and demanded the return of all missing people, especially Baloch women. She demanded free public education and healthcare for all, a decolonized and demilitarized economy and state, progressive taxation, and urban and agrarian land reforms.

The All Katchi Abadi Alliance and Awami Workers Party leader Gulzar Begum called for the regularization of settlements, including katchi abadis, where people flee war-torn regions, feudal heartlands, and impoverished villages. She called for urban land reforms to increase housing options for the working class and a drop in the cost of essentials like food and clothing.

Anam Rathore, the event’s organizer and co-founder of Climate Action Pakistan, emphasized how the economic and climate crises are intertwined, leaving many Pakistanis helpless and apathetic. She demanded that the colonial approach to river management be abandoned and that the state’s flagrant negligence be addressed.

An AWP leader named Farzana Bari recognised the interconnectedness of these crises as well as the various types of ongoing sexism and exploitation that women experience. She urged ongoing organising to create a society that is egalitarian.

WDF member Pakeezah drew attention to the rise in transphobia directed at the transgender community and urged cross-movement cooperation to plant the seeds of pro-people feminist politics.

“Dharti ka Dum Ghutta Hai,” an artistic performance, was also presented at the event. Laal Hartaal member Areej Hussain emphasized the need for more leftist political art to bring about climate justice based on socialist ideals.

In order to create a society that is more egalitarian, the event reiterated the urgent need for progressive gender agendas, a decolonised and demilitarized economy and state, and an end to patriarchy and violence against women.

Written by Imad Khan

Imad Khan has the skills and experience to deliver top-notch content that informs, engages, and inspires. He oftens explores nature in his free time.