Lahore: Leaders of the Awami Workers Party said they would play the role of a people’s opposition to the coming PTI-led government and continue to build a genuine political alternative to the system of capitalist exploitation, state oppression and religious fundamentalism across the country.

The AWP leaders said they would build on the momentum generated from the party’s people’s election campaign to expand the party’s presence in districts and provinces across the country.

In a statement issued after the party’s post-election meeting of its federal leadership, AWP President Fanoos Gujjar congratulated the party’s candidates for bravely contesting elections against the parties of the ruling elite despite a severe shortage of resources. He said the party would now expand its presence in districts across the country and called on young people, women, and working classes across Pakistan to join the party to build a genuine progressive political alternative in the country. For this purpose, the party would organize conferences and membership camps in all major districts in the country to spread its manifesto and built its grassroots strength, he said.

AWP founding President Abid Hassan Minto said that the democratic system in Pakistan continued to favour elite candidates who used their wealth and power to dominate the electoral process, while leaving little room for ordinary people to contest elections. He said there had been a blatant exercise of wealth in the entire electoral process in which millions had been spent just to directly buy votes from working classes. He said the party would continue its struggle to reform this elite-focused democratic system by fighting for proportional representation in which parties would be elected based on their manifesto and share of votes. He said the AWP had already waged a legal battle for election reforms in the Supreme Court and would continue to pursue political and legal means to create a level playing field in the electoral arena.

AWP Spokesman Farooq Tariq said that the 2018 election had been one of the most rigged in the country’s history and the electoral process had been heavily manipulated by the establishment to engineer an outcome favourable to its own interests. He said that the incoming PTI government had come into power on the backs of the wealth and power of feudal and capitalist electables and the establishment and was likely to initiate heavily anti-worker and anti-poor neoliberal policies once in power in order to please its powerful benefactors. He said that the AWP would resist any anti-people measures taken by the incoming government through building a progressive opposition of young people, workers, women and all oppressed groups in society.

AWP General Secretary Akhtar Hussain said the AWP would also work to unite all progressive forces in the country under the banner of the Left Democratic Front in the coming months. He said that the LDF would contribute greatly to the rebuilding of ideological politics and transform the money-driven logic of mainstream politics to build a genuine people’s democracy in Pakistan. AWP Deputy Secretary Ismat Shahjahan said that the party would immediately begin its preparations for the next local bodies elections across the country by organizing the party at the union-council level and addressing people’s issues at the grassroots.