PILER and IHSR Host Joint Dialogue on Socio-Political Issues and 2024 General Elections

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In an insightful collaboration, the Pakistan Institute of Labor Education & Research (PILER) and the Institute of Historical and Social Research (IHSR) recently organized a thought-provoking dialogue titled
“Socio-Political Issues and 2024 General Elections” at Zaki Hassan Auditorium, Jinnah Medical and Dental College.

The event aimed to shed light on the critical social and political challenges leading up to
the upcoming general elections in Pakistan.
Dr. Asma Hyder, Dr. Kaiser Bengali, Dr. Syed Jaffer Ahmed, Dr. Zafar Shaheed, and Karamat Ali, participated in this insightful dialogue and expressed their views on the social and political unrest, and lawlessness prevailing in the society.

Discussing the upcoming elections, Dr. Asma Hyder said that there are high chances like former elections of independent candidates winning in majority and their loyalties bought and a government formed under such arrangements cannot deliver to the expectations of common people.

She further stressed the necessity of providing all political entities with a fair chance, emphasizing the importance of social
and political justice.

She highlighted challenges, including the alarming missing persons’ issue and the
imperative to address the employment needs of the country’s substantial youth population.

Dr. Syed Jaffer Ahmed under the historical lens shared that the ruling powers have always prioritized their own interest above national interests and always suppressed the voices of common people.

He added that Pakistan was made a security state under the British rule which continued in the shape of interference of establishment in the political parties activities.

Expressing concern over the absence of
political party manifestos so close to the elections, he urged a commitment to avoiding past mistakes in political and institutional practices.

Dr. Kaiser Bengali underscored the limited room for economic and political maneuvering for the incoming government, emphasizing the urgent need to address budget and trade deficits.

He expressed his disappointment in the ruling parties for not taking necessary measures to control the trade deficit and urged to halt the import of non-essential luxury items, such as high-end vehicles and imported food, to alleviate the economic challenges.

Former ILO Representative, Dr. Zafar Shaheed, asserted that the preservation of democracy hinges on unionization, describing it as the art of achieving what is possible through negotiation and elements trying to sabotage the unionization are damaging the democracy.

He emphasized the significance of people continually demanding their rights, irrespective of immediate outcomes.

In conclusion, Executive Director PILER, Karamat Ali, drew attention to the fragmented state of students unions and workers’ unions in Pakistan.

The ban on trade unions have only widen the gap between the parliament and common people and does not have any representation of them.

He emphasized the importance of representation of minorities, working class and women in the assemblies for policies that protect common people.

He shared that with only 309 out of 7525 unions as Collective Bargaining Agents (CBAs), he called for concerted efforts to promote unity among workers for the effective realization of their rights. Mr Karamat further condemned the abolishment of unions in the power sector and said that the caretaker government does not have any rights to make such unconstitutional decisions.

This joint dialogue provided valuable insights into the socio-political landscape preceding the 2024 General Elections, urging stakeholders to address challenges collectively for the betterment of the nation.

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