The prominent economic analyst of the country Dr. Farakh Saleem opened the seminar. He said that over the last three years Pakistan has been facing a worsening economic crisis. More than 60 million people are living below the poverty line. And their monthly income is less than US$12. The price of consumer goods including gas, petrol, telephone and transport charges are rapidly increasing with each coming day. And due to all this, the daily life of the poor masses is getting more and more miserable by the day. He said that the announcement about the housing schemes in a country like Pakistan, where a large part of the population doesn't even have bread to eat, is nothing less then a joke. The government added insult to injury to the poor masses of the country.
The vice president of the PTCL Lines Staff Union, Iftikhar Haider Jhatla, said that not only this budget, but also all the policies of this regime are anti-working class. The President of RIJU, Perviaz Shoukat, deeply praised the struggle of the PTUDC and said that it is a platform of the working class of Pakistan that wants a change of system. And the workers should join this struggle to change this system which is based on the exploitation of the working class. The President of the Workers' Confederation, Zafar ullah Niazi, said this budget will further worsen the miserable life of the working class. The President of the OPF union said the working class totally rejects this budget which the ruling class has drawn up. The regional president of the PTCL Employees union, Shoukat Sattee, said that this budget contains words, words and more words. It does not provide any relief to the working class. The general secretary of the United Transport Action Committee said that the concession provided on the import of vehicles is only to facilitate the multinationals and capitalists. And this concession is totally useless for the poor masses of the country that constitute 90% of the total population of the country.
Jahangir Akhtar, Comrade Mohd Irshad from WAPDA hydro union, Comrade Sajid Tanoli from the People's Lawyer's Forum, and Comrade Sehzad Kasher from the Rawalpindi Bar Association, also totally and fully rejected the 2003 Federal Budget.
Addressing the seminar the organizer of the Islamabad PTUDC, comrade Azad Qadri, said that the amounts that have been allocated to the different sectors for "development" by the government are a disgrace. If, for example, we divide the amount which has been allocated for the eradication of illiteracy over the whole population, the average per head comes to a meagre $0.5 per month! And if we look at health spending, again each person will get less than $0.5 per month. So this is the state of affairs. Explaining the role of the PTUDC he said it is a body that is struggling to unite the trade unions and the workers in the struggle against the anti-working class policies of the present regime. But, he added, this is not the ultimate goal of the PTUDC. The PTUDC is working to organise the working class of Pakistan in the struggle against this capitalist system and for the socialist transformation of society. This is the ultimate task of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign.
At the end of the seminar the Marxist Member of the Pakistani Parliament, Comrade Qamar uz Zaman Qaira, said that the present government is implementing the policies of downsizing and dismissals. The workers are being badly oppressed and they are thrown into the merciless jaws of joblessness, poverty and illiteracy by the same government that claims that it is trying hard to improve the condition of the working class. This hypocritical behaviour and its foolish and slavish attitude towards world imperialism is a shameful and at the same time brutal stance of this government. The miseries of the working class both in Pakistan and throughout the world can only be alleviated through the socialist revolution.
The working class is in the forefront of the revolution and to organize the working class for the socialist revolution in Pakistan is the foremost duty of the comrades in the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign.
At the end of the meeting the seminar passed several resolutions which unanimously rejected the 2003 Federal Budget, the LFO, and the IRO 2002, which all contain anti-working class orders and policies.