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Statement: Internationalist solidarity with Women’s Democratic Front

20 January 2020

THE League for the Fifth International categorically condemns the seven-hour-long illegal detention of the Balochistan president of the Women’s Democratic Front, WDF, Jalila Haider. We express solidarity with WDF comrades in the wake of this harassment and intimidation by the Pakistani state.

Haider was boarding her flight to the UK early on Monday morning, January 20, when authorities at the Lahore airport stopped her. She was due to fly to the UK to attend a conference on feminism arranged by the University of Sussex. After her detention, she was told that her name was on the no-fly list because of her “anti-state activities”.

We condemn this form of harassment and intimidation that the Pakistani state resorts to against socialists and radical activists, especially those belonging to ethnic minorities. Haider herself is from the extremely oppressed Hazara community in Quetta, Balochistan.

Her detention reveals how the ongoing economic crisis in Pakistan has gone so deep that the state has started to act in an even more paranoid manner than before. It is aware that the masses are ready to revolt against the neoliberal economic crisis, just like their counterparts in Chile, Ecuador, France, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and other parts of the world, and it wants to crush every dissenting voice.

The Pakistani ruling class appears to be extremely threatened and rightly so because it has failed to deal with the economic crisis, whose burden has been shifted onto the shoulders of the working and lower-middle classes.

In this scenario, we send solidarity to Haider and all the comrades who gathered at the airport and also those who gathered for a protest in Quetta and built the pressure to get her released.

The WDF is a socialist organisation that organises among working women in urban and rural parts of Pakistan and we salute their efforts in the sharpening class struggle in the country and in activating the female half of the working class to play its role in this struggle. Victory to the Pakistani working class!

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