We are you. We are researchers, lawyers, doctors, journalists, teachers, social workers, womens’ rights activists, trade union leaders, day-laborers and student activists, coming together to fight against the forces that cause hopelessness in Pakistan. And when we are together, we are powerful.
And why have we come together? Why do we feel the urgent need to grasp, and express our collective power? It is because the experience of everyday life in Pakistan for the common, hard-working citizen has become unbearable. From catastrophic floods to an economy in shambles, to the resurgence of militancy and extremism; it is as if our country and its people have been left adrift by all those who wield power and claim to be our superiors.
Enough! The challenges we face are many, but now, together, we resolve to take our fate, to take the call of history, into our own hands. We have all the tools and skills we need, in each other. Today, we are using data-driven campaigns, grassroots organizing, and social support programs to build a movement of the people, working together towards progress. Our vision is clear and unwavering: we demand equitable cities and a state that serves the needs of the vulnerable majority, not just the privileged few. Our aims are high and humble, and we will not stand down.
While we may not be as big as other parties, our voice is strong, and growing stronger. Our team of dedicated, young activists numbers over 200. Each activist not only brings with them a resolve to grasp the reins of our shared future—they also share innovative ideas, abilities, knowledge, and skill sets, with each other, for each other.
On January 29th, 2023, we marched shoulder to shoulder with more than 5,000 women, children, minorities and workers in Lahore’s working-class industrial district of Chungi Amar Sidhu. We marched together calling for clean water, equal education, public infrastructure and inflation-support programs for the most vulnerable among us. We sent a loud and clear message: the burden of the economic crisis should not fall on the urban poor who have already suffered enough, but on the corrupt elite who receive billions of dollars in subsidies. Ours is decidedly not a party of the corrupt elite, we are from Pakistan’s khalqat, we stand for just rights. We stand for Haq.
We began in 2017 as the Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement. And now we are the Haqooq-e-Khalq Party (HKP). During the Covid-19 crisis when the toiling masses of our fellow citizens were experiencing ever-intensifying levels of abandonment, we rose to the challenge, organizing food drives, health camps, and vaccine awareness campaigns. We stood arm in arm with doctors, medical students, vaccinators and hospital workers being denied basic equipment and resources they needed to work. In our constituency, Chungi Amar Sidhu, schools reported a 15% drop in enrollment, as the pandemic and economic crisis hit the working families hard. We took action. For many among us are teachers, educators, professors and students. We organized country-wide book drives, mobilized international donations, arranged for scholarships, assembled summer camps, and ran a free evening school for children in need. When access to gas was cut off, especially in the poorer neighborhoods of our cities, we agitated, we started a petition, we raised our voices. When workers were mercilessly laid-off without compensation, we took to the streets. Our people were getting sick, and we arranged for medical camps, free clinics. We traced many of the ailments to water-contamination through tests that our party members organized. Our water-testing program found sewerage contamination of drinking water in 40% of the collected samples in the poorer sectors of Lahore. We have prepared a 500 meticulously collected sample and tests-backed legal case on behalf of residents.
These achievements were not easy, but we accomplished them. Together. But the road ahead is difficult, and we have a long way to go. While mutual-aid, protests, and public-action litigation are crucial, they can't provide sustainable solutions to issues like crumbling urban infrastructure, unequal access to resources, and shrinking spending power.
That is why we at HKP are running in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections from PP-159 Chungi Amar Sidhu. Larger parties may be consumed by their quest for power, but we promise to prioritize basic issues like urban infrastructure, health, education, and fair-wage income opportunities for all, not just the privileged few.
And dare we say it, with hope, and hope for change in our hearts, that now we have you to count on. Who are we? We are the Haqooq-e-Khalq Party, and we stand up to the injustice and inequality of dynastic politics and business as usual. We stand strong, because you stand with us.