Young activist Muzamil Kakar shares how inequality in his community and country has inspired his activism, and how we need to remake the economic system from the local to the global.

By: Fight Inequality

Muzamil is giving testimony on Wednesday 11 October, 09:30-15:30 Casablanca Time at the Peoples’ Alternative Global Tribunal on the IMF and World Bank in Marrakech, Morocco. Watch live via Facebook.

I am Muzamil Kakar, and I come from Baluchistan, Pakistan, a place where life is tough. Poverty, terrorism, and extremism are daily challenges, especially in Killa Abdullah, one of the most backward cities in Baluchistan. Almost everyone here struggles with poverty – about 97% of the population.

My personal journey has been a testament to the resilience of our people and the power of grassroots activism. As Chairman of the Pashtun Council at Punjab University in Lahore, I witnessed the disparities that existed in educational opportunities. This ignited a passion within me to drive change, leading to the inception of the "Connect the Disconnect" campaign. This initiative was aimed at bridging the educational gap for students in Baluchistan and the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

In 2019, I took up the mantle of Convenor for the Student Action Committee, which spearheaded nationwide protests and marches advocating for the reinstatement of Student Unions. We took our message to 52 cities across Pakistan, determined to give a voice to the voiceless youth.

Recognizing the importance of knowledge in breaking the chains of poverty, I embarked on a campaign to create and donate books to libraries in the underprivileged regions of Baluchistan. With your support, we successfully gathered and contributed books to 21 libraries, enriching the minds of our youth.

Today, I am honored to serve as the General Secretary of the Huqooq-e-Khalq Party in Punjab, a political entity committed to advocating for the rights of low-income and impoverished individuals across Pakistan. In times of crisis, we have not shied away from our duty, actively engaging in relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and providing assistance to those affected by recent floods in Baluchistan.

Now, let's delve into some important questions:

  1. The Sharpening Inequalities: I've seen firsthand the sharpening inequalities that affect not just my life but also the lives of many others in my community and country. In Baluchistan, the divide between the haves and have-nots is stark. Lack of access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities perpetuates this inequality. These disparities are not unique to my region; they resonate with countless communities worldwide.
  2. The Role of IMF and World Bank: The IMF and World Bank have played a significant role in perpetuating systemic injustices. Their policies have often prioritised the interests of the global elite over the well-being of ordinary people. Structural adjustment programs and conditional loans have led to austerity measures that hit the most vulnerable the hardest. These institutions have also been instrumental in promoting economic policies that exacerbate inequality, favoring multinational corporations over local industries and agriculture.
  3. Our Solutions and Demands: To address these injustices and build an alternative global economic system, we must advocate for change on multiple fronts. We demand transparency and accountability from international financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank. Their policies must prioritise the reduction of inequality, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development. We call for debt relief and restructuring that genuinely benefits countries facing financial hardships, rather than burdening them with unsustainable loans.

Furthermore, we believe in the importance of grassroots initiatives like education campaigns, library development, and relief efforts to uplift the most marginalised. Empowering local communities and ensuring that the benefits of economic growth reach them directly is a fundamental part of the solution. We must foster economic systems that prioritise people and the planet over profit.

In conclusion, this conference, "Preparation for People's Alternatives Global Tribunal on the IMF and World Bank," is a crucial platform. We aim to find better ways to serve the needs of people, beyond the influence of global financial institutions. The struggles of my hometown and many others like it underscore the urgency of our mission. I thank you all for your commitment to this cause. Let's work together to create a brighter future for all. Thank you.