Occupy Wall Street in Karachi barely musters a pavement

Published: October 23, 2011
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People gathered outside the Karachi Press Club to show their support. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS

People gathered outside the Karachi Press Club to show their support. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS

KARACHI: 

A rally in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement was organised in Karachi on Saturday afternoon, but the most its organisers could occupy was a section of the pavement outside the Karachi Press Club.

The rally was organised by a group calling itself the Anti-Capitalist Movement, which comprises members of the National Students Federation, International Socialists, students and teachers of Karachi University and some students from the Aga Khan University and College of Business and Management. Bystanders, followers of the Tanzeem-e-Islami (who were holding their own meeting across the road) looked on curiously at the protest.

About 40 young students and old activists awkwardly gathered together on the pavement, clutching signs and copies of the International Socialists monthly magazine, placards with printed photographs of the sit-in protests organised by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. The placards drew inspiration from what has become the most well-known slogan to have come out of the US protests by saying ‘Occupy Pakistan. We are the 99%’.

The group chanted slogans against the US, businessmen and capitalists. ‘New York bhi maange azadi, London bhi maange azadi, Karachi bhi maange azadi’. (New York, London and Karachi demand freedom).

While the Occupy Wall Street protest worldwide has attracted tens of thousands of people, including celebrities, the Karachi rally could barely compete.

According to Ali Hasan, who runs a school in Landhi, “Based on our internal discussions, we knew that only a few people would show up. We have talked to other left-leaning parties and if more people from the Left would join us, this could turn into something bigger.”

Hasan was realistic about the magnitude of support leftist parties have in Pakistan. “Perhaps people are still hoping that the political parties will deliver on their promises,” he remarked.

On the other hand, organiser Naghma Shaikh was optimistic. “We are going to continue these protests throughout the country and we do expect more people will join us. Money is only concentrated in the hands of 2% of people… we are the 99%!”

The protesters then made their way to Regal Chowk, where they were joined by members of the International Socialists group.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • wahaj
    Oct 23, 2011 - 3:35AM

    Funny how they have the slogan “we are the 99%”, but can’t even gather more than 40 people!

    Recommend

  • Mj
    Oct 23, 2011 - 3:38AM

    Financial institutions in Pakistan hardly have any power, size, and scope compared to those in in the US and Europe. Lending is quite restrained, and complex financial instruments such as CDS and MBS non-existent. A better target of protest would be the corrupt ruling families we are burdened with, and not to forget the armed forces.Recommend

  • Jameel
    Oct 23, 2011 - 3:57AM

    ha ha…we love capitalism….it seems.

    Recommend

  • deedede
    Oct 23, 2011 - 4:46AM

    the common man wont probably understand the anti-capitalist movement..maybe coz they have so many problems of their own!

    Recommend

  • Oct 23, 2011 - 5:31AM

    Occupy Finance Ministry, the real friends of banksters and their employees work in ministry not in II Chundrigarh Road.Recommend

  • Sajid
    Oct 23, 2011 - 5:43AM

    A burqa lady holding a sign “we are the 99%”, hope for the best now

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  • Ali Hasan
    Oct 23, 2011 - 9:16AM

    “Money is only concentrated in the hands of 2% of people… we are the 99%!”

    With math like that, one can see why.

    Recommend

  • destro
    Oct 23, 2011 - 9:33AM

    Business students protesting against capitalism!!! Seems like Pakistanis are a big fan of irony.. Recommend

  • Shayan
    Oct 23, 2011 - 10:50AM

    “Money is only concentrated in the hands of 2% of people… we are the 99%!”

    How about Occupy a maths class!

    Recommend

  • amit
    Oct 23, 2011 - 11:02AM

    burqa girlRecommend

  • faraz
    Oct 23, 2011 - 12:07PM

    Women wearing burqa are part of leftist student movment. Thats amazing. We shouldnt stereoptype

    Recommend

  • Nadia Haider
    Oct 23, 2011 - 12:26PM

    When there are over 50% Pakistanis living below 2250 calories a day

    Over 16% without jobs.

    Inequality and the corrupt political economic system.

    Government-Military policies with a total disconnect with people.

    This is why we need to support OWS.

    Recommend

  • Oct 23, 2011 - 2:13PM

    It’s quite comprehensible why people in a greater number would not show up. We need to penetrate into the masses to aware them, to let them know how severely they have been enlsaved. This protest in karachi was not one-off. The people, the oppressed will not let the system of feudalism and capitalism prosper in their country anymore. Moreover, in times of religious-extremism, immense ethinicity, in-tolerance, this protest was a breakthrough. Legion will join in as soon as this turns into a mass-movement.

    Recommend

  • waleej
    Oct 29, 2011 - 1:52AM

    @wahaj: tanqeed karo khud karnay k qabil nahi aor batain suno…. why you were not among them?

    Recommend

  • waleej
    Oct 29, 2011 - 1:55AM

    we all have to join these 4o students. we are doing nothing in our houses

    Recommend

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