Pakistan

With general elections planned on 8 February, the crisis and splits of Pakistan’s ruling class and state are intensifying, while attacks on workers, under the dictates of the IMF, are continuing and unemployment and inflation are rising at an unprecedented level. No political party participating in the coming general elections has solutions to any of the problems in this country, and all of the political parties represent merely different factions of the ruling class. 

On 2-3 December 2023, a nationwide Workers’ Socialist School was organised by the Red Workers’ Front (RWF) in Landhi Industrial Area, Karachi. A large number of workers from both the public and private sector industries, in Karachi and across the country, took part in this historic occasion. 

Countrywide protests against extremely costly electricity have erupted in Pakistan during the past few weeks. The protest wave started in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where students, workers, small traders, intellectuals, political activists and others organised large-scale public protests in various cities. This wave has now swept a nation that was already on the brink of an explosion.

From 21-23 July, the Progressive Youth Alliance (youth and student wing of the Pakistan section of the International Marxist Tendency) held a three-day Marxist school at beautiful Banjusa Lake near Rawalakot in Kashmir. The event attracted students, youth, and workers from across the country and provided a valuable opportunity for young revolutionaries to discuss Marxist theory, amid Pakistan's worst economic crisis, and utter political bankruptcy. The school gathered 220 participants in all, who engaged in important discussions on topics such as Pakistan and world politics, philosophy, economic theory and revolutionary strategy.

On 11 and 12 March, the Pakistani section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), Lal Salaam, held its 6th Congress at the Aiwan-E-Iqbal Center in Lahore. Despite the multitude of logistical issues that arose from organising a national meeting amidst crumbling infrastructure and rampant, arbitrary corruption, this landmark Congress was a resounding success.

Progressive Youth Alliance, a countrywide organisation of revolutionary students and youth, held its third central youth convention on 8 December 2022 in Multan. More than 700 students, youth, workers and progressive political activists from across the country participated in the Central Youth Convention.

The crisis of the capitalist system in Pakistan is reaching unprecedented levels, reflecting the fact that it is one of the weakest links in the chain of world capitalism. Alongside the political and economic crises, the crisis of the state is unravelling to a degree never seen before, leading the whole society into an abyss of misery and wretchedness.

On 11 November 2022, the Halla Bol (“Raise Hell”) youth convention was organised by Progressive Youth Alliance Karachi at the Sindh Scouts Club. Hundreds of students, workers and political activists participated in the convention, which represented a declaration of war against unemployment, inflation, sexual harassment, expensive education, national oppression and capitalism. 

Pakistan has been ravaged by floods and torrential rains, while the ruling class continues to loot and plunder the impoverished masses at this time of distress and disaster. According to reports, around one third of the country has been devastated by the floods and rains of the last three months, while 33 million people have been affected. Around 1,400 have died, and around 4,000 injuries have been reported according to official figures. According to the recent reports 482,030 people have been displaced while 372,823 buildings have been destroyed.

A two-day Marxist School was held in Rawlakot, Kashmir on 6-7 August. It was the most successful Marxist School ever organised by the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), with more than 200 students, youth, workers and political activists participating from Karachi to Peshawar, and Baluchistan to Kashmir.

In Pakistan, the government has changed but the political crisis continues, reflecting a deep economic and social crisis. Imran Khan has been ousted. The cracks within the ruling class are widening and the fighting among various factions of the state has now reached levels never seen before, with each side attacking the other publicly and on social media.

A political and constitutional crisis has opened up in Pakistan, leading to a back and forth over a no-confidence vote in the Imran Khan government. In reality, these fissures at the top are merely symptoms of a deeper rot in Pakistani capitalism, which has been rocked by the global capitalist crisis, while the ruling class endures the consequences of attempting to play different imperialist blocs off of one another. Such pathetic charades will never end while the capitalist system stands!

On 4 December, hundreds of workers both from the public and private sector; as well as trade union representatives, students and peasant leaders, gathered in Lahore from all over Pakistan to attend the central workers’ convention hosted by the Red Workers’ Front. The convention was held in the Bakhtiar Labour Hall, which belongs to the Hydro Union for WAPDA (the state electricity department), the largest public sector union in Pakistan. This was the conclusion of a long series of conventions held in dozens of cities across the country in November.

Today marks the 114th anniversary of the birth of the great revolutionary, Bhagat Singh. Our comrades of the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) in Pakistan have released a special documentary on the political life of Bhagat Singh in Lahore to mark the occasion. In this documentary, presented by Adam Pal, the comrades visit all the places where Bhagat Singh himself used to live, or which were of historical significance to the revolutionary path that his life took.

On 28 August a huge protest rally of more than a thousand factory workers from Korangi and Landhi industrial areas of Karachi was held under the banner of the Workers' Solidarity Committee. The main demands of the rally were the implementation of a Rs. 25,000 per month minimum wage, as announced by the Sindh Government, the elimination of contractual labour, and the implementation of industrial safety laws. More than this, however, the rally of the Workers’ Solidarity Committee – formed by a liaison between the Red Workers Front (RWF) and various active trade unions in the industrial areas – has as its long-term goal the forging of class unity among workers to further the struggle

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A wave of student protests against on-campus exams has been sweeping across the country since last week. Social media for the last few weeks has been abuzz with the students’ demand “#StudentsRejectOnCampusExams”, which has also been a top trend on Twitter for the last two weeks.

We were delighted to report on Monday that our comrade in Pakistan, Amar Fayaz, was returned safely after spending almost two months in captivity following his forced disappearance by the state. In this report, we initially neglected to include the efforts of our comrades in Argentina and Chile, who gathered a huge amount of support from leading members of the labour movement in those countries. We have now updated the article to reflect this: click here to skip to the new section.