The 16th convention of the Jammu-Kashmir National Students' Federation (JKNSF) was held in Rawalakot in Pakistani-held Kashmir on September 20-21, 2006. It just under a year ago that this region was hit by a devastating earthquake in which thousands died. The JKNSF made a huge contribution towards the relief work with the support of their comrades in Pakistan and abroad. After this huge loss of life and property, it was not easy to continue political work among the distressed homeless people. Furthermore, the JKNSF was made up of various elements and factions representing different nationalist groups. Our young Marxist cadres did a lot of work and convinced many people of our point of view, winning many over to the ideas of international socialism. We convinced them that the only way for Kashmir to achieve genuine liberation is through a socialist revolution.
Students from all over the country participated in this convention. A delegation of sixty students represented Gomal University. There were also students representing the following universities: UET Lahore, Punjab University, Karachi University, Peshawar University and Balochistan University Quetta. Young men from various colleges across the whole of Pakistan also attended the convention in huge numbers.
Nearly all the delegates arrived at Rawalakot at 8 pm. On our way into the city we could see that revolutionary slogans had been written in big letters in prominent places. Some of the slogans were as follows: "No to Nationalist War, No to Religious War, Only Class War!", "The Only Way to Liberation is Class War!"
The local comrades received their guests and visitors with a huge reception. In the meantime, a procession was formed which moved towards the city on buses, cars and other vehicles. The city echoed with the slogan of "Long Live Socialism". The inhabitants of the city thronged the streets and women and children gathered on the rooftops to greet the procession. Many of them waved to the participants of the procession and some even answered the slogans.
The procession reached the Rawalakot Degree College where another procession was being prepared where all the participants carried torches. The procession moved around the city with torches in their hands and shouting socialist slogans of which created a very emotional atmosphere.
The rally ended at Sabir Shaheed Stadium where the educational session of the convention was to be held. The temperature was very low at night but about 3000 people attended the session. Adil Khan welcomed the participants and invited the honourable guests to take their seats at the stage. These included, among others, Comrade Lal Khan, author of Kashmir's Ordeal: A Revolutionary Way Out, Jam Saqi, the former president of the Communist Party of Pakistan and Hameeda Ghanghro from Pakistan Steel Mill (widow of Shaheed Nazir Abbasi). Other prominent guests were: Muhammad Sabir, an advocate who is the former leader of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Zulfiqar Malik (UNPNC) and the former president of the JKNSF, Comrade Shujaat Kazami.
Representatives from other parts of the country were also invited including Ali Wazir, from Gomal University, Zahaib Butt from Lahore, Comrade Imran from Karachi University and Nadir Afaq from Balochistan University Quetta.
In his speech Lal Khan reviewed the current struggle of students taking place throughout the whole world. He gave a description of the revolution currently in the making in Mexico and how the students and workers there are fighting for their rights and against the fraud in the recent elections. He also explained the current situation in the Middle East and how Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez are now the most popular figures there. He also exposed the brutalities of the Indian and Pakistani regimes, detailing the crimes they have committed against their own people. He expressed his hope that the revolutionary activities of the youth will bring an end to such oppressive regimes and usher in a new era of happiness and prosperity for the people. He explained to the students gathered at the convention that the capitalist system is dying and that the only way forward is socialism.
After his speech the convention elected a new cabinet. For the first time in the history of the JKNSF the working body was elected unanimously.
The members of the new Cabinet are as follows:
President - Adil Khan
Senior Vice President - Intikhab Alam
Vice President - Haider Kazmi
Secretary General - Abid Hussain
Deputy Secretary General - Qamar Bashir
Chief Organiser - Wasim Abbasi
Deputy Chief Organiser - Anis Fayyaz
Editor of Monthly Azam - Shoaib Sham
Deputy Editor - Zubair Latif
Chairman of Study Circles - Sajid Kashir
Chairman of the Culture Board - Ghafar Latif
Chairman of Publicity - Shahid Akbar
The last item of the day was a musical programme which was enjoyed and appreciated by all.
The next day the city witnessed another rally. All the placards and banners displayed quotations from the founders of socialism, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. The rally gathered in the stadium for a mass meeting. About 4 thousand people attended this meeting. Manzoor Ahmed, Member of the National Assembly and president of the PTUDC, Rauf Mengal, Jam Saqi, Shoaib Sham, Kaleem Shaukat (Chairman of the Karachi branch of the JKNSF), Wasim Abbasi, Ishtiaq Ahmed from UKPNP and Adil Khan delivered the speeches at the rally.
The newly elected president of the JKNSF, Adil Khan, said that the JKNSF would continue the struggle for the rights of youth and would fight for the socialist revolution. He explained that a socialist Kashmir would not be possible without a socialist subcontinent, and in the long run without a socialist world. He therefore announced that from today the JKNSF would be a part of the International Marxist Tendency.
Rauf Mengal, who recently resigned from the National Assembly in protest against the government's repressive measures against the people and against the unjust killing of Akbar Bugti, explained that the army was building new cantonments to harass the people in Balouchistan. He condemned the policies of the government and encouraged the youth to continue to fight for the revolution.
Ali Wazir, who led the delegation from Gomal University, explained the social and political conditions in his area. He explained that dogs in the area habitually attack human beings because there is so much killing there that dogs have now formed the habit of eating human flesh, which is in abundant supply as hundreds are killed by the army every day. He congratulated the newly elected cabinet and urged the youth of Kashmir to join them in the struggle for socialism.
Jam Saqi spoke next and explained that he was the first president of Sindh National Students' Federation in 1968. He told the audience of his excitement that the students were carrying that struggle forward towards the goal of socialism.
Comrade Manzoor Ahmed attacked the rulers of India and Pakistan for failing to provide the basic necessities of life to the people. He said that the so-called peace process carried on by the two countries is a farce; the rulers are in no way sincere to the people. Their chief aim is to safeguard the interests of the imperialist powers. He also said that the privatization process was the murder of the economic interests of the common people. He spoke of the misery of life for the people of Kashmir. Those who are working in foreign countries live in horrible conditions. The life of local people has become more miserable after the earthquake. He explained that the "end of history" proclaimed by the bourgeois after the collapse of Soviet Union has only brought misery and suffering to the common people. This truth is amply revealed in the streets of Rawalakot.
Manzoor finished by saying that anybody here today can see that Marxism is a living reality and socialism is a practical truth. The youth of Kashmir have written a new chapter not only in the history of Kashmir, but in the history of the whole subcontinent. He urged the people to move forward in the fight for socialism.
More photos will be published later in the week.