Pakistan

A powerful movement of health workers is going on against privatisation in Pakistan. The government is snatching the basic right of healthcare from the working class in a country where already more than 80 percent of the population has no access to basic health provision. Rather than building new public hospitals and spending more on health services, the government has planned to close the health department altogether and hand it over to the private sector.

We publish here a second round of May Day reports, from Pakistan, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nigeria. In all these countries, the on-going capitalist crisis has led to great exploitation and injustice, and workers are engaged in struggles on several fronts for decent wages and living conditions. Many are drawing radical conclusions, and responded very well to our comrades’ message of revolutionary class struggle!

The Pakistan Congress of the IMT opened, as per tradition, with revolutionary poems. The Congress assembled in the main hall of the electrical and hydro workers' union in the centre of Lahore. The mood was (appropriately) electric, but it was also tempered by the tragic death of a young comrade from Dadu in Sindh, who was involved in a train accident on the way to the Congress.

Today (6 March), the judge of the Multan High Court granted bail to Rawal Asad after hearing his case. This has proved once again that the decisions of the lower courts were illegal and biased. It also clearly reveals that they were subject to external influence.

The solidarity campaign for Rawal Asad (who has been held in custody since February on the scandalous charge of sedition after attending a peaceful protest in Multan, Pakistan) shows no sign of slowing down. On 4 March, comrades and supporters of the International Marxist Tendency coordinated a day of pressure against the Pakistani state by picketing, protesting and telephoning Pakistan's embassies all over the world, so the regime knows the world is watching, and we will not stop until our comrade is released. 

Comrades and supporters from around the world are continuing to put pressure on the Pakistani state to release the Marxist student activist, Rawal Asad, who is still being held on the scandalous charge of sedition and has been denied bail. Meanwhile, protests are ongoing in Pakistan, where comrades, students and workers are demanding that Rawal be immediately released.

A Marxist student comrade of the Progressive Youth Alliance, Rawal Asad, remains in jail on the charge of sedition, having had his bail hearing rejected. In addition to continued protest in Pakistan against this injustice, messages and photographs have been pouring in all week from all over the world demanding our comrade's release.

The worldwide solidarity campaign for the release of Rawal Asad, a comrade from the Progressive Youth Alliance who was arrested in Multan and scandalously charged with sedition by the Pakistani state, has forged on apace. Photographs, videos and messages of solidarity have been flooding in from all around the globe.

An international solidarity campaign has been launched to demand the release of comrade Rawal Asad, who was arrested in Multan for the 'crime' of attending a protest. He faces a scandalous charge of sedition, which carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, and a judge has now officially denied his application for bail. In addition to demonstrations in Pakistan, comrades from all over the world have been protesting outside of Pakistani embassies, and sending pictures and messages of support calling

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Today, the Additional Session judge in Multan rejected the bail application of Rawal Asad, though the written order will be given tomorrow. Rawal’s lawyer, Azhar Bukhari, presented a strong defence in front of the judge and argued that the case is fabricated from start to finish. He also cited precedent in many rulings of various courts in Pakistan over the past several decades, and pointed out that joining a protest is a basic democratic right of every citizen, as guaranteed by the constitution (for now).

The ordeal of a Marxist student leader from Multan, Rawal Asad, seems to be unending. He is clearly being victimised through unlawful acts and a delaying of the court procedures. Today, once again it was made clear that no law exists in Pakistan, and the courts and lawyers are all part of a farcical façade, while the real power brokers rule unchallenged. The bail application for the fabricated case of sedition was due to be heard in a court in Multan today. But the judge delayed the hearing until the closing hours of the court. In the end, he said that he couldn't hear this case and that it should be referred to some other judge.

Rawal Asad, a Marxist student from Multan, was presented in court today after two days in police custody. The police reported to the court that they had completed their investigation and that they no longer required his physical custody. The lawyers of Rawal Asad moved a bail application, which will be heard tomorrow in the same court. Until then, he is being kept in jail.

Rawal Asad is an undergraduate student and political activist of Government Emerson College in Multan. On 5 February, he joined a protest called by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) in Multan. They were protesting the killing of their leader, Arman Luni, who was a college professor and was killed in Balochistan a few days previously by a senior police officer, personally, by torture. The case of this murder has still not been registered. But the Multan Police registered a case against all the protestors, including Rawal Asad, charging them with sedition, among other things.

The marvellous national convention of the Progressive Youth Alliance was held in Lahore on 15 December, with the main demands of free education for all and restoration of student unions. Revolutionary students and unemployed youth from across the country gathered to discuss problems faced by the youth and how to organise to overcome them.

Kashmir Marxist School

A two-day Marxist School was held in Rawalakot, Kashmir in which over one-hundred comrades participated from across Pakistan and Kashmir. Despite difficult economic conditions, long distances and sweltering heat, comrades arrived with great enthusiasm to take part in these discussions demonstrating their commitment to the ideas of Marxism. Preparatory schools were also held in various cities in which all the suggested topics were discussed in detail.

On Monday 13 August, just as Pakistan’s new parliament were taking oath after the recent elections, fourteen workers died in a coal mine near Quetta. The miners were trapped by a gas explosion inside the mine on Sunday.

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