Pakistan

The notion that Islamic fundamentalism, religious terror and neofascist black reaction can be crushed or eliminated without challenging the status quo is not only false, but also deceptive. It actually amounts in practice to supporting the rotten bourgeoisie in the name of “democracy”, “secularism”, “human rights”, “women’s emancipation” and “freedom”.

On Friday 17 October a condolence meeting was held for 23 year old Comrade Sajid Alam, area secretary of The Struggle for Malakand, who was killed in a tragic road accident. Killed by the intensely barbarous conditions found in Pakistan generally, and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular. As if this were not heartbreaking enough, the local Taliban tried to disrupt his funeral, calling him an infidel, making his grieving family's life an even worse hell on earth.

In an astonishing move, a Christian member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Asiya Nasir, supported by more than a dozen lawmakers including Islamicist mullahs, moved a new amendment to the 1973 Constitution seeking a ban on non-Muslims drinking alcohol, but the bill didn’t get very far.

The Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation is holding its 19th central convention on 24 and 25 September in Muzaffarabad. The convention will coincide with the anniversary of the killing of former General Secretary of JKNSF Fahim Akram who was martyred by the reactionary forces.

This article looks at the situation in Pakistan, and describes on the one hand the effects of decades of rule by an inept and corrupt ruling class that has proven incapable of developing the country and on the other, highlights the immense work done by the comrades of The Struggle in building a Marxist Tendency in these every difficult conditions. [The text is a transcript of several talks given in the USA on Pakistan].

Comrades, I have just spoken on the phone to comrade Lal Khan who has visited Riaz in hospital in Karachi. The good news is that he miraculously survived the shooting and major surgery and is now out of danger and in a stable condition. Although he is said to be out of danger, he is still in a bad state, as one can see from the photo we have just received. He is slipping in and out of consciousness and has not yet spoken.

Comrade Riaz Lund, a leading member of the Pakistan section of the IMT and well-known class fighter in Karachi, has been shot in cold blood by assassins. In a cowardly and brutal assault, he was hit three times, twice in the stomach and once in the chest.

In the nauseating, disingenuous confrontation going on between the elites, the real issues are brushed to one side. Baluchistan appears in the corporate media in accordance with the whims and needs of the bourgeois state and the ruling classes. Ever since the creation of Pakistan, Baluchistan has been in a state of turmoil, revolts and insurgencies. The militant struggles and the military operations are raging on. In reality, Baluchistan has become a festering wound on the body politic of the whole region, including Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

In all the excruciating din about “changing the system”, none of the politicos of the present political setup – each representing different sections of finance capital – even mentions the name of the socioeconomic system that dominates and is ravaging this tragic land – capitalism!

The National Marxist Summer School was held in Malakand in Northern Pushtoonkhwa from 8-10 August. It is near the Swat valley which was controlled by the Taliban until a few years back. Despite the long distances, high costs of transport, difficult journeys and the dangerous security situation in the area, 225 young comrades participated from all over the country, including 26 women. The venue of the School was on the banks of the Swat River flowing through the green mountains of the valley.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the capitalist counter-revolution in China, an immense political vacuum opened up in ideology and politics on a world scale. In these conditions there was the resurgence of political Islam and religious fundamentalism.

We are publishing here a comment by Lal Khan – that first appeared in the Pakistan Daily Times – on the recent events taking place in Islamabad, where Imran Khan’s PTI in collaboration with Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, an Islamic scholar turned politician, have attempted to portray themselves as leaders of a mass anti-government protest. In reality they are nothing of the kind and have very little to say to the toiling masses of Pakistan.

As thousands reach Islamabad with high expectations of change, the masses at large are bewildered, indifferent and sceptical about all the streaks of the political elite. Speculations of deals brokered by the military chief, General Raheel Sharif, are rife. Pakistan is once again immersed in instability and turbulence.

Protests called by the Movement for Justice, led by Imran Khan and the Sufi cleric Tahirul Qadri under the banner of anti-corruption, demanding the resignation of the Sharif government, are storming Pakistan and are scheduled to hit Islamabad on August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day. Rumours of a possible intervention by the Pakistani army, intrigues and conspiracies are poisoning the atmosphere of a country gripped by a permanent crisis and a constant in fight among different sections of the ruling class. Here we provide an analysis by Lal Khan.

If it were only a matter of praying to Allah for the masses to end their woes and achieve their emancipation, how easy it would be!

At dawn on Sunday, June 15 the Pakistan government gave the green signal to over 30,000 ground troops, backed by air force jets, to move into action in North Waziristan. This is the beginning of a long talked about and expected military operation against the many and numerous Islamic terrorist outfits that have been wreaking havoc throughout the country for almost two decades. The terrorist attack at the Karachi Airport in the preceding week seems to have been the final straw.

As we reported last week, John McDonnell MP was planning to issue an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons regarding the campaign against privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd. We are pleased to produce the text for our readers. The aim of the Early Day Motion is to highlight the issue and to gather support from other Members of Parliament as a means of putting pressure on the British and Pakistani governments. (June 22, 2005)

Gone are the days when on Budget Day almost everything came to a halt on the streets, with people glued to the TV screens or radio sets in anticipation of some major concession for the working masses. After all in those days the budgets did matter. Now that is a bygone era and the masses having little interest in what is being said or are in no mood to be continuously duped by the sermons of these false prophets. Ironically what interest them more than the monotonous theatrics of a budget speech are ‘fixed’ cricket matches. Despite the working masses being written off by the ruling elite, analysts and the intelligentsia, do their instincts not hit upon the brutal reality behind these

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On 27th April a mass meeting was organized in Malakand, Pashtoonkhwa to commemorate the 36th anniversary of Afghan Saur Revolution of 1978. More than 500 workers, students, youth and political activists participated in the meeting. The participants travelled long distances on rough roads through the mountains of Pashtoonkhwa to get there. Comrades and activists from Malakand, Shangla, Swat, Dir, Buner, Kohat, Peshawar and Islamabad were in attendance. A group of students from Afghanistan also participated.