The Pakistani Elections: Marxist MP Manzoor Ahmed vs. Wealthy Industrialist

If they go forward as planned, the February 18 elections will mark a decisive turning point in the history of the class struggle in Pakistan. In the district of Kasur, the might of the Pakistani ruling class is being confronted by the ideas of revolutionary Marxism and the enthusiasm and aspirations of the masses. To combat the wealth and slanders of one of Pakistan's richest industrialists, Manzoor Ahmed has again vowed to wage irreconcilable struggle till socialist revolution.

In the Pakistani general election of 2002, Comrade Manzoor Ahmed, standing in constituency NA-139, won one of the National Assembly seats for the district of Kasur. He confounded the expectations of all the political analysts of Pakistan, defeating three of the wealthiest people of Pakistan, despite them having spent billions of rupees in their election campaigns. The basic reason for this victory was that Comrade Manzoor fought his campaign on a revolutionary class basis, vowing to wage an irreconcilable struggle till socialist revolution. Since his victory, Manzoor has worked tirelessly to use his parliamentary platform to fight for the interests of workers, peasants, and all other poor people. This has earned him a solid base for re-election in the upcoming election.

As a revolutionary socialist in a bourgeois parliament he came under enormous pressure from all sides. First the rulers tried to buy Comrade Manzoor by offering him a position as a minister. Then they offered him a huge sum of cash. But Manzoor stood firm. He continued to struggle inside and outside parliament for the rights of the working masses - against poverty, unemployment, price hikes, privatization and the exploitative capitalist system. He fought every battle with revolutionary honesty and courage.

Manzoor Ahmed
Election poster of Comrade Manzoor Ahmed

Workers and trade unionists in Pakistan and around the world know him as president of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign and due to his tireless participation in workers' strikes and his role in organizing labour conferences in order to pull together and unite the fragmented trade union movement. He is also known because Hugo Chavez invited him to Venezuela and because of his efforts to bring the working people of India and Pakistan together.

After the dreadful 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, Manzoor Ahmed was the main organiser of five revolutionary caravans to set up relief camps with medical assistance where everything was destroyed and to encourage the Kashmiri people to take their lives into their hands. The revolutionary caravans were able to reach every corner of the destroyed areas of Pakistani Kashmir, exposing the rottenness of the military regime.

Every year his budget speech in Parliament has sent shock waves through the echelons of power. No MP in the history of the Pakistani parliament has presented so many motions and bills on working class issues.

This time he is again contesting the election against a woman who is one of the biggest industrialists of Pakistan. Her family is renowned for exploiting workers in their industries and sponsoring anti-labor laws and reactionary movements in the country.

Once again Manzoor's constituency has become the battlefield of pro-worker and anti- worker candidates. The workers and impoverished masses of the area are strongly supporting Comrade Manzoor. His opponents are using every means available against him. However, every act of these reactionary elements gets a thumping response from the masses led by the Marxists in Kasur.

After the elections on the 18th of February the struggle is going to enter a new decisive phase. When it becomes clear that workers' problems cannot be solved by elections alone, they will search for new paths to express their revolutionary aspirations. This new phase of the class struggle will highlight the role of Comrade Manzoor in new circumstances.

Bills presented by Comrade Manzoor in the National Assembly:

  1. Industrial Relations (Amendment Bill) 2004
  2. Amendment Bill in Banking Companies Ordinance 1962
  3. Amendment Bill in Services Tribunal Act 1973
  4. Industrial Relations Ordinance IRO-2002 Amendment Bill
  5. Bill for cancellation of Expulsion from Employment Ordinance 2000 (Special Powers)
  6. Employment Bill 2007 for providing Employment or giving unemployment allowance to all the youth country.

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