Lal Khan, editor of the Asian Marxist Review, and International Secretary of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign was recently interviewed on one of the most popular talk shows in Pakistan. The programme is watched by 60 million people every week
The editor of the Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign was interviewed on GEO TV’s most famous talk show “Capital talk” which is seen by 60 million people across the world every week. This interview was telecast on May 25 and then re-telecast on May 26 and 27.
Hamid Mir, a renowned journalist, was the interviewer, while the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the upper house of the parliament and former ex-Information Minister Mushahid Hussain Syed, along with the Bureau Chief of “The Hindu” (an Indian news paper with a big circulation) Murli Dhur Rady, and Mufti Jamil ud Deen ex-High Commissioner of Pakistan to India, were amongst the other guests in the program.
The questions asked by the interviewer and answers by Comrade Lal Khan are given in the following.
GEO: Mr. Lal Khan. You have been working in India as a research analyst for more then seven or eight years. Why Sonia Gandhi refused to become Prime Minster of India?
Lal Khan: As per my view congress did not won the elections. Rather it is the defeat of the BJP and it policies based on and imposed by multinationals, IMF and World Bank, which were based on the capitalistic system. And due to those depriviative policies the people of India suffered a lot. As far as the issue of Sonia Gandhi is concerned I would quote a statement of a leader of CPI who said, “we would abolish the ministry of Privatization”. So the pressure of the voters and other radical elements were a threat to the world imperialism and other capitalists who have their interests in India. They believe that Sonia Gandhi won’t be able to sustain the pressure of the masses. So they brought forward Manmohan Singh who is a technocrat and would help them out to carry through all the capitalistic policies.
GEO: You have a lot of research on India and you have also written many books on India as well. What is in your opinion the ultimate solution to Kashmir problem?
Lal Khan: If the Kashmir issue gets settled then the ruling class of both the countries won’t be having any reason to rule these people of the Indian subcontinent, beside all the misery, poverty and problems. On one hand the multinationals putting pressure on the ruling elite that the peace process should be initiated and on the other hand the internal conflicts again push back the rulers to go for war. Once a German general said that “War is just the continuation of the domestic problems by other violent means.
GEO: So are you saying that another war between India and Pakistan it possible?
Lal Khan: Of course! Another war cannot be ruled out. When crisis intensifies movements and revolutions can erupt. To divert and deviate these movements some times the ruling classes go for reforms and elections at others they blow the bugles of war. Under these conditions the Congress government will be under intense pressure, they could use the Kashmir issue again. If we look at the mandate it is anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. The rulers of India and Pakistan sit on societies that are riddled with poverty, unemployment disease and misery. How can there be any peace and tranquility in such conditions?
GEO: Can India and Pakistan reach to a consensus based solution in the near future?
Lal Khan: The rulers don’t have any real solution. There is no solution under capitalism. There is only formula. Until the rest of the subcontinent is free how can Kashmir get freedom on its own? Unless these struggles of national liberation in the subcontinent are linked to the class struggle genuine freedom cannot be achieved. With the victory of the class struggle these can be solved.
GEO: What would be the priorities of Manmohan Singh?
Lal Khan: If we look at the initial period we see the Nehruvian socialism that was in reality state capitalism and had nothing to do with socialism. They nationalized 74% of the economy and gave full support to Tata, Birla and other bourgeoisie. But this failed to develop India and deep economic crisis had set in. In Nursima Rao's (former Indian Prime Minister) government when Manmohan Singh was finance minister thus dismantled it and opened up the Indian market to imperialist monopolies. Both methods have failed and people have rejected these policies. By voting against it the masses have taken the first step not the last. If their mandate is not respected then there will be mass up surge revolutionary movements.
At the end of the interview Comrade Lal Khan spoke on the figures of poverty which the Bureau Chief of “The Hindu” was misrepresenting and using as an objection. Comrade Lal Khan said that 420 million people in India are living below the poverty line.
May 27, 2004