On October 16 a delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians returned from India after completing a visit of one week. This delegation was comprised of six parliamentarians, mainly from the Pakistan People’s Party. The head of the delegation was the Marxist Member of Parliament, Manzoor Ahmed, who is also the president of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign and editor of the fortnightly “The Struggle”.
After the failure of the previous attempt (see Musharraf attempts to block Pakistani MPs delegation to India!) on October 16 a delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians returned from India after completing a visit of one week. This delegation was comprised of six parliamentarians, mainly from the Pakistan People’s Party. The head of the delegation was the Marxist Member of Parliament, who is also the president of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign and editor of the fortnightly “The Struggle”. On their return the delegation met the press at the Lahore press club. On that occasion the members of the delegation told the media about the details of their visit to India.
The head of the delegation, Comrade Manzoor Ahmad, while addressing both the print and electronic media said that this delegation was aimed at starting a “People To People Contact” in the real sense. He explained that the Ex-Senator of India, Nurmila Desh Panday, had made the arrangements for the delegation and organised the meetings for them. He had also provided the invitation which allowed the visit to go ahead, for which the Comrade was quite grateful.
On the value of this visit he said that at a time when the people of India and Pakistan are really sick of the drama of war and peace which is being played out by the ruling class of both the countries, this visit was quite valuable and important. More than 85% of the Pakistani population is living below the poverty line, while the figure for India is 86%. Poverty and joblessness are at an all-time high. A large part of the population is illiterate. Their children can’t afford to go to school. The health facilities are highly insufficient. The youth of both the countries are committing suicide everyday due to joblessness and economic crisis. But, we see on the other hand that both countries are spending a large amount of their GDP on their defence expenditure. Both the countries are nuclear powers, and they are maintaining very large armies. The exploitation of the poor masses has drowned a large part of the population in extreme poverty.
The ruling class of both countries are slaves of imperialism. The IMF and World Bank carry out unbelievable interference in the internal matters of both the states. The ruling classes cannot afford to go to war, because already both the counties have fought three battles and got nothing out of it. But at the same time they cannot maintain, or rather politically “afford”, peace in the region. So in this situation they can prolong the exploitation of the poor masses by maintaining constant war hysteria.
The ruling class of both countries blame each other for failure in the “peace process”. And they are both right! The ruling class can never ever complete the peace process, because they can only rule and exploit the poor masses by dividing and keeping them apart on the basis of nationalism, religious extremism and thing like that.
Answering a question, he said that they met people in India from all walks of life and discussed the peace process with reference to the poor masses and working class. Because the working class suffers more in the period of war hysteria, the whole life of the workers and peasants is upset and turns into agony.
This delegation met with trade union leaders, politicians, peace activists, women’s organizations and student unions. They also had a few opportunities in Faridabad, Agra, and Mithra to speak with the general public on these issues. The delegation while addressing the people of India in the general meetings conveyed the affectionate feelings of the ordinary working people of Pakistan for the working class of India.
Meetings had been organized for the delegation with several prominent Indian political figures including the leader of the opposition Sonia Gandhi, as well as Yusaf Taray Gamey (state secretary of the Communist Party of India, Kashmir), Harkishan Singh Surgeet (General Secretary of the Communist Party of India Marxist) and many others.
Manzoor Ahmed also raised the issue of facilitating travel between the two countries. He raised this with Mr. Burgesh Mushra (National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India). He called for the expansion and development of travelling facilities between the two countries, the start of flights between India and Pakistan, the relaxation of the Visa policy, and also to exempt senior citizens from VISA restrictions and to allow them to travel across freely. (This is important, especially for those families that were divided after the partition of the country in 1947). He also put pressure on to allow “people to people contact” between the two countries.
The visit of this delegation, which was headed by a Marxist MP, is of unique significance. It is the first delegation, which has declared that its aim is “People to People Contact”. And it is also the first delegation to have gone onto streets to speak to the working class and make them realize that only the working class and the people of both countries can bring permanent peace to the region. This will also help the working class of both countries to understand what is the main reason for the failure of the peace process. They will also learn from this that the solution to their agonies is a united socialist federation of the subcontinent which is only possible through a Socialist revolution.