Arrests and release of activists in Pakistan has big impact

The arrest, and subsequent release, of comrade Manzoor, the Marxist MP in Pakistan, together with other MPs and thousands of PPP workers and activists was covered by the main TV channels and newspapers in the country. The masses will not forget who the real opponents of the regime are.

As we have already reported, at 2am in the night between 16 and 17 April, comrade Manzoor Ahmed was released thanks to the intense pressure from below and also the internal weakness of the regime itself. These mass arrests were in fact an expression of the extreme weakness of the regime, not its strength.

As we explained, thousands of workers were detained in different cities all over Pakistan simply because they wanted to come to Lahore for the planned rally. The arrests were widely covered in the Pakistani media. On Saturday, April 16, the main television channel of Pakistan, GEO television, showed live footage of comrade Manzoor confronting the police who were trying to arrest him on the road to Lahore airport. This footage was shown repeatedly several times during the course of the day.

The next day, Sunday 17, in the main newspaper, there was a central news item giving details about how comrade Manzoor and some other MPs, Ch.Itezaz Ehsan, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Qamer-uz-Zaman Kaira, Zulfiqar Ali Gondal, Zumurrad Khan and Nayyer Bukhari had refused to be released at 7pm. They stated that would refuse release so long as even one party activist or worker remained in detention.

Through this they were able to build up so much pressure that the regime had to release each and every worker arrested in connection with the planned rally. Hence comrade Manzoor was the last person to come out of the prison.

This time the regime managed to stop the rally that was planned at Lahore airport to welcome Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of the PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto. As the regime becomes weaker, it is clear that the PPP is becoming once more a point of reference for the masses in Pakistan. In spite of his past record, even a figure like Asif Ali Zardari, can become a focal point for the downtrodden masses of Pakistan. The military dictator, Musharraf, was worried that a mass rally gathering at Lahore airport could have sparked off a much wider movement.

These methods, however, can delay the moment of reckoning for the regime, but they cannot save it from its inevitable doom. The masses will move against the regime, and the Marxists, with leading figures such as comrade Manzoor, will play a key role in the process.