Pakistan

On March 24 the PTUDC (Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign) held a meeting in Lahore, which was attended by more than 300 PTUDC leaders and members who came from all over the country.

At ten o'clock this morning at the Kayani Hall, the High Court in Lahore, Alan Woods delivered a lecture on the war in Iraq and the role of imperialism to the Lahore High Court Bar Association, the most prestigious lawyers elected body of lawyers in Pakistan. It is without precedent that a foreign Marxist should be invited to address this body.

In Multan, the biggest city of the Southern Punjab, Youth for International Socialism and the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign recently organised an anti-war rally. It was the third rally they had organised in Multan in which hundreds of trade unionists, students’ unions, the Bar association, and PPP workers participated with banners and placards against the war.

The masses are on the streets


YFIS-Pakistan rally against imperialist aggression in Multan

As the imperialist barbarism has started its death game in Iraq it has shaken the whole world, especially the youth and working class and the general mood has been transformed.

The contradictions and interests of the almighty monopolies have been exposed with all their brutality. Resentment has developed on a global scale against this monstrous behaviour and the crushing role of capitalism. World opinion is being shaped and guided towards a unanimous and general conclusion, that the capitalist system no longer has a progressive and productive

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Yesterday in Islamabad, Alan Woods, editor of the Socialist Appeal and the marxist.com web site, addressed a meeting of 70 people on the question of the war against Iraq and the world situation. The majority of the audience were members of parliament - including 35 members of the National Assembly, two members of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, and one senator.

Alan Woods, editor of marxist.com, is on a speaking tour of Pakistan and the following article, written by the well-known columnist Munno Bai, appeared in today's (March 18) edition of the Jang. This is the biggest daily paper in Pakistan, published in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Quetta and Multan.

The United Nations have never been able to solve any serious conflict. The present crisis over Iraq has exposed it as an empty talking shop. But there is another conflict that has been festering for more than 50 years, that between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir. Lal Khan pints out the shortcomings of the UN on this issue and indicates the class struggle as the only way of finally solving the problem.

We have received this report from the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign (PTUDC) on the terrible conditions faced by one of the most downtrodden sectors, the agricultural labourers. The PTUDC is taking a courageous stand in their campaign to organise them into a union.

The demonstrations organized by YFIS in Lahore received full coverage from all the main Pakistani daily papers and TV, such as the Jang, the Nation, and the Dawn (the largest circulation English speaking daily). We will keep you informed as more reports come in.

As the shadow of war looms large over the horizon, the attacks on workers have further intensified in Pakistan. With the pretext of “war against terror” the Musharraf regime has been implementing the IMF and World Bank policies of privatisation, deregulation, liberalization and downsizing. These policies have had a devastating effect upon the already impoverished working people of Pakistan and here, as in so many other countries the “war against terror” has in reality been a “war against the people”.

Pakistan is in a critical condition at the current time, it is engulfed in a social, economic and international crisis. In an attempt to escape from this crisis, General Musharaff held elections for parliament at the end of last year. In spite of all the hopes of Musharaff the elections have not created any strong government. His “democracy” is a sham. Musharaff has reserved the right to amend any law passed by parliament. He even has the right to amend the constitution. One man can override the whole of the elected parliament. But behind the political crisis lies the social and economic crisis that the country faces.