Pakistan

The PTUDC in Britain organised a speaking tour throughout January. The tour was designed to build the profile of the campaign in this country, to establish points of support in the labour movement, and to collect financial donations for the campaign. The tour involved meetings and discussions with leading figures and bodies of the labour movement, meetings with individual trade union branches, and regional public meetings to attract broader layers of workers and establish support in Britain's Asian communities. Lal Khan, PTUDC International Secretary, and Manzoor Ahmed, the recently elected Marxist PPP MP, spoke at many trade union meetings around the country.

The PTUDC in Britain has organised a speaking tour, which has been ongoing throughout January. This is a report of the first stage of the tour and details of forthcoming public meetings with the Pakistani Marxist MP Manzoor Ahmed.

Finally the Musharraf dictatorship was forced to call the session of the parliament in the wake of an irresistible pressure from all sides. The only member out of the 324 taking oath with a red jumper was comrade Manzoor [editor of the fortnightly Marxist paper Class Struggle]. On his chest he was wearing a very prominent badge of Karl Marx. When he was called to the podium to sign his name the television cameras had to film him and the Marx insignia was shown on the television screens beaming to millions of the Pakistani workers and youth wanting to have a glimpse of their only representative in the parliament.

YFIS National convention was held on Sunday November 10, 2002 at Lahore. Fifty seven delegates from Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Sadiqabad, Quetta, Jand, Taxila, Wah, Rawapindi, Kashmir, Bahawalpur, Qasur and many other parts of the country had come to attend this convention. The morale was high. The mood of the comrades was enthusiastic. This convention will definitely help in melting the ice and will prove a turning point in building the mass forces of YFIS in Pakistan and henceforth, in the Indian Sub-continent.

The first general elections in Pakistan since General Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup in 1998 will solve nothing for Pakistan’s workers and peasants. As could be expected, the party created by the outgoing military dictator “won” the elections. In spite of the rigging however the result is still a hung Parliament, with no party gaining an outright majority. Instability therefore reigns in Pakistan. The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is there, with the election of a Marxist MP, as reported in our previous report.

Even before all the votes had been counted the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Benazir Bhutto accused the Pakistani regime of vote-rigging. However, this is not just a ritual claim of a bitter leader forced into exile by accusations of corruption. Even the EU observers have had to admit that, "Regrettably... the Pakistan authorities engaged in a course of action which resulted in serious flaws in the electoral process." This was particularly blatant in the case of Sialkot-5, one hundred kilometres north of Lahore. Here Ghulam Abbas was denied victory because of his role on the left of the PPP.

The ideas of genuine Marxism have been vindicated with the election of Manzoor Ahmed to the Pakistani Parliament in yesterday's elections. During this election campaign many thousands of workers came into contact with the ideas of Marxism for the first time. On one of Manzoor's election posters the main slogan was "Irreconcilable Struggle Until Socialist Revolution". So no one can have any doubt what the people of Kasur were voting for! When the result was announced in the early hours of the morning huge numbers of Manzoor's supporters came out spontaneously to celebrate his victory.

The masses of Pakistan are bracing themselves for yet another election under another military dictatorship. They do so amid fears of vote rigging, manipulation and fabrication of the results on the part of the regime which is attempting to get its civilian toadies into positions of power within the so-called new democratic set-up. Lal Khan, editor of the Asian Marxist Review looks at the perspectives for the coming period.

Sadaf Zahra looks at the terrible situation in Pakistan where rapes and killings are done in the name of family honour, and are rarely investigated by the police. In areas where tribal customs still prevail, it is not uncommon for public punishment to be inflicted on women as a form of retaliation against their families. Such a case occurred recently in the village of Meerwala where a woman was subjected to gang-rape under the decision of a tribal council.

On Sunday, June 30, the PTUDC Karachi arranged a public meeting at the PMA house in the centre of Karachi, the industrial hub of Pakistan. More than 70 trade unionists from all the major industries attended the meeting, to celebrate the release of the striking civil secretariat workers in Quetta. Strike leader Hameed Khan who had travelled from Quetta to Karachi for the meeting received a standing ovation and thanked everyone who supported the PTUDC campaign, in Pakistan and internationally.

On Sunday, June 30, the PTUDC Karachi arranged a public meeting at the PMA house in the centre of Karachi, the industrial hub of Pakistan. More than 70 trade unionists from all the major industries attended the meeting, to celebrate the release of the striking civil secretariat workers in Quetta. Strike leader Hameed Khan who had travelled from Quetta to Karachi for the meeting received a standing ovation and thanked everyone who supported the PTUDC campaign, in Pakistan and internationally.

They were released in the late hours of Friday, June 21 after two months of imprisonment in Quetta's central jail. All the workers have been released unconditionally and the cases against them have been withdrawn. This shows that even in most difficult of objective conditions battles of the class struggle can be fought and won.

They were released in the late hours of Friday, June 21 after two months of imprisonment in Quetta's central jail. All the workers have been released unconditionally and the cases against them have been withdrawn. This shows that even in most difficult of objective conditions battles of the class struggle can be fought and won.