The strike movement in Quetta has taken a dramatic new turn in the last couple of days. A general strike on Wednesday brought the whole city of Quetta to a standstill. This struggle has now entered a delicate and decisive phase.

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.

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.

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 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.

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