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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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