People from all over the world should come forward to bring about a socialist revolution as the capitalist system has faced crushing decline because of its failure to solve the problems of the masses and provide them with any relief. These views were expressed by columnist Munnoo Bhai, former federal minister and founding member of the PPP Dr Mubashar Hassan, the singer Jawad Ahmed, social activist and actress Faryal Gohar, journalists Khawar Naeem Hashmi and Saeed Qazi, PPP MP Zulfiqar Gondal, PSF Punjab General Secretary Zohaib Butt and others at the launching ceremony of Lal Khan's book, "Pakistan's Other Story: 1968-69 Ka Revolution", held at the Lahore press club on January 3, 2009. The speakers said the revolution discussed in the book was an important milestone of Pakistan's history and the real ideal of the country's workers and peasants.
Saeed Qazi said the capitalist system had met a crushing decline all over the world and the forces of socialism and Marxism were gaining strength. He opined this book would step up the struggle for socialist revolution in Pakistan.
Khawar Hashmi a progressive journalist, who was sentenced to lashes by the Zia regime in the 1980's for raising the voice of socialism, said the circumstances of 1968-69 had utterly changed the values, ethics, politics and society of that time, adding that similar circumstances were emerging today. Faryal Gohar remarked that Dr Lal Khan had discharged a historic duty by writing this book.
Dr Mubashir Hassan urged the new generation to strive to bring about the socialist revolution in the country. The founding convention of the PPP in 1967 was held in his home after the Ayub Khan regime did not allow any place to hold that meeting. He said that we were given an opportunity but could not take advantage of it. He said that Lal Khan has made a scientific analysis of the 1968-69 revolution for the first time in history. He had resigned from Z. A. Bhutto's cabinet as finance minister after disagreement over his policies.
PPP MP Zulfiqar Gondal observed that socialist revolution was the only solution to all the problems and an answer to all the crises. Popular singer Jawad Ahmed called upon the youth to struggle for a socialist revolution, while Munnoo Bhai congratulated Dr Lal Khan for writing the book.
The author of the book, Dr Lal Khan, speaking on the occasion, discussed the contents of his book at length and said the reason for all the martyrdoms from Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to Benazir was that they while they had challenged the establishment they had failed to transform the country into a workers' state and complete the revolution. The State fearing their public support had them killed.
The launch ceremony of "1968-69 Revolution, Pakistan's other story" in Hyderabad on December 17, 2008 was held at the Press Club, with plenty of revolutionary enthusiasm.
People from almost every walk of life attended the ceremony in huge numbers. Approximately 900 people from trade unions leaders, factory workers, unemployed youth, women and intellectuals were moved by the programme. Speakers from different walks of life spoke on the book. Dr. Hameed Somro, member of the editorial board of Class Struggle (Sindhi), expressed his views on the book. He said that it is written with a clear perspective of revolution. He said that the 1968-69 revolution was the biggest event in the history of the subcontinent where the relations of property were challenged. He criticized the Communist Party for its insisting on the national democratic character of revolution while the people were challenging the very foundations of the system. He stated that this book is beautifully written with a revolutionary content. Dr. Dodo Mehri, a renowned leader from Sindh, also expressed his views. He said this book required study in depth because it contains not only an analysis of that revolution but also the future prospects, strategy and preparation. He said the conditions of the country are demanding a new subjective factor that can carry forward the revolution. This book will have a big impact in the preparation of the future leadership of the revolution. Comrade Aijaz Bughia, area secretary and a revolutionary poet, recited his recent revolutionary poetry and was hugely applauded by the audience.
Then spoke Professor Mushtaq Mirani, who is also a renowned scholar. He said that the book has a progressive content. He also raised certain queries regarding the national question. He said that Marxism must have a clear programme on national issues. He also said that the definition of imperialism must be clarified. He was followed by Miss Irfana Mallah who is a lecturer at the Sindh University in Hyderabad and also member of the Women's Action Forum. She said that the book contains revolutionary material and she has had the opportunity to read such a book with a clear perspective after such a long time and added that the writing style of book matches with the works of Marx and Engels. The book contains a lot of good quotations of revolutionaries, which she has encountered for the first time. She also added that we must build up the culture of addressing each other with "Surkh Salam" (Red Regards). She insisted that the Left must have its independent identity because people are tired of the other status quo parties and are searching for an alternative. She finished by saying that the book has brought a big change to her views and it will bring a big change in society as well.
Then came comrade Anwar Panhwar, who is a leading figure in The Class Struggle and also regional organizer of the PTUDC. He said that the character of the 1968-69 movement was socialist because the workers and peasants were demanding ownership of the resources. He said this book is a big addition in the ideas of Marxism. Furthermore he explained that the revolution was derailed because of the reformist stance of the leaders of Pakistan People's Party which opened up the road for counter-revolution in the form of Zia's dictatorship. The working class was smashed as past prejudices were whipped up to foment hatred among the masses on national and racial lines. He said that Marxism has a clear programme on the national issues and that we cannot allow workers to be divided on national lines. The only solution to the national question is the socialist revolution because the capitalists cannot perform their national democratic tasks. He added that this book gives us a clear strategy for the socialist revolution in Pakistan.
Then came a famous poet and member of The Struggle, comrade Asghar, who recited his poetry. After the recital, came Professor Imdad Chandio, who is the ex-president of the DSF (Democratic Students Federation). He said that the appearance of the book at a time when PPP is in power is a big courageous step. Jam Saqi, ex-general secretary of the Communist Party and now a member of the IMT and leader of the PPP also contributed his thoughts on the 1968-69 revolution and this book.
Then came the moment for which the huge audience had been waiting for. Comrade Lal Khan, the author of the book, when he came up to speak got a standing ovation. He said the purpose of writing this book was to make the lessons of the 1968-69 revolution to the new generation of workers and youth and prepare them for socialist revolution. He said that nothing is impartial in society; even the smallest particle of an atom has its inclinations, adding that, "I have written this book being partial to the oppressed working class." He explained that the 1968-69 revolution brought with it its own culture, one that reflected a socialist society The workers were integrated on a class basis and their was a revolt against the prevailing values of a decaying society. However, the revolution was cut across by reforms. These reforms had a big impact on the living standards of the common people and thus the PPP became the biggest party in the history of Pakistan. This was based on the revolutionary movements, but the attempt to reach reconciliation between classes led to a defeat of the movement and later the hanging of Bhutto himself. Since then - and up till today ‑ the PPP has been pulled back from its basic founding manifesto. The conditions in society today are preparing an even bigger revolutionary movement than the 1968-69 movement. This time, however, there is a difference, which is the subjective factor which is being prepared and built up by The Class Struggle, which will have a huge impact on the coming movement and, as he said, "We pledge our revolutionary commitment that this time round the movement will achieve its logical end and that is the socialist revolution, and that that revolution will stir the masses of the whole subcontinent. It will be the beginning of world revolution. That is the sole purpose behind writing this book." The ceremony ended with revolutionary slogans for socialist revolution.
The Inauguration ceremony in Islamabad was held in the Hall of the Academy of Letters on December 29, 2008. It was hosted by the Columnists Association of Pakistan. The speakers include renowned poetess Kishwar Naheed, the intellectual and book reviewer for the Daily Dawn Ashfaq Saleem Mirza, the famous playwright and left intellectual at MD Pakistan Television Network Shahid Mahmood Nadeem, the Federal Minister of Food & Agriculture and PPP MP Nazar Gondal, comrade Yasir Irshad and the author of the book himself, comrade Lal Khan.
Kishwar Naheed appreciated the effort by Lal Khan and said that it reminds her of the days of her youth when she along with her other fellow students struggled against the Ayub regime. Ashfaque Salim Mirza said that this is the best book he had read written on the history of Pakistan. He gave a chapter-wise critique of the book and appreciated the efforts of Lal Khan.
Comrade Yasir explained the differences between an agitation or protest and a revolutionary movement. He said how for the first time Lal Khan has truly called that movement a revolution while other left intellectuals and right wing leaders had described it as a mere "agitation" against Ayub.
Nazar Gondal eulogised the efforts of Lal Khan on outlining the true history of the PPP and said that the only way forward for the new generation of Pakistan was the one outlined by Lal Khan and the IMT.
Comrade Lal Khan in the end explained that how different aspects of what Z. A. Bhutto did are used to propagate the vested interests of various people. He said that the best of Bhutto's actions were the nationalisation of industries and his socialist slogans and speeches which are condemned by the present leadership, while his worst aspects, such as the Islamic Leaders Conference and his ban on alcohol and the removal of the weekly holiday on Friday, are praised by the current leaders only to misguide the workers and peasants of Pakistan.
The inauguration ceremony in Karachi was held in the hall of Pakistan International Affairs Institute on December 18, 2008. The speakers included the PPP leader and ex- MP Taj Haider, the ex-General Secretary of the Communist Party of Pakistan Jam Saqi, the leader of the 1968-69 revolution in Karachi Usman Baloch, comrade Ilyas Khan who is the General Secretary of the People's Lawyers Forum, Sehar Ansari, a professor at Karachi University, the columnist Zubair Rehman, former Trade Union leader Karamat Ali, the PPP leader and President of the PTUDC Riaz Hussain Lund Baloch and comrade Lal Khan.
Taj Haider explained the changing role of the PPP in the last 40 years and how it has degenerated and been derailed from its founding manifesto. Jam Saqi expressed his views about the 1968-69 movement and the role of the peasants and workers in that movement. He said that this book has given a new light and hope for the new generation. In his speech he also condemned the current Imperialist aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Riaz Lund explained the current conditions of the workers of Karachi and how a Fascist party is being used by the state to curb the rights of the workers in Karachi. He said that a new 1968-69 is needed to overthrow the current despotic capitalist system. He said that this time we will not let the revolution lose its goal but we will fight to the finish.
Usman Baloch criticized Bhutto and his role in derailing the revolution but he also admitted the absence of clear perspectives and ideas that led to the derailing of the revolution. He condemned the Stalinist parties of that time and their treacherous role in the movement when the were allied with the Ayub regime on the dictates of Beijing. He said that "we the workers defeated Ayub, not Bhutto" but due to his socialist sloganeering he was able to rally the masses around him and take the lead in the revolution.
Comrade Lal Khan explained how the PPP was founded but also its present role as a stooge of imperialism. He condemned the policies of Zardari and the clique around him and how they are fiercely attacking the rights of workers, peasants and youth in Pakistan. He also condemned the policy of privatisation being pursued by the current regime which is quite the opposite of Z. A. Bhutto's nationalizations.
Open the Gallery
- Dawn newspaper reviews “Pakistan’s Other Story” (January 22, 2009)
- Pakistan: The revolution betrayed – an introduction to "Pakistan’s Other Story - The 1968-69 Revolution" by Alan Woods (October 20, 2008)