Pakistan: Saur Revolution Commemorated in Pashtoonkhwa

On 27th April a mass meeting was organized in Malakand, Pashtoonkhwa to commemorate the 36th anniversary of Afghan Saur Revolution of 1978. More than 500 workers, students, youth and political activists participated in the meeting. The participants travelled long distances on rough roads through the mountains of Pashtoonkhwa to get there. Comrades and activists from Malakand, Shangla, Swat, Dir, Buner, Kohat, Peshawar and Islamabad were in attendance. A group of students from Afghanistan also participated.

Comrade Nasir Amin acted as the stage secretary, while Editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign Lal Khan was the Chief Guest. Other guests included Aimal Khattak, former PPP MP Ghani Muhammad Khan, Dr. Khaliq Zyar, MPA from Quami Watan Party Bakhat Baidar Khan, Shahab Chakdarwal from Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party and many more.

saur3The meeting opened with a revolutionary poem by Ustan Nadeem Gul. Leading Comrade from Pashtoonkhwa and ex District Mayor Comrade Ghufran Ahad then made the first speech, on the history of Saur revolution. During his speech he stated that the revolution was a continuation of the Bolshevik revolution, pointing out that its leader Noor Muhammad Tarakai also took this position on its first anniversary. A revolution was required to eradicate the Feudalism and Capitalism from Afghanistan. Ghufran explained that Noor Muhammad Tarakai was very clear the class question and he rejected the class collaborationists of his time. He also explained the reactionary character of Pakistani state and the confusion of the Pashtoon nationalists in Pakistan.

Next, Comrade Sher Jan from Afghanistan spoke of the reactionary role of KGB and CIA and discussed the history of Afghanistan, the achievements of the Afghan revolution and oppressed nationalities. Having thanked the IMT for organising such an excellent program, Khurshid Khan explained that the national question can be solved only by addressing the class question. Meanwhile, Bakhat Baidar Khan argued that national question should be taken seriously, with the dominant province exploiting the Province of Pashtoonkhwa. He stated that we must move towards peace as so many lives have been lost.

Sahibzada Bacha was in Afghanistan at the time of Afghan Revolution and he observed it closely. At the meeting, he recalled how the people of Afghanistan welcomed the revolution, illustrating that it was a great historical event.

saur4Aimal Khattak, son of Famous Pashtoon poet Ajmal Khattak, discussed the reasons for the defeat of the revolution. He explained that the world was divided into two blocks and the revolution disturbed the balance of powers in the region. All of the capitalist countries joined their forces to defeat the revolution. There were regional problems and the party carrying out the revolution was not very clear about the politics and consciousness of the masses. Ghani Muhammad Khan noted that Noor Muhammad Tarakai used to organise study circles in the area of Malakand.

The war which we are facing today is a result of the defeat of Saur revolution. We should use Marxism as a political weapon. If we solve the class question, the national question will be solve along with it. Dr. Khaliq Zyar explained that there were differences amongst the Khalaq and Parcham factions of the PDPA but we did not oppose either of them as it would have been an opposition to the revolution. As he stated, revolutions are never fought for in vain.

saur2Lal Khan was the last speaker to address the meeting. At the time of the revolution he was a student facing the oppression by the Zia regime in prison. The news of the revolution in Afghanistan was an inspiration to him. The bourgeois media and the liberals portray Pashtoons as a savage and religious fundamentalist people. They want to obliterate the Saur revolution from history. Pashtoon people are the torch bearers of the revolution. After the revolution Kabul was called the ‘Paris of the Orient’. The imperialists have ravaged Afghanistan by bombing it with $28 billion worth of bombs, making the $2 billion  which they have given in aid, a small compensation. The ruins in the city of Kabul are a testament to this. But the time is not very far away for another revolutionary event, much bigger in scope than the earlier revolution, to take place here.

In his speech, Lal Khan exposed the falsifications of the bourgeois press regarding the Saur revolution. They do not write about the fact that the Soviet army entered Afghanistan eighteen months after the Saur revolution, once the leadership of the revolution was killed. The revolution was led by the Khalaq faction of the PDPA under the leadership of Noor Muhammad Tarakai and Hafiz Ul Amin. Not only did it scare the imperialists, but the KGB was also alarmed. They therefore carried out the Murder of Noor Muhammad Tarakai under suspicious circumstances, while Hafiz Ul Amin and his associates were killed by Russian Special Forces in an operation.

saur6This was not a classical socialist revolution. Yet it was a great rebellion against feudalism and tribal primitiveness in a country like Afghanistan. This example proves that in backward countries the bourgeoisie is incapable of carrying out a national democratic revolution. Lal Khan spoke of the Saur revolution as an extraordinary event. Indeed, it was the greatest revolution in the history of South Asia. The workers of this region will enter the arena of history once again. This revolution will not be confined to just one side of the artificial Durand line and it will destroy this imperialist division and spread across the region. The question is not only of the working class, but now also of the survival of human civilization. We are already seeing the forms of barbarism manifest, but we are also preparing for Socialism.

At the end, a video of Noor Muhammad Tarakai’s inspirational speech on the first anniversary of the Saur revolution was played to bring the meeting to a close.