The Post - Lahore publishes the Marxists' analysis on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto

We republish here the back page of the December 30th, 2007 edition of The Post - Lahore. The first extracts were from the Pakistan People's Party 1970 manifesto, the second ones from the 2008 pro-Capitalist manifesto and the third section of the page was Alan Woods' article Pakistan: The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, providing a Marxist analysis of the situation in Pakistan after Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

The Post - Lahore, page B-8, December 30th, 2008 We republish here the back page of the December 30th, 2007 edition of The Post - Lahore, issued in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's assassination. The page carried the title "PPP's history and perspectives". The first part are extracts from the 1970 manifesto of the Pakistan People's Party, led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The progressive content of that manifesto is quite evident and demonstrates that socialism is part of the original traditions of the PPP. On the contrary, in the central part of the page, PPP's 2008 manifesto can be found. 38 years later, the PPP has taken a pro-Capitalist stance in striking contrast with its positions during the revolutionary situation that unfolded in the country since 1968.

Significantly enough, the third part of the page is a long extract from an article by Alan Woods (Pakistan: The assassination of Benazir Bhutto) published in our website just after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and tens of party activists and supporters. This shows the impact of Marxist ideas in Pakistan and the respect that the International Marxist Tendency enjoys there. If those manifestos represent the past and the present of the PPP, we can but be convinced that the article by the editor of In Defence of Marxism represents the only ideas that can prepare a bright future for the movement.

Extracts from PPP's 1970 manifesto

  • Islam is our Faith
  • Democracy is our Policy
  • Socialism is our Economy
  • All Powers to the People

A nation betrayed

The general will of the Muslims of this Asian sub-continent founded the State of Pakistan, which stands today as a monument to their unfulfilled hopes and aspirations. They wanted its citizens to live in freedom, a nation progressive and prosperous, powerful and pledged to shield from oppression Muslims in the other part. The new State so resplendent with noble purpose, as it seemed in the beginning, has fallen prey to internal weaknesses, grown forgetful of its own people's welfare, not to speak of its neglected duty towards the Muslims of India.

There is no need to delve into the past history of Pakistan's origin to determine the future shape of the country's society, its economy, its politics, its obligations. It is a sovereign nation, a national state; governing themselves democratically, its people will decide what their society's character should be.

No people in their right sense can desire the aim of the state's policy to be the increase of poverty, general misery of the masses, rampant corruption, and demoralization of all classes. The people must have desired the opposite of the condition to which they have been reduced; they must have desired rapid economic progress, education, good health, social justice, the equitable distribution of wealth, in short, a better way of life than the ancient one of servitude and degradation.

Before going further, we must first understand exactly what Pakistan's condition is, and how Pakistan is situated in the world. She is one of the poorest among nations. Not only poverty but all the attendant consequences of poverty afflict her people to the maximum degree-ignorance, intellectual sterility, ill-health, dishonesty, crime, corruption, superstitions. All the forms of oppression by authority and by those who exercise power on account of their riches are to be found here.

The average life expectation of a Pakistani is only 33 years, a figure which compares unfavourably even with the 45 years for an Indian and is less than half the 70 for a Briton. While poverty may be the indirect cause of high mortality, the health needs of the masses have been grossly neglected because every government of this country has followed the policy of concentrating expenditure in the domains that benefit the privileged classes. To this same policy must be attributed the very high illiteracy rate - among the highest in the world and not decreasing either - and the steady deterioration of educational standards. If we were to probe deeper into the causes of the iniquitous taxation, the inefficiency of governmental administration when it is not corrupt also, the prevalence of honesty in business, and the other evils which put their specific stamp on life in our country, we shall find that they are connected with the sort of capitalist structure that has been built upon the theory that the concentration of wealth leads to economic progress.

Those classes who know themselves guilty of wrongs done to the nation and the reactionary political parties whose eyes are forever turned backwards, attempt now to divert attention by proclaiming themselves champions of fanciful ideologies which they ascribe to the original purpose of Pakistan.

To make matters worse, these are men, some of whom hostile to the very conception of Pakistan, who are now condemning all Pakistani Muslims, except themselves and their followers, as unbelievers, if they will not subscribe to the sanctity of economic exploitation and social injustice. This appeal to ignorant fanaticism is dangerous not only to the State but to the unity of Muslims as Muslims. We, on the other hand, appeal to reason, to the accumulated wealth of human knowledge, to the methods and techniques devised by human ingenuity through the centuries, to show the way out of our national misery towards life worthy of a great people. The real problems that confront the nation are political and economic, but not religious, since both exploiters and exploited profess the same faith - both are Muslims.

Many governments have come and gone, but the trend towards the relative impoverishment of the people, the enrichment of privileged classes and the growth of parasitic vested interests, has proceeded without abatement. All the past governments are certainly to blame for their wrong policies; but they could not act otherwise than they did, being the representatives of class and vested interests. They could not be expected to change the system, when their vocation lay in developing it for the profit of the classes on whose behalf they were in power.

Present state untenable

It should also be acknowledged that development plans on the old pattern, from which our nation has suffered so much, are incapable of making good the harm already done. During the period of all the five-year plans which could affect nothing to prevent the economic gap between the industrial countries and ours from getting wider year by year, the disparity between the two Wings kept growing. It is possible to conceive a separate capitalist-orientated development plan for East Pakistan, but the price of a complete division of Pakistan's economy must then be paid. It is certain that such a plan would only add a few 'sons of the soil' to the handful of non-East Pakistani bankers and industrialists who are at present in control-and who will remain in control in happy partnership.

As a consequence of the misdeeds of our rulers, subservience to neocolonialist powers, the adoption of an economic system permitting outright plunder of the people, the concentration of wealth in a few hands, the sharing out of power, employment and sources of wealth between businessmen, big landlords and the classes that comprise the civil and military hierarchy of government-all these have brought the country to a crisis, another word for general ruin. It should be noted that the corruption of government and other public servants is only a symptom and not the cause of the disease; for the thread of corruption runs right through the social strata. Neither is the world situation the cause of this crisis. Although comparisons can be drawn between what is happening in our country and what has been happening elsewhere in the neocolonialist power sphere, the nature of this present crisis has features specifically Pakistani.

The ruling clique supporting the vested interests of banking industry and commerce, have nothing to offer to save the situation except the sameold magical incantations of budgetary formulas and development plans. With rising prices, the working class, the lower middle class, and all sorts of employees with fixed incomes are being rapidly impoverished.. The rising cost of living is the weapon for expropriating wage-workers, salary earners, artisans and a good section of the professional class. The value of earnings falls as the cost of living rises - this is the expropriation of the earning power and the savings of the people. The capitalist loses nothing. His invested capital rises in value, be sells at higher prices the goods he manufactures and trades in, and, to crown all, the government rewards him with bonuses, the load of Which the rest of the nation must bear. In a desperate attempt to save the capitalist system the government is permitting the wholesale expropriation of the unprivileged people of Pakistan.

The crisis is in the bones of our rotten system. The Pakistan People's Party program will abolish the system itself, seizing the means of production which in the hands of the privileged few are the means of exploitation. The immediate need, however, as a financial discipline for any government in power at this juncture fraught with danger, is to stop the inflationary trend and do economic justice to the common people. Wages, salaries and pensions must be pegged to the real value of the currency. This will stop the thievery of the capitalists and their accomplice the administration. The government will be compelled to operate within the framework of a stable currency when the attraction of cheating by inflation has gone.


  1. Main Obstacles

    The country is called upon to send representatives to a National Assembly for the purpose of framing a constitution. Important as this task may appear, a constitution of merely democratic form will not meet the needs of this country unless it is so framed as to allow and, indeed, initiate changes in the economic and social system. It is unlikely that so long as the vested interests of capitalists and propertied classes remain unchecked any thing but a constitution tailored to suit them will be the outcome. The crisis will then continue, to be succeeded by another, still graver. The Party will, however, endeavour its best to help in making a really progressive constitution. The path of Pakistan's progress is blocked by two obstacles: her socioeconomic order and her position as underdeveloped country within the neo-colonialist power sphere. If progress is not possible, neither will prolonged existence be. The programme, of the Pakistan People's Party therefore aims at removing these obstacles by carrying through the necessary fundamental change demanded by the objective situation.

    The true solution lies in adopting a socialist programme, such as outlined in this Manifesto, to transform the economy of the whole of Pakistan, stopping exploitation and utilizing available means to develop the country without capitalist intervention.

    In this Manifesto attention has been paid to both conditions:

    1. The exploitative capitalist structure of Pakistan, and
    2. Pakistan's situation as an underdeveloped country within the neo-colonialist pourer sphere.
  2. Classless Society

    At the Convention in December 1967 in Lahore, the Pakistan People's Party announced the principles for the practical realization of which it was founded. The ultimate objective of the Party's policy is the attainment of a classless society, which is possible only through socialism in our time. This means true equality of the citizens, fraternity under the rule of democracy in an order based on economic and social justice. The aims follow from the political and social ethics of Islam. The Party thus strives to put in practice the noble ideals of the Muslim Faith. Since its principal aims are unattainable by petty adjustments and so long as the unjust order of society prevails, the Party considers that indulgence in reformist slogans deceives the people with false hopes, while the country sinks deeper into the morass of present and additional evils, until finally, in a situation of despair, explosive violence will take the upper hand. The Party's endeavour is to bring about peacefully early changes in the economic structure, leading logically to a juster socio-economic order, by opening the gates to progressive change in the direction of the final goal.

    About the agrarian question: The Party's policy for dealing with agricultural problems was laid down in the Programmatic Principles accepted in 1967. Article 6 of the Programmatic Principles states that:

    "The Party stands for elimination of feudalism and will take concrete steps in accordance with the established principles of socialism to protect and advance the interests of the peasantry".

    Further that:

    "The promotion of self help groups and cooperatives is the best way to help the cultivators to improve their lot"
  3. Social Cooperative Farms

    For efficient utilization of land resources, capital investment in land has to be made. The small holder has not got the means. Moreover, a good deal of the work to improve cultivated areas must be extended over many holdings. In other words, cooperative effort is necessary. This goes beyond the question of proprietary rights and belongs to the organizational aspect of the agricultural system. There are two main lines of attack which have both to be utilized to raise the level of agricultural economy. Two positive measures are:

    1. Provision of land to landless peasants and peasants holding land below the subsistence level.
    2. Social cooperative farms: All state lands put under irrigation or otherwise reclaimed for cultivation will be reserved for landless peasants or peasants owning less than the subsistence holding.

Extracts from PPP's 2008 manifesto


This Manifesto is our sacred pledge to the people of Pakistan, and most importantly to the children of Pakistan who are our future.

Pakistan faces a choice between Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of a vibrant, tolerant and strong federation, and obscurantism and fragmentation.

Pakistan faces a choice between Quaid-e-Awam’s dream of a just society, and growing inequalities.

Pakistan faces a choice between hope and despair.

Pakistan faces a choice between strength and uncertainty.

Pakistan faces a choice between moving forward and looking back.

Pakistan faces a choice between progress for all and prosperity for a few.

We choose Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of tolerance, vibrance and harmony among provinces.

We choose Quaid-e-Awam’s dream of a just society.

We chose hope.

We chose strength.

We choose moving forward.

We choose progress for all.

Basic Principles of the Party.

The first principle of the Party is: Islam is our Faith. Islam teaches brotherhood, love and peace. Our Faith places a responsibility on each citizen to reach out in a spirit of accommodation and tolerance to all religions and sects and to treat people of all faiths with respect, enabling them to enjoy religious freedom and equality before the law. The message of Islam is the message of Peace. It is a message of brotherhood and tolerance. These are symbolised in the words and verses of Data Sahib, Shah Abdul Latif of Bhittai, Baba Farid Ganj Shakar and Lal Shahbaz Qalander. The sufi saints adopted a life of simple living and high thinking. It’s time we did the same. By no means did they use or preach the use of force. The PPP commits itself to religious tolerance. Religious beliefs of individual citizens have little to do with the business of the state, as the Founder of the Nation declared in his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly on 11 August 1947.

The second principle of the PPP is: Democracy is our Politics. The PPP’s commitment to freedom and fundamental rights, including freedom from hunger and want, is written in the blood of its martyrs and in the red marks of lashes on the back of its workers. It is written in the suffering and sacrifice of Quaid-e–Awam, who faced the gallows refusing to bow before tyranny, defending the human rights of our citizens to the last breath. In every age, including today, the PPP leaders and office bearers have been behind bars, in exile, facing political persecution, defending their Party at great personal cost to their families and themselves.

The third PPP principle is: Social Democracy is our Economy. The PPP aims at creating a just and equitable society with equal opportunity for all its citizens. The growing gap between the rich and the poor must be bridged by supporting the underprivileged, the downtrodden and the discriminated. The PPP is proud of being the voice of the poor, the working classes and the middle classes. Our policies, while dedicated to the underprivileged, created conditions that enabled the business and trading classes to compete in the open market. The Party will foster a social market economy, a partnership of the public and private sectors, predicated upon a synthesis of economic liberalism with a strong social democratic agenda of State responsibilities for satisfying basic human needs: full employment, national health, universal education, water supply and sanitation.

The PPP reiterates its firm commitment to provide Food, Clothing and Shelter (Roti, Kapra Aur Makaan) to every poor family in Pakistan through our unique emphasis on full employment. The PPP is the only party with a coherent vision of a welfare state for Pakistan where market forces are balanced with safety nets for the underprivileged and the poor.

The final principle of the PPP is All Power to the People. Only the people have the right on earth to determine their destiny and chart the course of their Nation. All organs of State must be answerable to the Court of the people in an election or through their legitimately elected representatives in Parliament.

To the people of Pakistan we make the following Promises:

  • We Promise to rid Pakistan of violence, bigotry and terror
  • We Promise the youth of Pakistan gainful employment, hope and opportunity
  • We Promise to lower inflation
  • We Promise to provide quality education and health care, and clean drinking water, to the masses
  • We Promise to bring progress to the doorstep of the workers, farmers and small businesses
  • We Promise to protect and support the disadvantaged and the vulnerable
  • We Promise to make Pakistan a businessfriendly country
  • We Promise to give high priority to empowerment of women and ensure their equal rights
  • We Promise to put Pakistan on a sustainable high growth path
  • We Promise to ensure sound macro-economic policies
  • We Promise to ensure a strong Defence
  • We Promise to ensure that energy shortages are eliminated
  • We Promise to protect the Environment
  • We Promise to ensure a world class irrigation system and sound use of scarce water
  • We Promise to enhance Provincial Autonomy
  • We Promise to put in place a citizen-centric government
  • Finally, We Promise Good Governance

State of the Nation

Under the PPP Government, the country was hailed as an emerging capital market of the world. Since the dismissal of the PPP Government in 1996, Pakistan has been associated with terrorism, militancy and extremism. The crisis that began with the dismissal of the PPP government can only end with the return of the PPP, and through the masses, to government. During the first Decade of the 21st Century, the country has suffered:

  • Dangerous increase in terrorism and suicide bombings
  • Very high levels of poverty, unemployment, and inflation
  • Failed poverty reduction program, and severe exclusion of poor from the benefits of growth and progress
  • Undermined national integration with the increased level of discord among Provinces
  • Abuse of institutions and the judiciary
  • Obscurantism and hate among religious and ethnic groups
  • Huge power shortages and increasing water scarcity
  • Increasing crime and suicides

The present regime has eroded all national institutions. Its repression and oppression have created a culture of lawlessness and tyranny, inflicting misery in the lives of the people of Pakistan. There is no justice for the weak and the poor. The youth are unemployed, the farmers neglected, labour retrenched, stock markets manipulated, public sector units plundered, national resources squandered, the media muzzled, civil society attacked, judiciary crushed, and political leaders exiled, imprisoned and maligned. Different areas of the country have been parcelled out to violent militant groups whose influence is spreading like a cancer throughout society. To stop the slide into lawlessness, extremism, anarchy, chaos, poverty and hunger, the restoration of genuine democracy, through free and fair elections is essential. The PPP symbolises the empowerment of the people of Pakistan. The PPP governments served the people. The World praised its energy program as a model for the developing countries. The World Health Organisation gave the PPP government a Gold Medal in recognition of its contribution to the health of its people. The International Labour Organisation noted that the largest job-generation in the history of Pakistan took place under the PPP. As the voice of the people, the PPP is viewed with hostility by the anti-people forces who have rigged elections and destabilized governments to seize power and exploit the People and the Provinces of the country. The social and living standards of the people are pathetic. While poverty decreased under the PPP government, poverty has increased over the years, as reported by the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2007. Quaid-e-Awam made education compulsory for children, and built schools, colleges and universities. He took the literacy rate up to 26% where it stagnated for a decade. Then Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was elected and the literacy rate doubled to over 50%. After the dismissal of the PPP government in 1996, education once again stagnated.

What is to be done?

The PPP promises change through

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Equality

The PPP believes in every individual’s right to food, clothing, housing and an adequate livelihood. Our commitment to the people of Pakistan is that their basic rights are our responsibility. The Party has, and will always, strive for the rights of the People. The PPP slogan is Ilm, Roshni Sab Ko Kaam, Roti Kapra Aur Makaan, Maang Raha Hai Har Insaan.

The Mission Before Us

The PPP’s mission is to transform the lives of our people from one of despair and poverty into one of hope and opportunity through employment, education, energy, environment and equality. We have a clear and coherent vision of what needs to be done and will muster all the resources to get it done. We will take a new approach marked by a determination to challenge the threats and not ignore them. We renew our commitment to build a hopeful future for the poverty stricken. We will strive for a Pakistan where all, rather than some, live in comfort and plenty. We will strive for a Pakistan where everyone is included in the expanding circle of development. We will, with vigour and determination, assure basic needs for all citizens We will strive to have a responsive, responsible and representative government at all levels. Social and Economic Justice is the defining objective of the PPP’s policy framework. We will reduce social and economic inequalities between various classes, between Provinces, within Provinces, and Genders, establishing a just society. National policy frameworks have, to date, accorded primacy to economic policy goals, with social policy goals not pursued aggressively. Even within economic policy-making, Employment has not been a major objective.

Pakistan after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Read the full article by Alan Woods here.

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