Pakistan – a critique

The terrible floods have ravaged Sind yet again this year. Torrential rain poured down on Karachi after a recent spate of unending bloodletting. A peculiar strain of mosquito has wreaked havoc in Lahore. Psychological trauma overwhelms the Punjab, particularly its capital. Baluchistan continues to bleed and the repression of the state is relentless. Pushtoonkhawa find no respite from bombings by the imperialist predators and fundamentalist terror. The misery in Kashmir worsens with every passing day and the dream of freedom fades away further into oblivion.

Pakistan seems to be nothing less than a living hell. The economy continues to crumble. The social fabric is tearing apart. Human relations have become sour and burdensome. Families are torn apart with the covetous property relations and the exasperating lust for money. Imperialist plunder and the exploitation of the elites has rapidly plunged the vast majority of people into the abyss of poverty, unemployment, inflation, illiteracy, misery and disease.

The physical and social infrastructure is teetering on the brink. Railways, health, education, sanitation, water, electricity, agriculture, transport and housing are all in a shambles and beyond the reach of the masses in general. Look around and what you see is a society in permanent decay and deterioration. The floods have once again exposed the fragility of the irrigation system. Natural disasters that can be averted are destroying millions due to the lack of investment by a system based on greed and dearth.

The institutions of the state, from the judiciary to the executive and from the army to the legislature, are in the throes of internal conflicts. The state apparatus is steeped in corruption, immersed in the black economy and in a state of decomposition. Even achieving a ‘free’ judiciary is considered exorbitantly expensive and is beyond the reach of ordinary people. There is no let up in the astronomically rising costs of the armed forces. Parliament and the whole political edifice are infested with crime, plunder and extortion. The ‘independent’ media is openly cynical, as it attempts to mould the consciousness of the masses in order to enslave them to this exploitative system. In return, the media barons and their class are rewarded by wealth, profits, perks, privileges and high social status. While this orgy of plunder and exhibitionism of the rich and the wealthy, the high and the mighty, the upstarts and the groomed savages, the dons and the vultures goes on, there is a seething contempt and rage among the oppressed classes who are suffering in their poverty and agonizing life.

And yet it appears that no-one at the helm of affairs is the least bothered. The domineering politicians, intellectuals, generals, judges, bureaucrats, mullahs, theoreticians and pious experts are endlessly debating issues that do not relate to the real problems of the masses and the impending disaster facing this tragic society.

The fundamental contradictions they pose are wrong. The conflicts between secularism and religiosity, liberalism and conservatism, democracy and dictatorship, separatism and patriotism, imperialism and fundamentalism, governance and corruption, are the products of this system and they resonate within the confines and constraints of capitalism. These are in fact different concepts, ideologies, strategies and methods of class rule that is facing an unprecedented crisis due to the obsolete nature of the system it is based on.

The masses are hardly aware of or bothered with these issues of the elite and the so-called ‘civil society’. The real burning problem of the vast majority is that simply to survive day to day has become a dire task. The atrocious conditions in which the masses are forced to live by this ruling class and its cruel system are becoming increasingly unbearable. And the elite intelligentsia seems oblivious to all this. In their callousness they strike with impunity, keeping the masses reeling from one attack of drastic cuts to a punishing price hike the next day.

Time and again the working classes of Pakistan have smashed through the obstacles of the ruling class’s culture, morality, sermons, state repression and have defied all the other deceptions and devices of the state and entered into militant class struggle. They have pushed the elite and its state forces against the wall but have always been held back from overthrowing this doomed system by their own leadership’s betrayals.

The last time they revolted in a mass upsurge was in the autumn of 2007. The ruling classes and imperialism struck back with the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto. They eliminated what they saw as the epicentre of the movement. The painful lack of a collective leadership and a revolutionary party was felt yet again. This immense setback and the shock of the subsequent avalanche of economic attacks unleashed by the coalition led by the right-wing leaders of the PPP spread despair and apathy within society. As a consequence the political consciousness of the masses was thrown back and went into a downward spiral. The reactionary ethics and morality of the ruling classes thus prevailed. Deception, hypocrisy, plunder, obscenity, obscurantism and other vices of this system ruled the roost. Art, literature, cinema, social relations, etc., declined to new lows.

Now, however, the epoch of mild reaction has peaked. Trotsky wrote in 1909, “When the curve of historical development rises, public thinking becomes more penetrating, braver and more ingenious. When the political curve indicates a drop, public thinking succumbs to stupidity. The priceless gift of political generalisation vanishes somewhere without leaving a trace. Stupidity grows in insolence, and, baring its teeth, heaps insulting mockery on every attempt at a serious generalisation. Feeling that it is in command of the field, it begins to resort to its own means.”

The present day intellectuals of doom and gloom accuse the masses of cowardice and inaction. Yet it is they, the so-called intellectuals, who lack the dialectical ability to analyse movements and situations from a historical perspective. It is the toilers who have been the victims of this repression and subterfuge. Enslavement to imperialism and the ruthless drudgery of the ruling elites is what has characterised Pakistan’s ruling classes ever since “independence”.

On 7th September 1947 Jinnah told a cabinet meeting, “Communism could not flourish in the soil of Islam. Pakistan’s interests would be best served by friendship with two great democratic countries, the UK and the USA.” However, the revolutionary movement of the workers, youth and peasants in 1968-69 rejected that notion. Imperialist hegemony has plundered the economy and brought wars, mayhem and destruction. The local elites have been their subservient toadies. Another 1968-69 will inevitably erupt on a higher plane. Its socialist victory will once and forever break the chains of this system that has enslaved the oppressed classes for generations.