Pakistan

A total strike at Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) started on February 2 nd after state forces opened fire on protesting workers killing at least two. Comrades of the PTUDC [Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign] all over the country had been intervening in the movement almost a month earlier with all the forces at their disposal. Here we provide reports of their intervention.

The PIA workers’ strike has entered its 7th day. Following the murder of three workers by security forces in Karachi last Tuesday, when the workers’ peaceful protest against privatization was brutally attacked, the intensity of the strike has peaked.

The month long strike activity of the PIA workers took a dramatic turn on Tuesday, February 2nd, when the deadline of the Joint Action Committee of the PIA workers to stop flight operation was crossed.

The ongoing process of privatising Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the resistance of pilots and workers has suddenly taken a sharp turn with the eruption of protests and a countrywide strike. The strike and protests are continuing despite government attacks and the vacillations of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) leadership, formed of representatives from the various linked PIA unions, from the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) to the ruling PML-N on the one hand and the PPP on the other.

As terrorists struck another educational institution, the attack has stunned even a society where terrorism is not an extraordinary happening. Wednesday`s attack on Bacha Khan University`s Charsadda Campus in which 21 mainly students were killed and more than fifty injured, has raised the two-day death toll to more than 30.

On January 11th 2016, the normally dormant, lifeless and visionless institution called the Senate did something unexpected and radical, even going against its core conservative characteristics. The Senate approved a resolution for lifting the ban on student unions, and a committee was formed to finalise recommendations on this matter.

Just days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan, there were two terrorist attacks: on the Pathankot air base in Indian Punjab and on the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. The hardliners of the region had struck with a vengeance. As in most terrorist acts there are many accusations and suspected individuals and organisations. A Kashmiri separatists’ alliance based in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, the UJC (United Jihad Council), claimed responsibility for the Pathankot attack, although the Indian media insists the attackers were members of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group.

Pakistan and India announced on Wednesday in Islamabad that they were resuming the dialogue on outstanding issues, ending a two-year-long stalemate. The “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue,” as it has been named, will include all elements covered under previous versions of the talks: peace and security, confidence-building measures, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people-to-people exchanges, and religious tourism.

On Saturday, December 5th, Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) in Lahore organized Youth Convention 2015. The convention, dedicated to the struggle of Che Guevara, formally launched PYA on national scale. Most progressive student organizations joined hands to form the biggest alliance of its kind in recent decades in Pakistan. The mains aims of formation of this alliance are to fight for free education, guaranteed employment or unemployment benefits for the youth, and the revival of student unions in the educational institutions.

In the sixty-eight years of Pakistan’s existence the most significant feature of its socio-economic development has been the contradiction of its economic growth having an inverse effect on the living conditions of its ordinary people. The present economic slowdown that was the result of a crashing economic downfall since 2008 is now unravelling into another decline.

The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) is holding its founding convention on Saturday, December 5th in Lahore. This will be an immense step forward towards the revival of left youth and student politics in Pakistan. Student unions have been banned in the country since 1983 and none of the so called civilian or "democratic" regimes have dared to reverse this brutal relic of Zia ul-Haq's draconian regime.

The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) is holding its founding convention on Saturday, December 5th in Lahore. This will be an immense step forward towards the revival of left student politics, which has been in steep decline for almost three decades now. It is worth mentioning that students unions are banned in the country since 1983 and no “democratic” regime has reversed this brutal relic of Zia’s draconian regime.

On 4th November a factory roof collapsed in Sundar Industrial Estate located near Lahore. More than 500 workers were working in the factory at the time of the collapse. Dozens of dead bodies have been recovered but many more lie there waiting to be bulldozed as the rescue operation has ended.