Pakistan

The starkest contradiction of the present epoch is the huge level of inequality in which the vast majority of the human race is immersed in poverty, misery and deprivation in an era of plenty. And yet, today the means of production and modern advanced technology have the capacity to produce much more than the total needs for a decent existence of the human race.

In order to commemorate 150 years since the founding of the International Workingmen Association, the first international organization of the working class, and 97 years of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign organized public meetings across Pakistan. Here we give brief reports of the meetings.

In yet another recent tragedy in a vicious cycle of constant calamities afflicting society, at least 60 people were killed, including 21 women and 19 children below the age of 14, and numerous injured following a collision between a passenger coach and a truck near Theri Bypass in Sindh's Khairpur district. A mere accident or part of the general decay of Pakistani society?

The gruesome pogrom in which a Christian couple was beaten to death and their bodies burnt in the brick kiln where they worked, for allegedly desecrating a Quran, in the town of Kot Radha Kishan, symptomizes the malaise that has set in and that is ripping apart the decayed social fabric of Pakistan.

Urgent solidarity action is required for Pakistan Marxists in Malakand. Early this morning at 5.45am, comrade Ghufran Ahad’s home in the village of Allahdand in the district of Malakand, was attacked by a hand grenade. Fortunately no one was injured but the windows and other parts of the home were severely damaged.

The renowned American author and progressive thinker Gore Vidal, analysing the U.S. political setup, once wrote, “There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party… and it has two right wings.” Vidal was referring to the Republicans and the Democrats, whom he characterised as representatives of the ruling class, who have obvious cursory differences, but are fundamentally there to preserve the exploitative capitalist system and the imperialist hegemony.

The notion that Islamic fundamentalism, religious terror and neofascist black reaction can be crushed or eliminated without challenging the status quo is not only false, but also deceptive. It actually amounts in practice to supporting the rotten bourgeoisie in the name of “democracy”, “secularism”, “human rights”, “women’s emancipation” and “freedom”.

On Friday 17 October a condolence meeting was held for 23 year old Comrade Sajid Alam, area secretary of The Struggle for Malakand, who was killed in a tragic road accident. Killed by the intensely barbarous conditions found in Pakistan generally, and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular. As if this were not heartbreaking enough, the local Taliban tried to disrupt his funeral, calling him an infidel, making his grieving family's life an even worse hell on earth.

In an astonishing move, a Christian member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Asiya Nasir, supported by more than a dozen lawmakers including Islamicist mullahs, moved a new amendment to the 1973 Constitution seeking a ban on non-Muslims drinking alcohol, but the bill didn’t get very far.

The Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation is holding its 19th central convention on 24 and 25 September in Muzaffarabad. The convention will coincide with the anniversary of the killing of former General Secretary of JKNSF Fahim Akram who was martyred by the reactionary forces.

This article looks at the situation in Pakistan, and describes on the one hand the effects of decades of rule by an inept and corrupt ruling class that has proven incapable of developing the country and on the other, highlights the immense work done by the comrades of The Struggle in building a Marxist Tendency in these every difficult conditions. [The text is a transcript of several talks given in the USA on Pakistan].

Comrades, I have just spoken on the phone to comrade Lal Khan who has visited Riaz in hospital in Karachi. The good news is that he miraculously survived the shooting and major surgery and is now out of danger and in a stable condition. Although he is said to be out of danger, he is still in a bad state, as one can see from the photo we have just received. He is slipping in and out of consciousness and has not yet spoken.

Comrade Riaz Lund, a leading member of the Pakistan section of the IMT and well-known class fighter in Karachi, has been shot in cold blood by assassins. In a cowardly and brutal assault, he was hit three times, twice in the stomach and once in the chest.

In the nauseating, disingenuous confrontation going on between the elites, the real issues are brushed to one side. Baluchistan appears in the corporate media in accordance with the whims and needs of the bourgeois state and the ruling classes. Ever since the creation of Pakistan, Baluchistan has been in a state of turmoil, revolts and insurgencies. The militant struggles and the military operations are raging on. In reality, Baluchistan has become a festering wound on the body politic of the whole region, including Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

In all the excruciating din about “changing the system”, none of the politicos of the present political setup – each representing different sections of finance capital – even mentions the name of the socioeconomic system that dominates and is ravaging this tragic land – capitalism!