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Labour Party Pakistan condemns Obama's Afghanistan policy
By Farooq Tariq
December 4, 2009 -- The Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) condemns US President Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy and demands that all NATO forces immediately withdraw from Afghanistan and stop drone attacks on Pakistan. The Labour Party Pakistan has decided to protest against this new escalation of the war effort in the region. The first protest took place on December 4 in front of US consulate in Lahore. There will be more demonstrations in different parts of Pakistan.
Nisar Shah, LPP general secretary, and Farooq Tariq, LPP spokesperson, said that when Obama took office less than a year ago, there were only 32,000 US troops in Afghanistan. By next spring there will be 100,000. Obama has given General Stanley McCrystal, US and Nato commander in Kabul, more or less the numbers of troops he wanted. Obama clearly spelt out to the Pakistan government that ''a safe haven for those high-level terrorists, whose location is known, and whose intentions are clear, cannot be tolerated''. This clearly means more bombs, more drone attacks and more bloodshed in the region.
The Labor Party Pakistan leaders said that President Obama has disappointed many who had the illusion that he may bring peace and prosperity for the world. They said that Guantanamo has not yet closed. Secret prisons are still functioning in the US, torture continues, its land mine policy is unchanged and living standards even in US are declining. The war in Iraq is unchanged and the war in Afghanistan is escalating.
In Pakistan, the situation is getting worse and worse. The new US Afghanistan policy will mean more terror in Pakistan. Religious fanatics will not be silenced by more drone attacks, but on the contrary it will promote more suicide attacks in desperation.
The Labour Party Pakistan leaders said in a press statement that for many Americans the promise of the new Obama administration was that finally the United States would reject the neoconservative concept that the United States can ignore international law and use indiscriminate violence around the world to assert its interests. That hope was largely snuffed out when President Obama gave his hawkish generals and the neocon pundits most of what they wanted by expanding the eight-year-old Afghanistan war and guaranteeing more violations of the laws of war.
The LPP leaders said that the religious fanatics and the imperialist forces are providing each other excuses for escalating more violence. The religious fanatics cannot be eliminated by military means. There has to be a comprehensive and wide-ranging political and economic strategy to fight the fanatics. The Pakistan state must end all forms of support to madrassas [religious schools]. At least 10 per cent of the state budget should be spent on education, and education must be free until university level for all Pakistanis. The state must ensure the delinking of education from religious practices.
Nasir Shah and Faroow Tariq said that the LPP condemns the both imperialists and the religious fanatics. The Pakistan government is acting blindly to the dictates of the Obama administration. The political and economical dictates by US imperialism and its institutions like International Monetary Fund and World Bank are promoting war and more economic misery for people of Pakistan. The Pakistan government must change its political and economical priorities and must stop siding with US imperialism.