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Labour Party Pakistan

Pakistan: No run-of-the-mill election campaign for political prisoner Baba Jan

Political prisoner Baba Jan.

By Farooq Tariq, general secretary Awami Workers Party, Pakistan

June 11, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was one of best votes for any left candidate during an general election held in Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan for decades.

Imprisoned Baba Jan, candidate of Awami Workers Party (AWP), won 4641 votes and came second during the Gilgit Baltistan legislative assembly election held on June 8, 2015.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) candidate got 8245 votes and won the seat. The winning candidate is the former ruler of the Hunza estate who had with billions of rupees at his disposal.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which won the seat in the 2009 election, trailed behind Baba Jan with 3201 votes, while the newly established bourgeois party of cricketer Imran Khan, Tehreek Insaaf (Justice Movement), was in fourth position with 2291 votes. The religious Shia party Majlis Wahadat Muslimeen (MWM) came fifth with 1041 votes, and the candidate of the party of former dictator General Musharaf, the All Pakistan Muslim League, was last on 254.

Political prisoner

¿Socialismo del Siglo 21 en Pakistán?

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3089.]

El 11 de Noviembre nacerá un nuevo partido de la izquierda marxista en Pakistán. Un proceso novedoso de fusión de tres partidos de carácter marxista. Hace mucho que no se produce una experiencia así, sino lo contrario, divisiones y sectarismos.

Por Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

9 de Noviembre de 2012 -- La Aurora -- El artículo que presentamos invita a reflexionar sobre el proceso de fusión de los 3 partidos, sobre el papel que están jugando las jóvenes generaciones en esta lucha por la unidad, sobre el papel de las mujeres, sobre los retos de la izquierda revolucionaria ante la globalización económica, los nuevos auges de las religiones y sectas y muchas otras cuestiones. Sin duda hay aspectos específicamente asiática y pakistaní. Pero también hay en esas reflexiones la parte global, mundial, útil para toda la izquierda en cualquier parte del mundo, particularmente la marxista.

Tres partidos de la izquierda se unen para formar el Partido de los Trabajadores Awami.

Pakistan: Left parties unite to form Awami Workers Party; 21st century socialism in Pakistan?

By the Awami Workers Party

Islamabad, November 2, 2012 – Three leftist parties, Awami Party Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan and Worker’s Party Pakistan, will formally merge into a new party called the Awami Workers Party on November 11 as a first step towards building an alternative to the status quo which has brought Pakistani state and society to the brink of collapse. This was stated by leaders of the three parties at a press conference held on Friday at the Islamabad Hotel.

Speaking to reporters, Workers Party leader Abid Hasan Minto said that the institutions of the state are fragmenting, and often completely at odds with one another. Democratic institutions remain weak and underdeveloped in comparison to the military establishment and civil bureaucracy. The increasingly untenable situation in Balochistan indicates a wider crisis of the federation, thus confirming that our ruling class has learnt little from the secession of east Pakistan in 1971. Finally, the state continues to maintain a confrontational and interventionist posture vis a vis neighbouring countries, which serves only to isolate Pakistan and exacerbate internal divisions.

Pakistan: Three left parties to unite

Statement by the Awami Party Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan and the Workers Party Pakistan

September 19, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the past few months, three left political parties have been holding meetings to discuss the possibility of a merger and creation of a new progressive force in Pakistan politics. Many of us have been striving for left unity for years, even decades.

The challenges that working people and progressive political forces face both within this country and in the form of imperialist intrigue cannot be meaningfully confronted without such unity. In the past, efforts to bring the left together have both succeeded and failed, and it is in the spirit of learning from such experiences that this present attempt is being made.

We do not expect to suddenly emerge as a "third" force in Pakistan politics, because we do not enjoy the kind of patronage of state and non-state powers as the right-wing parties. Yet we do believe that the people of Pakistan want to see new alternatives emerging and we expect that a merger of existing left groups will be a giant step forward in building such an alternative.

Pakistan: Baba Jan released from jail

Bab Jan leaves jail, September 17, 2012.

By Farooq Tariq

September 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Good news from Gilgit-Baltistan. We just got the confirmed reports that Baba Jan, federal youth secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) and chief organiser for the Progressive Youth Front, Gilgit, has been released after nearly a year in jail. His bail was accepted on September 15 in the last of the charges registered against him.

Baba Jan was warmly welcomed outside the jail gates by the supporters and members of LPP, who raised slogans like "Baba Jan, zinda bad", "Long live the struggle of the people", "Long live international solidarity.

Last week, the Pakistan Senate committee on human rights called the chief secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan to ask for an explanation of why Baba Jan was tortured and kept in jail. The chief secretary was rebuffed by Afrasayab Khatak, chair of the Senate committee, when he termed Baba Jan an "anti-state activist". Afrasayab Khatak told the chief secretary to stop telling bullshit to him. He told the top bureaucrat of Gilgit that he has heard a lot of these allegations and that he was himself at one time had been declared as being anti-state. Afrasayab Khatak asked for documentary proof of the allegations.

Within few days, Baba Jan got the bail.

Pakistan: Urgent action needed to stop torture of activists

STOP PRESS, July 25, 2012 -- Thanks to all who sent protest messages and got the word out quick. Baba Jan and Iftikhar Hussain have now been returned to jail after being interrogated and roughed up by the special interrogation team. But we we still must demand: Free Baba Jan and Free the Hunza Five! -- Peter Boyle

By Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance (Australia) national co-convener

July 23, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A leading Pakistan newspaper, Dawn, reports that Labour Party Pakistan comrades Baba Jan and Iftikhar Hussain are being tortured by special "anti-terrorist police" unit in an undisclosed location now: http://dawn.com/2012/07/23/gilgit-rights-activist-being-given-the-third-degree/

Pakistan: Free Baba Jan, political prisoner of the climate crisis (Green Left TV report)

June 23, 2012 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For nine months, Baba Jan Hunzai and four fellow activists have been languishing in Pakistan jails, charged with terrorism offences, and suffering torture. Their crime? Organising the oppressed local community to struggle for compensation, after their villages were submerged by a climate change-induced landslide. Green Left TV's Peter Boyle interviewed Labour Party of Pakistan national spokesperson Farooq Tariq.

Support Baba Jan: Protest at the Pakistan embassy in your country. Join Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali in signing the petition to free Baba Jan and the Hunza 5 at www.ipetitions.com/petition/free-baba-jan. Follow the campaign at www.freebabajan.wordpress.com.

For details of where to send letters demanding Baba Jan's release and more background information on the case of Baba Jan and his comrades, click here and here.

Pakistan: International week of action for the release of Baba Jan and his comrades, June 20-27, 2012

Socialist Alliance (Australia) poster demanding the release of Baba Jan and his comrades.

Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to send protest letters to Pakistan embassies and consulate in their own countries. See an example at the conclusion of this article.

By Pierre Rousset and Danielle Sabai

Pakistan: Protest torture of Baba Jan, 'prisoner of climate change'

May 3, 2012 -- The following letter to protest the beating and continued detention of Baba Jan (pictured speaking above), Waqar and other activists was sent to Pakistan's High Commissioner (ambassador) to Australia by the Socialist Alliance. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to send similar letters to Pakistan embassies and consulate in their own countries.

* * *

Last year, after devastating floods swept the Atta Abad Lakes region of Pakistan, police opened fire on a demonstration of people demanding compensation. Two people were killed.

Baba Jan. a federal committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), was among the first to raise the issue of Atta Abad Lake flood victims. He toured Pakistan in 2011 to organise rallies and demonstrations to highlight the plight of villagers who have lost their homes to this newly formed lake caused by deforestation, soil erosion and climate change. He spoke to the national media in press conferences held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

Asian left parties: 'Free Somyot and all political prisoners in Thailand! End the medieval lèse majeste law!'

Joint statement

April 26, 2012 -- We, the undersigned organisations, are deeply concerned about the continuous repression against social activists under lèse majesté law in Thailand, including Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a labour activist who has been imprisoned without bail since April 30, 2011.

We are concerned about Somyot’s continuous imprisonment, his transfer to another prison and his bail request being denied numerous times.

Somyot is known for his tireless work in the workers’ movement and to establish democratic trade unionism in Thailand. In 2007, he became editor of the Voice of Taksin magazine (now called Red Power), a political publication opposed to the military coup. Somyot is the chair of the Union of Democratic Labour Alliance and the leader of 24th June democracy group, which was formed in the aftermath of the military coup in September 2006.

Pakistan: Stop the kidnapping, forced religious conversion and forced 'marriage' of women!

April 20, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 17, the Sindh Progressive Committee (SPC), which brings togetther activists from the Labour Party Pakistan, Workers Party, Communist Party, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, National Party, Awami Party and Watan Dost Inquilaabi Party, held a rally outside the Hyderabad Press Club (photo above by Irfan Ali/Express Tribune) protesting against the kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage of young Hindu women.

The rally was violently attacked by thugs belonging to the Sunni Tehreek party. Police intervened on the side the aggressors and detained 22 SPC activists who have since been released but are still facing charges being pressed by the Sunni Tehreek.

Pakistani mainstream press reports: http://tribune.com.pk/story/366193/forced-conversions-as-leftists-protest-st-takes-offence/

http://dawn.com/2012/04/18/escalation-of-clash-between-rallies-averted

Below is a statement from Pakistani progressive organisations.

Solidarity with journalists in Sri Lanka, defend democratic rights! Protest abduction of socialists!

UPDATE: The two comrades of the Frontline Socialist Party, Premakumar Gunarathnam and Dimuthu Attygale, have both been released, on late April 9/early April 10. Gunarathnam has been deported to Australia (he is an Australian citizen). Without doubt it was the high level of international attention and the unprecedented solidarity across the political divide in Sri Lanka that secured their lives and liberty.

April 5, 2012 -- Democratic freedoms are increasingly under attack in Sri Lanka. In a climate of intense chauvinism, critics of the government and its increasingly authoritarian and repressive policies are more and more threatened. Even journalists who have already been forced into exile are targets of threats and smear campaigns. Government members have personally called for violence against media personnel that have raised criticism of the Sri Lankan government or that have drawn attention to violations of Human Rights in the country.

Pakistan: The political context of a ‘religious’ assassination

Salmaan Taseer, assassinated governor of Punjab.

By Beena Sarwar

January 8, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a longer version of this article will appear at Viewpoint -- Just over a year ago, Salmaan Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s largest province, the Punjab, was assassinated in the most cowardly manner by a government-assigned security guard in federal capital, Islamabad. The killer, a trained commando of the Punjab Elite Force, Mumtaz Qadri, pumped 27 bullets into the Governor’s back as he headed to his car on the afternoon of January 4, 2011.

This sensational murder rocked the nation and reverberated around the world. It was not a spontaneous enraged act but a well-thought out, cold-blooded plan. One man executed this plan – but was he acting alone and was it an act motivated only by "religious fervour" as has been depicted, or is there more to the issue than meets the eye? And even if the action was purely altruistic, should the law of the land not be applied to punish the guilty?

Pakistan and Afghanistan: Conference of progressive parties' joint declaration

Statement by Afghan and Pakistan progressive and left parties

December 26, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The progressive and democratic forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan met here in Lahore for two days [December 21-22, 2011] in the first ever joint conference. This is a historic step for the progressive forces of both sides to sit together and share the sufferings of our people at the hands of US-led NATO forces as well as the religious extremists in the form of the Taliban. We also vehemently condemn the military establishment and the governments of both countries who use different excuses to justify the occupation by foreign forces as well as [being the] tacit [patrons] of religious extremism.

We resolve to launch a sustained campaign against the forces of imperialism and religious extremism. We plan to organise coordinated days of action and other initiatives at the political as well as the cultural and educational levels. We plan to broaden this movement and include other left and progressive forces who share the common goals of establishing a just peace and of progress in the region. We resolve to also include the progressive movements in India and Iran in order to build up a broad regional alliance to secure a just peace.

West Papua: Support workers at the Freeport-McMoRan Grasberg mine striking for a wage increase

Statement by Asia-Pacific left and workers’ organisations

December 11, 2011 -- The strike started on September 15, 2011, and it involves nearly 12,000 workers. It was called after the negotiations between the union and the management went into deadlock.

The striking workers want to be paid US$7.50 per hour (for grade F1) to $18 per hour (for grade A5) instead of the US$2.10 per hour to $3.50 per hour they are currently receiving.

Their demands are for increases of 250% to 500%, but these wage demands are still much lower than the amounts workers are paid in other Freeport-McMoRan mines such as those in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In negotiations the union has offered solutions, but these have been rejected by the management.

Pakistan: Six workers' leaders sentenced to a total 490 years' jail! Solidarity needed!


On November 2 a protest demonstration was held in Lahore by the Labour Party Pakistan to denounce the jail sentences imposed on six leaders of the power loom workers' movement in Faisalabad.

By Khalid Mehmood and Farooq Tariq

November 2, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Power loom workers in Faisalabad in mid-2010 went on a series of major strikes and demonstrations. Six of their leaders were arrested by the police. Once in detention, they were additionally charged under anti-terrorist legislation. The six have now been sentenced to a total of almost 490 years' jail (served concurrently). This is a clear message of how "anti terror" laws are used against workers. The Labour Party Pakistan is calling for demonstrations outside Pakistan embassies and consulates around the world.

(Updated Oct. 23) Occupy wave reaches Pakistan


Occupy Karachi march, October 22, 2011. Photo by Comrade Sherbaz.

Occupy Lahore!

By Farooq Tariq

October 19, 2011 -- Left-wing political parties, trade unions, social activists and student groups at a press conference in the Labour Party office invited people to join them in an Occupy Lahore anti-capitalist camp at 1 pm, Nasir Bagh, on October 22. The camp shall continue for at least two days. A program for the camp will be announced soon.

The camp is being set up in solidarity with the worldwide Occupy Movement and the growing unrest among peoples caused by the global economic recession.

Addressing the press conference, Progressive Youth Front representative Ammar Ali Jaan honoured October 15, when the world stood against the capitalist financial system. This unrest has been developing since 2008, as people believed governments would take to task those responsible for causing the global financial crisis.

However, governments gave billions of dollars to bail out financial institutions and corporations at the cost of the masses. In the context of Pakistan, which is facing numerous ordeals like price hikes, electricity and gas shortages, and at a structural level feudalism and capitalism, the security state and there is a global realisation that the system that was preserved by governments has failed us in Pakistan as well and must be overturned.

Solidarity statement: Free Baba Jan and all political prisoners!

[If your organisation can sign this statement, please send your name/organisation to politic.ofthepoor@gmail.com to support this statement. Follow updates of the struggle in https://www.facebook.com/groups/124069531026580/?ref=ts. Click here for more background.]

Free Baba Jan and all political prisoners!

Reparations for the victims of police violence!

Reparations for the victims of the landslide of July 4!

September 22, 2011 -- Last August 11, Pakistan police used live bullets against people demanding payment of compensation allowances following a devastating landslide which had happened a year before in the valley of Hunza, on July 4, 2010. This landslide, in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, destroyed several houses and important roads. The local administration abandoned the affected community and pocketed compensation payments intended for several affected families.

Pakistan: Arrested, tortured for assisting climate change victims

Baba Jan speaking at a demonstration for the flood affected earlier this year.

[Urgent: Please send messages calling for the release of Baba Jan and his comrades c/- farooqtariq@hotmail.com. Farooq Tariq will be a guest speaker at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne, over September 30 to October 3.]

By Farooq Tariq

September 15, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Baba Jan, a federal committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), has been taken from jail ... and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is torturing him on the name of investigation”, fears the LPP. Baba Jan, surrendered himself to an "anti-terrorist court" in Gilgit Baltestan last week, had been on the run after police opened fire on a demonstration demanding compensation for those affected by the Atta Abad Lake floods last year, killing two.

Baba Jan’s “crime” was that he organised rallies and demonstrations against the police killings.

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