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Pakistan

Farooq Tariq, Awami Workers Party: 'Left unity a precious gain amid right-wing advances in Pakistan'

Farooq Tariq

April 10, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One of the international guests at the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, to be held in Sydney June 7-9, 2014, will be Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) in Pakistan. Conference organiser and Green Left Weekly correspondent Peter Boyle interviewed Tariq on April 10. He will speak on "The struggle for democracy and justice in Pakistan" on June 7 at the Addison Road Community Centre, Marrickville, Sydney.

Get your ticket here.

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It has been nearly a year and a half since the Awami Workers Party was formed out of a merger of the Awami Party Pakistan, the Labour Party Pakistan and the Worker’s Party Pakistan. How is this united party going today?

Photo story: Awami Workers Party leads demonstration against land grabs and evictions

By Farooq Tariq

October 3, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Awami Workers Party (AWP) organised a rally in Islamabad for land rights and against the eviction of Katchi Abadies dwellers. More than 2000 marched from Aab Para Chouck to national parliament in Islamabad, a distance of 4 kilometres.

There was great enthusiasm and a lot of revolutionary slogans were raised. More than 400 women were part of the rally and they were mostly carrying the red flags of the AWP.

The rally was led by the leadership of the AWP including Abid Hasan Minto, president; Fanoos Gujjar, chairperson; Asim Sajad Akhta, general secretary of the AWP Punjab; Dr Farzana Bari, women's secretary AWP; Alia Anir Ali, general secretary of the National Students Federation; and Farooq Tariq.

The All Pakistan Karchi Abadies Alliance was part of the rally and women, children and men came from all parts of the poor areas of Islamabad.

The rally condemned the PMLN government and demanded an end to evictions. It demanded effective land reforms and declared that they are not unIslamic. Participants demanded land rights for tenants and for the landless peasantry and raised slogans against land grabs.

It was one of the largest mobilisations of the AWP this year in Islamabad. Those in power must be very upset to see a wave of red flags in the hands of the working class.

Pakistan 'anti-terrorism' court jails left-wing activists for 10 years for protesting

Baba Jan addressing displaced villagers in Hunza Valley in 2010.

By Haseeb ur Rahman

September 21, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In January 2010, a terrible disaster unfolded in the Hunza Valley in Gilgit Baltistan (a formerly self-governing territory occupied by Pakistan since 1948) when a massive landslide blocked the Hunza River and formed a gigantic 19 kilometre-wide lake that submerged four villages. Some 25 people lost their lives and 6000 people were displaced.

These internally displaced people (IDPs) were moved to the towns of Gilgit and Hunza. Pakistan's PM and other officials visited the IDPs in Hunza and promised compensation. When, more than a year later, people took to the streets in protest for not getting the promised compensation, the police killed a man and his son in broad daylight by opening fire on the peaceful protest. A riot followed.

In that riot, 25 demonstrators were injured. When Progressive Youth Front leader Baba Jan and his comrades protested against this brutality, they were also arrested. Most of those arrested were released soon after but Baba Jan along with four of his companions were kept. They were tortured and beaten up brutally.

Following an international solidarity campaign, Baba Jan was released after a year in detention but his companions were kept in jail.

Pakistán: La derecha barre en las elecciones

Farooq Tariq.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3352.]

Por Farooq Tariq

26/05/13 -- Sinpermiso.info -- La derecha barrió como una ola en las elecciones generales del 11 de mayo en Pakistán. A nivel federal, la conservadora Liga Musulmana de Pakistán-Nawaz (PML-N) formará gobierno después de haber ganado el 35% de los votos.

El partido del ex capitán del equipo de cricket de Pakistán, Imran Khan, Pakistán Tehreek Insaaf, ocupó el segundo lugar con el 19% de los votos y sorprendió a muchos. El Partido del Pueblo de Pakistán (PPP), que ha estado en el poder durante los últimos cinco años, quedó en tercer lugar con sólo el 15%, pero gracias a la provincia de Sindh, donde fue capaz de recuperar la mayor parte de sus votos.

Farooq Tariq: Pakistan's right-wing and religious parties sweep election

The Awami Workers Party's Farooq Tariq on the campaign trail.

By Farooq Tariq

May 20, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- A right-wing wave swept Pakistan in the May 11 general elections. At the federal level, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) will form the government having won 35% of the vote.

Former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan's party, Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf, came second with 19% of the vote and surprised many. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the ruling party for the past five years, came third with only 15% ― thanks to Sindh where it was able to fetch most of its votes.

Almost 62% of total votes went to right-wing and religious parties, for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Although the religious parties were not united in a single platform, the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) still won 10 seats nationally. It also won 22% of the votes in Baluchistan and 1% in Khaiber Pukhtoon Khawa province, the two provinces bordering Afghanistan.

The right

¿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.

The revolutionary legacy of Bhagat Singh: the 'Che Guevara' of South Asia

September 28, 2012, marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of South Asian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. Revolutionaries across India and Pakistan marked this occasion with meetings and ceremonies. Below, Chaman Lal introduces readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to the life and work of Bhagat Singh. This article first appeared in the India-based Economic and Political Weekly to mark Singh's 100th birthday. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Chaman Lal's permission.

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By Chaman Lal

Bhagat Singh’s life (September 28, 1907–March 23, 1931), work and thought were marked by an uncompromising struggle against colonialism and imperialism, together with radical opposition to capitalism, communalism and the caste system. This article is a spirited account of his life, his revolutionary activity, his ideals, his opinions and his legacy.

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.

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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.

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.

Malalai Joya: Foreign troops must leave Afghanistan

Malalai Joya.

March 25, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Malalai Joya, a former MP and one of Afghanistan’s best-known democratic leaders, recently survived the sixth attempt on her life. Taliban gunmen attacked her office at 3 am on March 10, wounding two of her guards. In an exclusive interview, she told Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal’s Pip Hinman that “such terrorist acts will never stop my fight for freedom, democracy and justice”.

Joya will visit Australia in April to speak at the Marxism 2012 conference in Melbourne and a Stop the War Coalition public meeting in Sydney on April 11.

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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.

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.

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