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Pakistan

Pakistan: Doob Gaya Hai -- a song for flood victims, by Laal (Red)

[Readers can donate to help flood victims via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

By Taimur Rahman

September 5, 2010 -- I am the main performer in this song. Laal (Red) is a communist band. My name is Taimur Rahman and I am also the general secretary of the Communist Mazdoor Kisan Party (Communist Workers and Peasants Party). This song is not produced for a particular organisation but just to raise awareness about the issue.

Mike Marqusee: Behind cricket's latest scandal -- Pakistan cricket and its discontents

By Mike Marqusee

September 3, 2010 -- MikeMarqusee.com -- On top of floods, war, bombs, a corrupt and incompetent government with a much feared military in the wings, the long-suffering people of Pakistan have now been betrayed, once again, by their cricketers. Most will not be shocked or will profess not to be shocked: over the last 15 years there has been a steady erosion of faith in Pakistan cricket, which has come to be held in the same low esteem as many of the country’s other institutions. It’s one of the reasons cited, along with exorbitant ticket prices, for the low turn-out from the Pakistani diaspora at this summer’s test matches in England.

But while people in and from Pakistan may not be shocked they are bitterly aggrieved. And rightly so. The antics of the three players accused of spot-fixing in the Lord’s test have destroyed the little portion of relief cricket affords for millions coping with trying conditions.

Pakistan: As floods move south, calls for debt cancellation grow

[Readers can donate to help flood victims through the Labour Relief Campaign via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

September 2, 2010 -- Democracy Now! -- In Pakistan, torrential rains a month ago that triggered unprecedented floods have moved steadily from north to south, engulfing a fifth of the country. Seventeen million people have been affected, and some five million have lost their homes. Meanwhile, a movement to cancel Pakistan’s external debt is now underway as campaigners plan a protest in front of Pakistan’s parliament house today to call on international institutions like the IMF to cancel the country’s debt.

Guests:

Pakistan: Multi-party conference demands debt cancellation, launches mass movement to refuse debt

 
[Readers can donate to help flood victims through the Labour Relief Campaign via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

By Farooq Tariq

August 29, 2010 -- A multi-party conference in Lahore has decided to campaign for cancellation of Pakistan's crippling foreign debt and to organise mass rallies in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. The first rally will be on September 2 in Islamabad.

The Labour Relief Campaign in association with Oxfam Pakistan called the conference on August 29, in Lahore, to discuss the issue of debt repayment in the post-flood scenario. It was chaired by Aman Kariaper and Ammar Ali Jan. Senator Hasil Bezinjo vowed to take the issue to Pakistan's Senate and present a resolution to demand that government refuse to pay the foreign debt.

Pakistan: The flood disaster and the way out


By the Labour Party Pakistan (Karachi) and the National Trade Union Federation

August 20, 2010 -- The recent floods represent the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history. The country has been devastated from the northern areas to its southern tip. The state, stripped of its capacity to meet peoples’ needs by neoliberalism and militarism alike, has been found wanting—both in its longstanding failure to maintain existing infrastructure, and in its response to the calamity.

The grassroots relief efforts that have emerged across the country are heartening, but a crisis of this magnitude can only be handled by an institution with the resources and reach of the federal government. As in all disasters, the assistance of the military will be necessary—but this must be subject to civilian oversight, and must not be exploited to glorify the army at the expense of the government. The military’s relative strength is a direct legacy of pro-amy federal budgets, and we remember too well the failures of the Musharraf government in 2005.

Pakistan flood catastrophe: West gives `billions for killing, little for life'


[Readers can donate to help flood victims via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

By John Passant

August 15, 2010 -- The floods in Pakistan have threatened the lives and safety of more than 20 million people. Millions have lost everything. Now hunger and disease haunt the country. Dysentery and cholera are gaining a  foothold as people without homes starve and kids without Western help die.

The US gives the Pakistan government US$1 billion a year to fight "militants". It has increased its flood aid contribution from $10 million to $25 million. That’s right. Its aid figures is millions, not billions.

That’s because for US imperialism cowering the world before its might is much more important than providing aid to people affected by the floods.

Pakistan: Use foreign debt repayments for flood-hit communities


[Readers can donate via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

By the Labour Relief Campaign

August 13, 2010 -- Pakistan must refuse to pay foreign debt and divert the amount to the relief and rehabilitation of flood-hit communities. Instead of begging for much-needed aid for relief and rehabilitation, Pakistan must stand up and announce the unilateral suspension of repayment of foreign debts, owed to international finance institutions (IFIs) and donor countries. Currently Pakistan is paying about US$3 billion on debt servicing every year. Pakistan's present foreign debt of $54 billion is increasing. This act alone can bring most of the much-need support for the immediate relief of the flood victims.

Pakistan: Farooq Tariq on religious fundamentalism

August 11, 2010 -- NewsClick (India) via Real News Network -- Farooq Tariq from the Labour Party Pakistan talks about the changing relationship between the Islamic fundamentalists and the state of Pakistan.

Pakistan: Labour Relief Campaign launches appeal for millions affected by floods

Appeal from the Labour Relief Campaign, Pakistan

[Readers can also donate via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

August 7, 2010 -- More than 12 million people are suffering from floods in Pakistan. Please donate to the Labour Relief Campaign to help people of Pakistan facing the worst-ever floods in its history. Torrential rains have unleashed flash floods in different parts of the country in the last three weeks. Levies have broken, leaving the people exposed to flood water.

More than 650,000 houses have collapsed, mainly in villages. Thousands of hectares of crops have been destroyed due to flood water. Livestock, household goods, clothes, shoes and other items have been destroyed. Residents of villages are without drinkable water, food, shelter and in need of clothes.

Pakistan: Losing lives to form trade unions

By Farooq Tariq

July 16, 2010 -- On July 6, while Mustansar Rindhawa was listening to a worker who had not been paid his wages by a textile boss, an unknown person with a Kalashnikov rifle entered the front room and fired. Mustansar tried to save his life by running to the next room.

I met Mustansar Rindhawa (32) briefly on June 19, 2010, in Faisalabad, less than a month before his murder. He was one of 30 participants in a trade union leadership training course at the Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) office. The LQM is a community-based labour organisation established in 2004. It has become the main labour organisation in Faisalabad, and is now spreading to other cities.

I had been invited by the Labour Education Foundation, the organisation conducting the program, to speak on "globalisation and its impact on the working class in Pakistan". Mustansar Rindhawa and Hamid Shah were introduced to me as two newcomers to the movement. Both have been active in the small-scale industrial zone of Faisalabad.

Pakistan: Thousands of Punjab peasants rally to mark 10 years of struggle

By Maqsood Mujahid

June 30, 2010 -- Three months' notice has been given to Punjab government to decide the fate of the 68,000 acres of agriculture land owned by Punjab government and cultivated by tenants for more than 100 years. The tenants have been demanding land ownership rights. Despite promises to do so by former prime ministers Benazhir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif, the land in question has not been allotted to the tenants.

Tariq Ali: Afghanistan -- `Obama’s war'

By Tariq Ali

[The following talk was given on April 19, 2010, to mark the 30th anniversary of the London Review of Books. It first appeared at Guernica /a magazine of art and politics. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Guernica's permission.]

Afghanistan now is at a critical stage. And now I’m very glad to say that the London Review of Books, whose thirtieth anniversary we are commemorating, has over the years published myself and others on this subject, taking essentially a critical stance to this war because, as many of you will recall, it became fashionable all over the world, not just in the United States, to think of Iraq and Afghanistan as two very different wars. Which of course, on one level, they are. But I mean different moral values were placed on these wars by good-thinking people. The Iraq war was a bad war, which should never have happened; that is the view of large numbers of people in the United States today, and always was the view of an overwhelming majority of Europeans.

Pakistan: A credible alternative to the parties of the rich

Mian Abdul Qayum.

By Farooq Tariq

On April 10, 2010, Mian Abdul Qayum, a labour leader in Faisalabad, submitted his nomination papers as candidate for the Punjab Assembly constituency 63 by-election on May 15. The other candidates are from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and the National Muslim League. We need your support to contest this by-election.

Afghanistan: Exiled members of the former People's Democratic Party return to refound party

By John Bachtell

March 17, 2010 -- People's World -- In a potentially important development, exiled members of the former People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan are returning to the country to re-found the organisation. They plan to hold a congress in Kabul later this year and rename the organisation the Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

The PDPA was the ruling party that led the country on a path of socialism before being ousted from power in 1992 by the US government-backed Taliban. Thousands of PDPA members were slaughtered or driven into exile where they have functioned over the years as scattered groups.

Exiled members met recently in Germany to unite their ranks and agree on an approach to reestablishing a legal political party on Afghanistan soil.

"The main goal is to return to Afghanistan and bring a situation of peace and stability in the region", said Dr. Zalmay Gulzad, professor of social sciences at Harold Washington Community College in Chicago. Gulzad was born in Afghanistan and came to the US as a student in 1971 and stayed. "Once peace is achieved the movement will evolve into different stages."

Pakistan: Women workers march on International Women's Day

By Bushra Khaliq, general secretary, Women Workers Help Line

Lahore -- March 8, 2010 -- More than 1500 women marched on the Mall, from Nasir Bagh to the Punjab Assembly, under the banner of Women Workers Help Line (WWHL) to celebrate the International Women's Day on March 8, 2010. Despite prevailing fear among Lahorites after an early morning suicidal attack in Model Town, women workers, including home-based workers, domestic workers, brick kiln and embellishment workers, made their way to observe the IWD. To show solidarity with victims of the morning blast, WWHL cancelled its  musical program and decided to celebrate the day in a simple manner.

Participants reached Nasir Bagh in small groups from different areas of Lahore. The rally started around 1 o'clock from Nasir Bagh and ended in front of Punjab Assembly at 3 o'clock. Led by WWHL leaders Bushra Khaliq, Azra Shad, Riffat Maqsood and others, the participants were chanting full-throated slogans against repressive anti-women and anti-worker laws. They held placards and banners inscribed with demands in favour of women workers. Among the participants there were a large number of young girls, who were singing revolutionary songs.

Women dying from the Asian `miracle': System change a must to save women’s lives

By Reihana Mohideen

March 8, 2010 -- Despite the fanfare about Asia’s "miracle" economies, the problem of "missing women and girls" is actually growing, according to the United Nations Development Program-sponsored 2010 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report.

These "missing" girls and women are a result of the abortion of girl fetuses and women dying through sheer neglect – underfed and starved and not receiving adequate health care. The birth gender disparity is the highest in East Asia, home of the Asian "miracle" economies, where 119 boys are born for every 100 girls. China and India, much touted for their economic success, account for 85 million of these 100 million "missing" women. 

LPP fifth congress: Bravura expression of growing left influence in Pakistan

By Farooq Tariq

February 8, 2010 -- The two-day Labour Party Pakistan fifth congress [held on on January 27-28] helped to advance the revolutionary process in Pakistan. It brought together comrades from different traditions and trends to discuss the central topic: “Building a mass working-class party independent of the influence of the capitalists and feudal elements.” The congress was a bravura expression of the growing influence and strength of emerging left-wing politics in Pakistan.

More than 140 delegates and observers representing 7263 members of the LPP discussed the political and organisational aspects of the party. For the first time in the LPP’s 13-year history, delegates representing Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Sareiki Waseeb, Pukhtoonkhawa and Kashmir attended. There were leaders of trade unions, of social movements, of peasants and from the labour movement -- all eager to learn from each other and discuss their future course of action.

Pakistan: An historic gathering of workers and peasants

The Labour Party Pakistan's Farooq Tariq addresses the Faisalabad worker-peasant rally.

By Farooq Tariq

February 1, 2010 -- An historic gathering took place at Faisalabad, the third largest city in Pakistan, on January 29, 2010. The event was jointly organised by the Labour Qaumi (National) Movement (LQM) and the Anjuman Mozareen Punjab (AMP -- Punjab Tenants' Association), two movements of workers and peasants that, by their defiant activities in several Punjabi districts, have caught the imagination of thousands. For the first time, these two important movements of workers and peasants in Punjab shared a common platform.

The famous Dhobi Ghat parade ground was a sea of red flags that caught the attention of the incoming crowd. Several bookstalls by left-wing organisations and publishers reminded me of the 1960s. Many hundreds visited the stalls.

The high point of the conference was the arrival of peasants from areas including Lahore, Okara, Depalpur, Renala Khurd and Kulyana Military Estate. After travelling from different areas of the country, more than 3000 peasants joined one procession. They wore their traditional dress and carried Dhool Damaka (drums).

Building the Labour Party Pakistan

By Farooq Tariq

January 21, 2010 -- The political perspectives of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) have been put to the test several times in a rapidly changing political situation. From day one we opposed General Musharraf's military dictatorship. We oppose both US imperialism and religious fanaticism, while some feel they must support one side or the other.

Almost all of the present LPP leadership, including women leaders, were jailed under the Musharraf regime for demanding democratic rights or taking part in the struggle for workers’ and peasants’ rights. The LLP has worked to maintain its political space and refused to be driven underground.

Unlike the traditional left parties, who set up organisations controlled by the party, since its inception the LPP has put special emphasis on helping to develop independent social, labour and peasant organisations and other social movements. For example, there is no trade union wing of LPP. Instead we support the development of the National Trade Union Federation, formed in 1998, and also aided the Pakistan Workers Confederation from its beginning in 1994.

Pakistan: Special appeal for families of killed socialist activists

By Farooq Tariq, Nasir Mansoor and Khalid Mahmood

December 27, 2009 -- The Labour Party Pakistan has lost our four most brilliant comrades, Abdul Salam, Najma Khanum, Rehana Kausar and Wahid Baloch, in a road accident on December 13 near Ormara, Baloachistan. They were in the coastal region, one of the most deprived areas of the country, to organise the home-based women workers (HBWW). They held two focus group meetings and a wider consultation on December 11, 12 and 13 in the port cities of Pasni and Gawadar. They also formed core groups and clusters of local HBWW and planned to organise more meeting in the region in month of January next year.

Comrades Abdul Salam, Najma Khanum, Rehana Kausar and Wahid Baloch were dedicated members of the team who lost their lives for the cause of downtrodden masses and were on mission until their last breath. Another member of team, Mohammed Rafiq Baloch, central president National Trade Union Federation, Pakistan (NTUF) survived but was severely injured in the fatal accident.

Comrade Abdul Salam, Najma Khanum and Rehana Kausar were staff members of the Labour Education Foundation (LEF). While Wahid Baloch was trade union activist in industrial city of Hub and by profession he was a driver.

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