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Pakistan

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.

Paquistão: o que fazer em relação ao Fundamentalismo Religioso?

Farooq Tariq.

por Farooq Tariq, porta voz do Labour Party Pakistan, tradução: Mariana Riscali

“Vamos negociar com a ISI [Agencia de Inteligência Paquistanesa] e os Militares paquistaneses e vamos recrutar estes mujahideen. Aqui há um debate muito forte que é… não foi um mau negócio acabar com a União Soviética, mas sejamos cuidadosos com o que nós semeamos, porque iremos colher depois.” -- Hillary Clinton (23 de Abril de 2009)

Mais uma vez o Paquistão tornou-se foco de atenção mundial. Todos os dias há notícias sobre o último ataque suicida ou sobre operações militares, com mortos, feridos e comunidades desalojadas. Recentemente escolas foram ordenadas a fecharem suas portas por mais de uma semana. Até mesmo crianças falam sobre mortes e ataques suicidas.

Pakistan: What to do about religious fundamentalism?

By Farooq Tariq

Let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen. Here is a very strong argument which is… it wasn’t a bad investment to end the Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow… because we will harvest.” – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, April 23, 2009.

October 28, 2009 -- Once again Pakistan has become the focus of world attention. Every day there is news of the latest suicide attack or military operation, with killings, injuries and the displacing of communities. Recently schools were ordered closed for more than a week. Even children talk about death and suicide attacks.

With more than 125 police checkpoints in Islamabad, it has become a fortress city. Lahore and other large cities are suffering the same fate: there are police road blockades everywhere. After each terrorist attack authorities issue another security high alert and set up additional barriers. How ironic that, until recently, officials and the media described these “terrorists” as Mujahideen fighting for an Islamic world.

Pakistan: Workers' leader killed in suicide attack

By Farooq Tariq

October 21, 2009 -- A prominent labour leader Master Khudad Khan was killed in suicide attack in Peshawar on October 15. He was on his way to a meeting and was passing by an intelligence centre when a religious fanatic blew himself up killing him and several others on the spot.

The unfortunate side of this episode is that the body of Master Khudad has not handed over to his relatives. A picture of the dead bodies printed in a local paper confirmed to the relatives on October 18 that Master Khudad was among the victims.He had been missing from home since October 15 and they had no clue of his whereabouts.

Master Khudad was the deputy general secretary of Pakistan Workers Confederation and a founding member of Bonded Labour Liberation Front. The Pakistan Workers Confederation is the main body of trade unions in Pakistan.

Master Khudad was elected provincial information secretary of Labour Party Pakistan at its founding congress held on November 21, 2004, in the North West Frontier Province. He remained a committed member of LPP until his death.

Pakistan: Farooq Tariq's new book `Facing the Musharraf Dictatorship' (free download)

Farooq Tariq (centre) with members of the DSP.

Below is spokesperson for the Labour Party Pakistan Farooq Tariq's introduction to his new book, Facing the Musharraf Dictatorship: An Activist's Narrative. Following that is the preface by Peter Boyle, national secretary of the Democratic Socialist Perspective of Australia. Facing the Musharraf Dictatorship is available from Good Books Lahore. Email goodbooks_1 [at] yahoo.com to order a hard copy. You can also download the entire 300-page PDF file at the end of the two articles below.

* * *

Introduction

By Farooq Tariq

It was October 12, 1999. As usual, I was at the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) secretariat in Lahore. Around 6pm, Farooq Sulehria called me to break the news that Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif had removed the army chief General Pervez Musharraf who was flying back to Pakistan from a visit to Sri Lanka. Sulehria asked me to issue a press statement to explain the LPP's point of view. "Wait and see the response of the army", I told him.

Pakistan: Why was Tariq Mehmood was arrested? Demand his release!

By Farooq Tariq

On August 9, 2009, Tariq Mehmood, a human rights activists and general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) in the Toba Tek Singh district issued a press release to the journalists in Toba Tek Singh. He alleged that eight Christian women were raped by Muslim fanatics in an attack on Korian village in Gojra Tehsil on July 28 attack. He also alleged that 40 women are still missing and no clue is yet found about their whereabouts. He condemned this atrocious and horrific act and demanded the government to probe the case. More than 60 houses were burnt by fanatics in the village on the accusation of blasphemy. This act led to another attack on Gojra Christian community and nine people were burnt alive.

Pakistan: Appeal -- Help oppose the Taliban and government military operations

May 21, 2009 -- This is a formal appeal by the Labor Relief Campaign to help in the fight against the Taliban and the Pakistan government's military operations. The purpose is to provide immediate help to some of the more than 1.5 million internally displaced people from the Malakand Division of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan. This displacement has resulted from the fight between the Taliban and the Pakistani government. We also aim to publish Mazdoor Jeddojuhd in the Pushto language more frequently. At present it is published weekly in Urdu and monthly in Pushto. We want to counter the ideas both of religious fanatics and state repression. We aim to aid the labour and social movements in the province by publishing their activities and views, bringing them together to form new networks.

The situation

The Taliban have taken over parts of Pakistan. They have threatened to occupy other parts as well. To pacify them, the government went into an accord with the Taliban this April 2009, imposing a so-called Nizam Adl (system of justice) in Malakanad. The Taliban then imposed medieval laws in the areas under their control, targeting women and minorities. This accord also provided the Taliban with the opportunity to move into other areas.

Why Pakistan's military helped Talibanise Swat

Refugees flee the military operations in Swat Valley, Pakistan.
* * *

By Farooq Sulehria

May 17, 2009 -- The mass exodus from Swat is making headlines globally. Over a million have been displaced. This is the worst humanitarian crisis since the Rwanda tragedy in 1990s. The explanation offered is that this is necessary to flush the Taliban out of Swat's lush, green valley in Pakistan's north. This military operation, launched in order to stabilise the US occupation of Afghanistan and its so-called "war on terror", is hardly mentioned in the corporate media. On the contrary, major US newspapers have been invoking the fear that Pakistan's nuclear weapons might fall into the hands of the Taliban. Is this a story planted by the CIA?

This is the fourth time in less than three years that the Swat area has been subjected to a military operation. However the latest offensive is of a different character.

Iqbal Bano: The subcontinent's voice of defiance against tyranny

By the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

April 22, 2009 -- Iqbal Bano, the subcontinent’s beloved ghazal singer, born in India and trained in the Dilli Gharana by the legendary Ustad Chand Khan, passed away on April 21, 2009, in Lahore at the age of 74.

Beards, Cuban and Pakistani

By Farooq Sulehria

March 30, 2009 -- Fidel Castro finds beards a practical advantage: “You don't have to shave every day. If you multiply the fifteen minutes you spend shaving every day by the number of days in a year, you'll see that you devote almost 5500 minutes to shaving. An eight-hour workday consists of 480 minutes, so if you don't shave you gain about ten days a year that you can devote to work, to reading, to sports or to whatever you like.”

But having a beard is more than saving time. Cuban revolutionaries let their beards grow out also as a symbol of the Cuban Revolution. Castro describes how it happened: “We didn't have any razor blades, or straight razors. When we found ourselves in the middle of the wilderness, up in the Sierra, everybody just let their beards and hair grow, and that turned into a kind of badge of identity. For the campesinos and everybody else, for the press, for the reporters we were ‘los barbudos’ – ‘the bearded ones.’ The positive side was that in order for a spy to infiltrate us, he had to start preparing months ahead -- he'd have to have a six-month's beard growth, you see. So the beards served as a badge of identification, and as protection, until it finally became a symbol of the guerilla fighter. Later, with the triumph of the Revolution, we kept our beards to preserve the symbolism.”

LPP: 'A new Pakistan is emerging'

Statement issued by Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) at a press conference in Lahore addressed by LPP spokesperson Farooq Tariq, in the company of Ammar Ali Jan, LPP Lahore youth secretary, secretary LPP Punjab Imtiaz Choudry, Lahore LPP committee member Rana Ashraf, secretary Carpet Workers' Union Niaz Khan and Kashif Aslam of the Progressive Youth Front. Thanks to Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific for this article. Ammar Ali Jan will be one of several international guests at the the World at a Crossroads conference in Sydney, Australia, April 10-12. For more information, or to book tickets, visit http://www.worldatacrossroads.org.

* * *

Pakistan: Eyewitness report -- `the power of the state was helpless in front of the power of the street'

[Ammar Ali Jan, youth secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan in Lahore (LPP), will be one of several international guests at the the World at a Crossroads conference in Sydney, Australia, April 10-12. For more information, or to book tickets, visit http://www.worldatacrossroads.org.]

By Ammar Ali Jan

Lahore, March 16, 2009 -- Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific -- We all are ecstatic about what happened in Lahore on the March 15, 2009. This day will be remembered as one where the power of the state seemed helpless in front of the power of the street. The most crucial moment during the day was the battle at the GPO that galvanised the entire city into action. The scene of almost 150 people battling a repressive police and forcing it to retreat will remain in the collective memory of our nation for a very long time to come.

First-hand report from Pakistan on the political showdown

By Ammar Jan Ali in Lahore

[Ammar Ali Jan is youth secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan in Lahore. He will be one of several international guests featured at the the World at a Crossroads conference in Sydney, Australia, April 10-12, 2009. For more information, or to book tickets, visit http://www.worldatacrossroads.org.]

March 15, 2009 -- Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific -- I have been active in the lawyers' movement since it started in March 2007 against the illegal sacking of the Chief Justice. I have been participating in the movement from Lahore. I am a member of the Progressive Youth Front (PYF) as well as Student Action Committee (SAC). Through these platforms, we have been convincing young people to take part in this epic journey that can change the destination of Pakistan. Many have registered with us and we will be bringing many youngsters to the Long March on Monday, March 16.

Pakistan: Victory for Pakistan's Long March!

Farooq Tariq

[Farooq Tariq is a leader of the Labour Party Pakistan. A representative of the LPP will be attending the World at a Crossroads conference in Sydney, Australia, April 10-12. For more information, or to book tickets, visit http://www.worldatacrossroads.org. Below are a collection of some of Farooq's regular reports on the situation in Pakistan over the past week. Thanks to Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific for making the reports available (more are available there) to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.]

By Peter Boyle and Farooq Tariq

March 16, 2009 -- Mass resistance to the Peoples Party of Pakistan (PPP) government's attempt to suppress a massive people's movement for the restoration of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry appears to have triumphed after a massive showdown in the streets of Lahore yesterday.

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