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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.

Pakistan: Punjab provincial government deposed; PPP resorts to dictatorial measures

By Farooq Tariq

Lahore, February 27, 2009 -- The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership has a problem on its hands. There are not many ways to defend the governor of Punjab's ruling on February 25, which imposed a two-month suspension of the Punjab Assembly. The most respected and moderate leader of PPP and chairperson of the Senate, Mian Raza Rubani, justified the decision by saying that it was necessary to stop the ``prevailing state of anarchy''. He was talking to Kamran Khan on the private television channel Geo.

What was this ``prevailing state of anarchy''? A few hundred angry activists of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) protested in cities throughout Pakistan. They were opposing the Supreme Court decision earlier to bar Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his elder brother, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif,  from contesting elections and holding elected offices. The three-member Supreme Court bench upheld a decision of the Lahore High Court in this regard. These judges had taken the oath of the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) when General Musharaf announced the state of emergency on November 3, 2007. Ever since, the lawyers' movement has been demanding their removal.

Pakistan: Joint left demonstration against India-Pakistan war drive

By Javed Ahmad

December 20, 2008 -- While the danger of war between India and Pakistan is accelerates, a peace demonstration in Lahore on December 20 demanded no war between the two countries. More than 100 activists of the Labour Party Pakistan and the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) demanded an end of war fanaticism.

The demonstrators chanted the slogans: "We want peace", "Peace not war, bread not bombs, jobs not bombs", "No to imperialism and no the religious fundamentalism", "Long live the friendship of peoples of Pakistan and India", "Labour against war, people against war". They were holding banners and posters.

A government in pandemonium: The first nine month of Pakistan Peoples Party rule

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (left)

By Farooq Tariq

December 22, 2008 -- Instability, price hikes, growing unemployment and rising debts are the hallmarks of the first nine months of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government. There are daily demonstrations across Pakistan around one or another of these issues.

There is a real danger of a war between Pakistan and India after the Mumbai terrorist attack on November 26. The statement by Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari about the doubtful Pakistani identity of Ajmal Qasab, the only terrorist captured alive, did not go down very well within the Indian establishment. The joint war-room meeting of all the Indian government's important officials is a very serious matter.

Socialist Party of Malaysia: Building socialism while capitalism crumbles


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

By Choo Chon Kai, International Bureau, PSM

November 13, 2008 -- Kajang, Malaysia -- It was timely for the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia -- PSM) to host the ``Socialism 2008 –- Malaysia'' conference, when the world is caught in a deep crisis that is considered the worst since World War II. The conference showed that capitalism, during its 18-year term as the dominant ideology of the world, had wreaked havoc on the lives of people and the planet, and that there was an urgent need to put forward a socialist alternative.

Pakistanis protest US attacks on tribal areas

Civil society, trade unions, political parties and students marched on November 1 in Karachi to protest at the US bombing of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). US missile strikes hours apart killed at least 27 people on October 31 near the border with Afghanistan, only days after Pakistan demanded that the United States halt an intensifying campaign of using Predator drones to bomb tribal areas in Pakistan.

Target Pakistan: Washington's next war has already started

By Farooq Sulehria

September 17, 2008 -- Washington's next war is already on the go. It is as yet undeclared. However, it is not unapproved. ``Classified orders'', according to September 11 New York Times, were passed by President Bush last July. And surprise of surprises! The target is not ``axis of evil''-fame Iran. It is Washington's close ally in the ``war on terror'', Pakistan.

At the time of writing, news is pouring in from the Waziristan (tribal areas) region of Pakistan of yet another US attack that has left another five ``Taliban'' dead. Only a week ago, 20 ``Taliban'' were killed in another US attack. Between August 13 and September 12, at least 79 ``Taliban'' have been killed in nine US attacks on Pakistan's tribal areas. Since January 29 (the year's first attack claimed 12 lives), more than 150 people have been killed.

Pakistan: The dictator has gone but not his policies

By Farooq Tariq

Lahore, August 19, 2008 -- Thousands of people across Pakistan celebrated the humiliating departure of dictator Pervez Musharraf on August 18, 2008. As he announced his resignation -- in an unscheduled nationally televised speech of one hour -- private television channels showed the instant response of jubilation welcoming the decision in all four provinces. General (retired) Musharraf resigned as president of Pakistan as he was facing an impeachment move by the Pakistan Peoples Party-led four-party ruling alliance.

Pakistan: Musharraf has gone!

By Farooq Tariq

[See also http://links.org.au/node/580 for Farooq Tariq's latest article.]

Lahore, August 19, 2008 -- Musharraf has resigned! Congratulations to everyone on the humiliating departure of a dictator. But he must not be unaccountable. He must be arrested and tried. The top judges he removed should be restored immediately and let justice be done. The Pakistan Peoples Party-led ruling alliance must abandon the economic policies that have been promoted by Musharraf. The neoliberal agenda must not go ahead.

Musharraf survived after December 27, 2007, thanks to the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party. After Benazir Bhutto's murder on that day, Musharraf was at his weakest. The masses had taken over Pakistan for five days. It was a mass reaction of an unprecedented level. A demand for Musharraf's resignation by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders would have been sufficient to force him out of power. However, the PPP went for general elections instead, giving Musharraf relief.

Pakistan: Workers' power in Faisalabad

By Farooq Tariq

June 26, 2008 -- More than 10,000 workers picketed a power loom factory in Sadhar Faisalabad for more than eight hours on 24 June. They were demanding the arrest of the owner of the factory and his gangsters. The factory owner, Asif, a Muslim League Q member of Punjab Assembly (MPA), directed his gangsters to open fire on the 300 workers protesting outside the factory for higher wages. Seven workers were shot and severely injured. They were rushed to the Allied Hospital in Faisalabad. One was in a critical condition.

On hearing the news of the shootings, the workers of all the power loom and textile factories of the area walked out in protest and picketed (gherao) the factory. The workers were led by the local leaders of Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM), an organisation of textile workers, supported by the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) and several radical social movements.

The main leaders of LQM were busy elsewhere in Faisalabad, where workers has taken action for better wages. Almost half of the Faisalabad power loom workers had been on strike for the last two days on the instruction of the LQM.

Lawyers' `Long March' in Pakistan `a great event in the movement against dictatorship' (+ video)

By Farooq Tariq
Thousands of lawyers, political, trade unions and social movement activists have made their way to Islamabad. They are participating in the Long March called by the lawyers' movement. This is to push the Pakistan Peoples Party government to restore the top judges without any conditions.

June 11 report: The Long March started from Karachi on June 9 and arrived in Sukhar at early hours of June 10. Here they were joined by the participants from different groups from Baluchistan. They arrived at Multan on June 10 in the late hours, where the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Choudary had arrived to welcome the rally. They left for Lahore around 1pm.

Pakistan: Trade unions under attack -- `We have no option but to fight back!'

By Farooq Tariq

May 18, 2008 -- The announcement by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government lifting restrictions on trade union activities has brought a new wave of unionisation in many private industries. The bosses are not used to it. They have made tremendous profits under General Pervez Musharraf's eight years of dictatorship. Although he is still there as ``president'', there is some breathing space. Wherever workers have tried to form new unions, the bosses have tried their best to intimidate union activists with false legal cases, arrest, torture and kidnapping. The PPP government has yet to take any action against these bosses.

Along with several trade union leaders, I addressed a press conference today, May 18, at the Lahore Press Club to present eyewitness accounts to this torture.

Militants mark May Day in Timor Leste, Pakistan and Malaysia (video)

Timor Leste: Workers and students rally for May Day in Dili

By Mericio Akara

DILI, May 1, 2008 -- A May Day rally attended by some 700 workers organised by the Trade Union Confederation of Timor Leste demanded the implementation of labour laws, just wages that comply with the minimum wage regulations and lowering of prices. Demonstrators consisted of workers from several companies in Dili, students and civil society activists. The Luta Hamutuk Institute sent along its members to participate also.

Continued below pictures, click here to read more ...

 


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Nepal: Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) victory, a great step forward

By Farooq Tariq

April 13, 2008 -- The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) victory in the constituent assembly election held on April 10 is a great step forward for the forces of the left in the region and internationally. Not only the CPN (Maoist) but also the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) (UML) received more votes than the Nepal Congress. At the time of writing, the CPN (Maoist) has won 69 seats, UML 21, Nepal Congress 20 and the Peasant Workers Party 2 seats.

The Maoists are heading to become the single largest group in the 240 constituent assembly seats that are being decided on a first-past-the-post basis. Nearly 60 per cent of the 601 seats in the constitutional assembly will be decided by a complex proportional representative votes, whose final results will take a couple of weeks to be decided. The future of King Gyanedra and the Shah monarchy hangs by a thread straining under the weight of the Maoists' mandate.

London: Meeting with Farooq Tariq, May 7, 2008

Meeting with Farooq Tariq, spokesperson Labour Party of Pakistan Organised by Socialist Resistance.

Wednesday, May 7, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

University of London Union, Malet St, London

Pakistan's struggle for democracy: The lawyers' movement one year on (+ video)

By Farooq Tariq, Lahore

March 7, 2008 -- 2008 will be a year of decisive struggle in Pakistan. Over the past year an advocates' (lawyers') movement rose to confront the dictatorship of President Pervez Musharraf. Its aim is to create an atmosphere where the judiciary can work independently, without being under the influence of any regime, whether military or civil.

Only a year old, it has achieved impressive results.

The movement began on March 9, 2007, when the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Chaudhry, responded negatively to the request from five generals -- including Musharraf -- that he voluntarily resign. Offered several other lucrative posts, he responded with a firm ``No'', resulting his immediate arrest and termination from the Supreme Court.

Video: interview with Farooq Tariq

Pakistan: A golden opportunity to oust Musharraf

By Farooq Tariq

The masses have spoken once again. They do not like the military dictatorship. They want Musharraf out. They have acted in their own manner to express their hope to oust Musharraf. The massive anti-Musharraf vote across Pakistan on February 18 speaks for itself.

Anyone who seemed to be supporting the military dictatorship has been punished. The pro-Musharraf Muslim League Q (PMLQ) lost badly despite pre-poll rigging. The religious fundamentalist parties taking part in the elections were the worst hit. It was an electoral revolution against the military dictatorship, thanks to the advocates' [lawyers'] movement that has spearheaded the struggle against Musharraf in a different arena.

Pakistan: Social and economic crisis -- background and perspectives

Click for more on Pakistan.

By Farooq Tariq

February 11, 2008 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Pakistan is once again in the grip of military rule. Since 1999, the military generals have taken over the state and have ruled in the name of a ``smooth transition to democracy''. Thirty-three years of Pakistan's more than 60 years of existence have been under direct military rule. That reveals the real state of democracy, peace and security in Pakistan.

To understand the shortcomings of the democratic system in, and governance of, Pakistan, one must see where the weaknesses are in the political structure of the country. To begin with, government power is concentrated in the hands of an elitist bureaucracy and an over-ambitious military. The deeply rooted dominant feudal system in most of Pakistan and the weak capitalist class shares a common interest with the army, that is to loot and plunder national assets under the rule of suppression.

The religious grip on the society has played an important part in sustaining the military rulers and the politics of suppression in the name of ``fate'' and god-given circumstances. The religious political parties have taken refuge under military rule directly, but after 9/11, the rules are changing. The traditional partnership of mullah and military is no longer the same and is breaking down under the pretext of the ``war on terror''.

Pakistan collapsing, Musharraf must go

By Farooq Tariq

January 18, 2008 -- Pakistan is on the fast track to collapse under the Pervez Musharraf dictatorship. The state is in immense crisis. The infrastructure, industrial and social, is in total chaos. The economic crisis is showing its muscles. Inflation is uncontrollable and unemployment is ever increasing.

The vast majority of ordinary people of Pakistan believe that Musharraf will never leave power alive: ``If he is not killed, he will kill us all one by one.'' He has become the most unpopular president of Pakistan. Musharraf is widely seen as a person who has orchestrated the murder of Benazir Bhutto. ``Qaatal Qaatal Musharraf Qaatal''(``Murderer the murderer, Musharraf the murderer'') was the main slogan of the mass reaction to Bhutto's assassination.

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