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.
overnight to arrive at the Faisalabad Centre for Peace and Harmony, a social
organisation, for a residential congress followed by a mass rally of workers
and peasants held at famous Dhobi Ghat grounds. (On the way to the congress one
comrade from Baluchistan was seriously injured in a train accident and had to
be hospitalised at Multan. As a result of the unfortunate accident he lost
three of his toes.)
The three-panel chair
presided over the congress proceedings with a three-member standing order
committee to help organise the congress.
The congress opened
with a two-minute silence in memory of seven comrades who, since the fourth LPP
congress, are no more with us: Abdullah Qureshi (killed in a suicidal attack in
Swat on December 9, 2007), Jilal Shah (died 2008), Master Khudad (killed in a
Peshawar suicidal attack October 2009), Rehana Kausar, Najma Khanum and Abdul
Salam Salam (died in a road accident December 2009).
sent donations to enable the holding of the congress and the one-day conference.
These included Europe Solidaire Sans Frontieres (ESSF), comrades related to
Workers International Network, Socialist Alliance Australia, Organization of
Communist International Greece, Solidarity USA and Pakistani comrades in
Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as several individual donations.
More than 100,000 rupees were raised in the finance appeal from delegates
attending the congress.
At the congress
Comrade Farooq Ahmad read some of the solidarity messages received from organisations
across the globe, including the Fourth International Japan Revolutionary
Communist League (JRCL), Central Committee of the Communist Party of
Cuba, New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) France, International Socialist
Organization USA, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Independent
Lawyers Association International UK, Revolutionary Socialist Party
(Australia), Consumers Action Committee Pakistan (CACP), the South Asian Peoples
Solidarity group Toronto, Canada, Action Aid International, Workers
International Network (WIN), South Asia Alliance For Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) and Organization of Communist International
Here are some parts of
the messages received:
- “We think in
particular of your involvement in the Lawyers’ Movement for the overthrow of
the Musharaf dictatorship, your intransigent defense of democratic rights and
minorities threatened by religious fundamentalism, your constant combativity in
offering a progressive and solidarity alternative to the joint threats of
talibanism and militarism, the help which you bring to strengthening the
struggles of women, workers and peasants, your active participation in the
social forums and internationalism that you express in a part of the world that
is in a permanent state of war, dominated by the Pakistan-India nuclear
face-to-face and NATO-US intervention in Afghanistan.” -- Fourth
- “We hail the holding of your
Congress, which is convened in the midst of a complex political situation and a
global economic crisis that imposes new challenges on the political forces that
are struggling for a better possible world for all. We wish you success in your
work.” -- Department of International Relations, Communist Party of Cuba
- “The New Anti-Capitalist
Party (NPA) of France brings you its warmest greetings for your 5th congress.
We wish in particular to salute the efforts that you have made to build a
strong progressive and popular political force, independent of established
power systems, capable of offering a socialist perspective and solidarity
alternative to talibanism and religious fundamentalisms, to militarism and to
the bourgeois clientelist parties.” -- New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), France
- “It is imperative
for the Left in both India and Pakistan to resist this imperialist design and
work consistently for bilateral peace, cooperation and friendship. The CPI (ML)
and LPP have a history of shared initiatives and mutual exchanges towards this
common goal and we are sure in the coming days we will be able to further
strengthen our comradely ties and defeat the designs of our pro-imperialist
rulers. Wishing you every success with your Congress and the rally, with warm
comradely greetings” -- Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, Communist
Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
The 120-page draft LPP
documents on national and international perspectives were presented.
perspectives discussion was opened by Comrade Farooq Tariq, who explained the
basis of international capitalist crisis, the ecological disaster and the
imperialist occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Adding to this crisis is the
decline of reformism and growing Islamic fundamentalism. Is there a way out?
Where are the forces that can save the planet and challenge the new face of
counterrevolution? Where in Africa, Latin American and Asia do we see a challenge
to imperialist globalisation? He outlined the class struggle ahead,
highlighting the role of women and building international ties as part of constructing
a coming revolution. A discussion by more than 12 comrades enriched the topic,
covering aspects insufficiently mentioned in the draft document.
Comrade Pierre Rousset
of the NPA (France) and Comrade Simon Butler of the Socialist Alliance
(Australia) spoke about the crisis of capitalism and climate change. Comrade
Arif Afghani of Afghan Labour Revolutionary Organization (ALRO) outlined the
worsening social and economical conditions of the Afghan masses. A discussion
by more than 12 comrades enriched the topic, covering aspects insufficiently
mentioned in the draft document.
discussion was introduced by Comrade Farooq Ahmed. His main emphasis compared
the policies of the present civilian government of Pakistan with those of the General
Musharaf military regime. These are remarkably similar. In addition, the rise
of religious fundamentalism is direct threat to the organisations of the
working class. Washington’s imperialist aggression and daily drone attacks are
fueling the popular appeal of the religious fanatics. He argued that, in order
to cover up its anti-people policies, the present civilian government is making
a lot of noise about a possible military takeover. While there is little
probability of a takeover in the near future, implementing policies to raise
the standard of living of the masses remain the government’s best defence.
More than 30 comrades
spoke on different aspects of Pakistan’s political and economical situation,
once again deepening the analysis. These ranged from discussion on the national
question, the rise of religious fundamentalism, imperialist economic policies and
the declining living standard of the masses.
perspectives were laid out by Comrade Nisar Shah. Describing the achievements
of the Labour Party Pakistan since the last congress, at the end of 2007, he
cited its magnificent growth. For the first time, the LPP has a presence
throughout Pakistan, including Baluchistan, Gilgit Baltistan and tribal
areas. The most important growth area
has been in Pukhtoon Khawa, where the LPP has more than 2000 members. He
stressed the need for more study circles and schools for the integration of
this new membership.
A second, and
interrelated, point is that the LPP is working to develop the social and labour
movements in Pakistan. It has promoted regional and international solidarity
and actively participates in anti-imperialist globalisation initiatives.
Before the opening of
general discussion on organisational issues, LPP secretaries from Sindh,
Baluchistan, Pukhtoon Khawa, Punjab and Sareiki Waseeb gave provincial reports
to fill in the overall report with specifics.
amendment to change the name of the national committee to the federal committee
was accepted unanimously. Another amendment to hold two annual meetings of the
federal committee instead of three was defeated.
The election of 31
members of the federal committee was held through secret ballot organised by a
three-member election commission. Thirty-seven comrades contested. The newly
elected members of the federal committee include Nasir Mansoor, Mukhtiar Rahu,
Farooq Ahmad, Beena Fida, Azra Shad, Rehana Shakil, Maqsood Mujahid, Bukhshal
Thallo, Aziz Baluch, Farooq Tariq, Bushra Khaliq, Zara Akbar, Nisar Lighari,
Younas Rahu, Latif Lighari, Moeen Nawaz Punno, Nazli Javed, Mehr Abdul Sattar,
Mian Abdul Qayum, Choudry Imtiaz Ahmad, Riffat Maqsood, Baba Jan, Ihsan Ali,
Suhail Javed, Salim Noshad, Khalid Mehmood, Kafait Ullah, Abdul Jalal, Irfana
Jabbar, Nisar Shah and Talat Rubab. This includes nine women.
The federal committee
held its first meeting and elected the federal executive committee, the members
of which are the main LPP officials. Comrade Nisar Shah was elected general
secretary and comrade Farooq Tariq as spokesperson. Bukhshal Thallo was elected
secretary of education and culture, Nisar Lighari secretary of youth, Nasir
Mansoor secretary of labour and Mehr Abdul Sattar as Kissan [peasant]
secretary. The decision to elect the secretary of women was postponed until the
Most of the congress
delegates then participated in the international workers’ and peasants’
conference on January 29 at Dhobi Ghat ground Faisalabad.