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.
It is true that a majority of the Pakistani population is young, and many of these youth are fed up with the existing political options at their disposal. We believe that a left political party can be the face of this young and struggling population, not on the basis of hollow slogans, but in the form of a workable anti-imperialist, secular, anti-feudal and democratic socialist program.
We want to harness the countervailing power of the people of Pakistan to take on and displace all status quo forces.
Baluchistan is burning, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa continues to be caught in the throes of a war between two fundamentalisms (imperialist and religious) and our biggest city Karachi is engulfed in a mini-civil war ... the list could go on.
None of our existing political parties acknowledges or tries to address these divisions. We believe that only a mass left party can bring Pakistan’s divided nations together by bringing to the fore the shared interests of working people of all of these nations, and by accepting the rights of nations of self-determination including the right of secession. We will struggle to affirm Pakistan’s multinational character, and will try and revive the historic alliances of the left and progressive ethno-nationalists. This is the most urgent task facing all progressives and we believe our new party will be at the forefront of this struggle.
While the merger process to date has included only our three parties, we are circulating this message to clarify that we want all those who share our goals to join us. We believe that the building of a democratic socialist Pakistan is possible only if the means we employ are inclusive from the outset. We invite you all to be part of his historic effort.
It is been agreed that a federal conference consisting of delegates from all three parties will take place on November 4, 2012, in Lahore. An interim body will be elected for the next six months. A congress of the new party will take place in the middle of next year to elect all the bodies and to set the political and organisational priorities.
We would also be happy to invite those who are not part of the party to take part in the first federal conference as observers and decide for themselves if they want to be part of the new party.