Pakistan

A fighter for freedom

A review of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb (Little, Brown and Company, 2013).

When it was revealed on 11 October that Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl that captured the world’s imagination after being shot by a Taliban rifleman, was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it came as a relief.

Malala no doubt deserved it more than any other person in the world, but to tarnish her name by giving her the same prize given to such renowned peacemakers as Henry Kissinger and Menachem Begin would have been a disservice to everything she had stood for.

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Capitalism: a murderous system

At least 314 garment workers burned or suffocated to death in two factory fires in Pakistan on 12 September.

Twenty-five people died in a shoe factory in the city of Lahore, when chemicals caught alight; 289 died in a garment factory in Karachi.

In the Karachi fire, workers were trapped inside the burning building because exits had been locked and they could not open security grilles at the windows.

At least 314 garment workers burned or suffocated to death in two factory fires in Pakistan on 12 September.

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Pakistan: abolish the blasphemy law!

A young Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, has been arrested and her family placed under protective custody after a Muslim mob in a poor part of Islamabad threatened to set her alight for allegedly burning pages of the Koran.

A young Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, has been arrested and her family placed under protective custody after a Muslim mob in a poor part of Islamabad threatened to set her alight for allegedly burning pages of the Koran.

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International news in brief

Islamist parties have taken to the streets to oppose the ratification of a law which would penalise domestic violence in Pakistan.

Women’s rights campaigners confronted the bigots outside parliament last week.

The Islamists’ arguments against the legislation include: preventing domestic violence is “Western”; and that the Bill is a copy of Indian legislation.

A spokesperson for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl said, “We will not let these senseless women, who depend on American dollars, to work against the Constitution and Islamic Shariah,”

Women's rights in Pakistan; Islamists ban unemployed demonstration in Tunisia; Congolese asylum seeker locked up.

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A long way to go on gay rights

According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) seven majority Muslim countries still maintain the death penalty for homosexual activity.

Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen still impose the death penalty for homosexual activity. In the northern Nigeria states which use Sharia law, homosexuality is also punishable by death.

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No to political Islam! Solidarity with Pakistani secularists, socialists, workers and women

On Monday 5 January Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab (Pakistan's largest province) and a former Pakistani People's Party MP was shot 27 times by his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri in Islamabad. Taseer was killed by Qadri because of his support for the reform of the long established blasphemy law which has led to people being incarcerated for insulting the prophet Muhammed.

On 5 January Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's largest province, was assassinated by Islamists because of his criticism of blasphemy laws.

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Pakistan disaster - support the Labour Relief Campaign!

The number of people affected by the floods in Pakistan has now reached 20 million. More than 650,000 houses have collapsed, mainly in villages. Thousands of hectares of crops have been destroyed, along with people's livestock, household goods, clothes, shoes and other essential items. Millions are without drinkable water, food, shelter and clothing. Diseases like flu, fever, diarrhea and cholera are spreading fast.

Labour movement and socialist organisations in Pakistan have launched an appeal to help victims of the flooding, now numbered at about 20 million.

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Pakistani workers' strike wins victory

Author: 

Farooq Tariq (Labour Party of Pakistan)

On 29 July the nine-day strike by power-loom workers in Faisalabad, Pakistan, ended in complete victory.

The Commissioner of Faisalabad Mr. Tahir Hussain announced at a workers' rally that all demands of the workers will be met. He said that a 17 percent rates increase for all will be implemented in its full spirit. The case of the four arrested strike leaders will be withdrawn after an initial inquiry.

On 29 July the nine-day strike by power-loom workers in Faisalabad, Pakistan, ended in complete victory.

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Against both Islamists and empire

Author: 

Farooq Tariq

The following (abridged) article by Farooq Tariq from the Labour Party Pakistan was first published on the International Viewpoint website on 28 October 2009.

The conditions he describes — daily suicide bombings by supporters and allies of the Taliban in Pakistan — have worsened. On 1 January a bomb killed 75 people at a volleyball game in North-West Frontier Province. You can read it in its original form on the LPP website here.


What do to about religious fundamentalism?

Farooq Tariq of the Labour Party Pakistan outlines a working-class fight against both Islamic clerical-fascism and US intervention.

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Pakistan: Islamist violence on the rise

Author: 

Sam Rubin

On Wednesday 21 October four people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on a university in Islamabad.

This attack was the latest in a series on prominent, government, institutional and military “targets” in Pakistan, by jihadists associated with or in support of the Taliban in Pakistan. It was retaliation for the Pakistani military’s incursion, now a ground offensive, in South Waziristan.

The Pakistani army's invasion of South Waziristan, its own links to Islamist groups and divisions with its US allies

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Defend Pakistani socialist Tariq Mehmood!

Author: 

Farooq Tariq, Labour Party Pakistan

On 9th August 2009, Tariq Mehmood, a human rights activists and general secretary Labour Party Pakistan 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 the 28 July attack on Korian, a village in Gojra Tehsil. He also alleged that 40 women are still missing. Condemning this horrific act, he demanded the government investigate the case/ On the accusation of “blasphemy” over 60 houses were burnt by Muslim fanatics.

24 year old Labour Party Pakistan activist Tariq Mehmood has been detained after protesting against anti-Christian pogroms by Islamists.

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Help the refugees! Oppose both Taliban and army!

This is an appeal by the Labour Relief Campaign launched by the Labour Party Pakistan. The purpose of the appeal 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 is an appeal by the Labour Relief Campaign launched by the Labour Party Pakistan. The purpose of the appeal 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.

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Pakistan: “Unite those opposing both Taliban and military”

Author: 

Farooq Ahmad, Labor Party Pakistan

The Swat situation is complicated. Both sides, the religious fanatics and the government are trying different tactics and are not sure which one will work. The prices for their blunders is paid by ordinary people of the area.

The Taliban settled in Swat long ago and were integrated in the area. Between 1994-95, there was a religious movement of Tehreek-e Nafaz-e Shariat-e-Mohammdi (TNSM), led by Maulana Sufi Mohammed for the implementation of “Islam”. But the government and the Sufi Mohammed compromised.

The Swat situation is complicated. Both sides, the religious fanatics and the government are trying different tactics and are not sure which one will work. The prices for their blunders is paid by ordinary people of the area

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Support Pakistan’s labour movement against both Taliban and army!

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

More than 800,000 people have now fled fighting in the Swat district of Pakistan. They join a total of around 1.3 million refugees who have fled recent fighting in other parts of the North-West Frontier Province, fleeing, on the one hand threats of violence from the Taliban against people who do not join their “jihad”, and on the other the gunship helicopters of Pakistan’s army.

The RMT is re-balloting nearly 10,000 of its members across London Underground and Transport for London forMore than 800,000 people have now fled fighting in the Swat district of Pakistan. They join a total of around 1.3 million refugees who have fled recent fighting in other parts of the North-West Frontier Province, fleeing, on the one hand threats of violence from the Taliban against people who do not join their “jihad”, and on the other the gunship helicopters of Pakistan’s army. strike action around disputes centred on jobs, pay and breaches of disciplinary and attendance agreements.

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Pakistani socialists calls for working class to organise against both Taliban and Pakistani government

Author: 

Labour Party of Pakistan

In its May Day message, the Labour Party of Pakistan says: "On May Day 2009, the Pakistani working class has an additional but most vital issue of the growth of religious fundamentalism.

"This trend is dividing the working class on religious lines and weaking the labour movement in some part of Pakistan. The answer of the Pakistani state is repression of the whole population living in the areas dominated by religious fanatics - or making deals with fanatics. American imperialism wants a military solution and is bombing the areas.

The Labour Party of Pakistan calls for workers to "organise on class lines" against both religious fundamentalism and imperialism.

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Who boosted the Taliban?

Author: 

Faryal Velmi

The Taliban’s take-over of the scenic Swat valley in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province is a damning indictment of over six decades of military and “civilian” bourgeois rule in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s “revolving door” of government, with military dictators and corrupt politicians taking turns at creaming off central resources and accumulating wealth, has left a vast proportion of the country mired in poverty, illiteracy and without access to basic amenities like sanitation, clean water and electricity.

The Taliban’s take-over of the scenic Swat valley in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province is a damning indictment of over six decades of military and “civilian” bourgeois rule in Pakistan.

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Pakistan cricket massacre: Why police were “too busy”

Author: 

Farooq Tariq

Farooq Tariq, General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, comments on the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team on 3 March.

The religious fanatics have targeted sports such as soccer and cricket, terming these evil sports smuggled in from the West. “It is promoting Western cultural norms, it must not be allowed”, was the justification of the Taliban to ban these sports when it governed Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Farooq Tariq, General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, comments on the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team on 3 March.

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Pakistan under the PPP

Author: 

Faryal Velmi

Faryal Velmi visted Karachi, Pakistan in December 2008.

In the first of two articles about Pakistan’s politics and history she describes the events leading up to the change of government in Pakistan and her conversations with Pakistani socialists about the prospects for political change under the new Pakistan People’s Party government.

Faryal Velmi visted Karachi, Pakistan in December 2008. This is the first of two articles about Pakistan’s politics and history.

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No to war on Pakistan!

Author: 

Kalpana Wilson

Mainstream politicians in India have been claiming that it's basically Pakistan behind it. There’s an escalation of tension, very much in line with the usual thing — whenever there's anything like this, the blame is focused on Pakistan as the main enemy.

Congress has been trying to outdo the BJP in this. Although the BJP has led the way, Congress always tries to be as anti-Pakistan and as communalist as the BJP, particularly now with elections soon.

Mainstream politicians in India have been claiming that it's basically Pakistan behind it. There’s an escalation of tension, very much in line with the usual thing — whenever there's anything like this, the blame is focused on Pakistan as the main enemy.

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India: history, politics, terror

India has a population of 1.1 billion, reckoned to be 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, and the rest Christian, Sikh, and others. Since independence from Britain in 1947, Indian politics has mostly been dominated by the avowedly secular Congress party, now in government; but the last decade or more has seen the rise of the Hindu-chauvinist BJP, based mainly on upper-caste Hindus, and linked to openly-fascistic Hindu militias. The BJP led governments in 1996 and 1998-2004.

India background

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Pakistan: A dictator gone, but not his policies

Author: 

Farooq Tariq, General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan

As General Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation — in an unscheduled nationally televised speech of one hour — private television channels showed an instant response of jubilation, welcoming the decision, in all four provinces.

Musharraf resigned as president of Pakistan as he was facing an impeachment move by the Pakistan Peoples Party-led ruling alliance of four parties. For the first time, not a single political party defended General Musharraf. Even Mutihida Qaumi Party (MQM) was not ready to defend him publicly, this, a party that he was associated with for long time.

A dictator gone, but not his policies. That is a real challenge that Labour Party Pakistan and other left forces are facing at present.

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AWL Conference 2008: Farooq Tariq

Author: 

Farooq Tariq

I am from the Labour Party Pakistan, although I am embarrassed to say “Labour Party” when I come to Britain! But it meets the objective reality in Pakistan, where there has been no such class-based party before. The Labour Party Pakistan is fighting for a socialist Pakistan in a society which is dominated by religious fundamentalism, by promoters of the neo-liberal agenda and those who support the war on terror.

Farooq Tariq, General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan addressed the AWL 2008 conference.

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After the Pakistan election

At an AWL meeting in London on 28 February, Faryal Velmi spoke about Pakistan after the recent elections. In those elections the two main opposition parties — the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) — topped the poll and will have a dominant presence in the next parliament.

Farooq Tariq of the Labor Party Pakistan describes the issues now facing Pakistan

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Unexpected results in Pakistan election

Author: 

Faryal Velmi

The tumultuous political scene in Pakistan, took an unexpected turn on 18 February, when President Musharaf’s political party Pakistan Muslim League ‘Q’ took a battering in the general election.

As we go to press, unofficial results show the Pakistan People’s Party, the party of assassinated ex-prime minster Benazir Bhutto, has won 86 seats out of 256 National Assembly seats. The PPP won a clear majority in the southern province of Sindh and have enough seats to rule the federal government there.

The tumultuous political scene in Pakistan, took an unexpected turn on 18 February, when President Musharaf’s political party Pakistan Muslim League ‘Q’ took a battering in the general election.

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Why Pakistan is exploding

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

The new Pakistani general [Musharraf], he’s just been elected — not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country, and I think that’s good news for the subcontinent. (George W Bush, 1999)

On 27 December Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party was assassinated, killed by a gunman who then blew himself and 21 other people up. The belief that Musharraf was responsible in some way for the assassination has led to countrywide violent protests and riots; over hundred people have been killed.

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Pakistani socialists launch financial appeal

PERVEZ Musharraf has stood down as head of the armed forces and been sworn in a civilian President. Thus he has achieved what he set out to do by imposing a state of emergency on 3 November and sacking the judges who ruled his continuance as President was unconstitutional. Many opponents of his regime remain in jail. Although Musharraf has called elections for 8 January, he has not ended the state of emergency.

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Trade unionists jailed in Musharraf clampdown

Author: 

Rosalind Robson

At the time of writing it is three weeks into General Pervez Musharraf’s full-scale “emergency” military rule in Pakistan. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of lawyers, civil and human rights activists and trade unionists remain in jail.

Under new powers these people can be tried in military courts. With sources of political protests battened down, Musharraf has set up a “caretaker” government and replaced uppity supreme court judges with ones loyal to him. Those judges have now rubber-stamped Musharraf’s (illegal) election as President last October.

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Life underground for a Pakistani socialist

Author: 

Farooq Tariq (general secretary, Labour Party Pakistan)

"It was agreed that I will not come out in the open but will be active in organising the movement until my arrest at my post. We will not accept the dictatorial measures, we will organise demonstrations and will ask comrades to be ready for more arrests...."
Other postings from Farooq Tariq's diary here.

On 3 November 2007 I was in Toba Tek Singh, a city around four hours from Lahore, attending a preparation meeting for our fourth national conference
due to be held in the city on 9-11 November.

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