The Awakening…

The last few days have awakened the most crucial forces that have been missing in the politics of Pakistan for a very long time. The students of Pakistan, who have decided to rise from the slumber of passivity, have decided to reclaim their legacy. They know that they brought down a military dictator in 1969, and they are up for it again. The students movement, though in embryonic form at present, have given bright hopes to numerous those who considered battle against General Musharraf a lost cause. Rejecting those who laid arms without even giving a good fight, the students of Pakistan have shown the struggle for democracy is not over with the arrests of lawyers and political workers.

The call to students came from the most unexpected quarter. Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), considered to be an elite university in Pakistan, became the recipient to the honor of organizing the first student protest for democratic rights in the present anti-Musharraf movement. For the last four days, LUMS students have been actively involved in waging a constant struggle for their democratic rights in the face of intimidations and ill-intended rumors. Starting from Monday, when some students also decided to visit the Lahore High Court and saw the State repression happening in front of their very eyes, students from LUMS have been organizing rallies and meetings on the campus. The momentum of these meetings is escalating with every passing day.

The most remarkable feature of LUMS protests is their prudence in attracting massive attention from local and international media without engaging in any active confrontation with the Police. The coverage given by local and international media to LUMS, and the news of similar protests taking place at other educational institutions, has further raised the enthusiasm of the Luminites. Despite a strong presence of adventurists, the students are realizing that they are up for a protracted struggle and any clash with the Police, in the absence of iron solidarity, can compromise their efforts in organizing the students of Pakistan at large.

Following the lead of LUMS, students of other educational institutions have also risen up for democracy. The students of FAST-NU had to face the brunt of State on Wednesday, November 7, when a group of students and faculty members organized a demonstration. The Police trashed a student, Abdullah Zaki, and sealed the campus with numerous Policemen deployed at the gate to harass the agitating students. The enthusiasm shown by the FAST-NU students while facing the rage of the State was exemplary.

The faculty of Punjab University discussed the plans for protests on Wednesday. Around one hundred teachers of the University took out a rally an on-campus demonstration on Thursday.

While Lahore is following a trend of on-campus protests, the Leftist organizations of Rawalpindi have devised a unique ‘protest and run’ strategy. This strategy is very simple. As the term implies, get together, protest, and as soon as the Police is in sight, run. No arrests. That has been the course for the last couple of days. They demonstrate at random places, even famous markets, and retreat within fifteen minutes. The Police, unable to lay their hands on these careful protestors en masse, are further frustrated by the sympathizers who help the demonstrators to make safe escapes.

The students have also adopted the novel ‘protest and run’ method of getting the message through without undergoing much trouble (though no political activity is without risk in Pakistan these days). Students of Hamdard University have successfully implemented these tactics on Wednesday. Quaid-e-Azam University, another place which has surprised many, has also employed the ‘protest and run’ strategy with success.

This is so far the development of the early stages of the anti-dictatorship movement. While the university students will continue to mobilize there forces and strengthen to participate in the up-coming second wave of protests, some young twelve year olds from Karachi have understood the Emergency crisis in a very fascinating way.

The seven grade student of Karachi have observed from the Emergency that: General Musharraf is the evil Lord Voldemort of Pakistan; Benazir Bhutto is Umbridge, an evil ministry witch who had given Harry a hard time in his fifth year at the Hogwarts; Quaid-e-Azam is Professor Dumbledore; Shaukat Aziz is Thackneize, who was the prime minister of the wizards appointed by Voldemort; and, the Media emerged as the ‘Order of Phoenix’, a secret society working hard to bring down Voldemort independent of the Ministry of Magic. Guess who is the Harry Potter? Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the lawyers being Harry’s friends.

Carry on the good work, kids.

You will soon find Dumbledore’s Army in action as well.


9 Responses to “The Awakening…”

  1. […] طلباء میں جو بیداری کی لہر اٹھ رہی ہے یہی ہمارے دلوں کو تقویت اور اس وطن سے امید و محبت کی نئی لگن پیدا کر رہی ہے۔ […]

  2. The student protests are heart warming – however, beyond your enthusiasm for LUMS protest there is a larger question: where will this intra bourgeoisie fight lead to. I have some conceptual problems with that. Even though I do not claim to be any Marxist…

    The beneficiaries of this struggle perhaps are likely to be the section of priveleged who are aggrieved in terms of their share of the cake??

  3. Paktea,

    These are some very important questions. I will only point out that the slogans of the agitation are usually defined by the participants of the movement. If the working class enters the movement, it can certainly go beyond a bourgeios-revolution.

    Nevertheless, the Lawyers’ Movement should not be seen from the lens of “share of the cake” perspective. In the concepts like ‘rule of law’, and ‘independence of judiciary’, bourgeois they are, can provide a larger political space of the working class to organize and push their demands.

  4. on second thoughts what you said was a classic ‘liberal’ view of the world and how ‘rule of law’ is a panacea for everything.

    Rule of law is important for the private property holders and security of the bourgeois..
    neo-liberal/classic economics as you are already aware is a vociferous defender of the rule of law argument…

    I am not trying to undermine the NEED for rights and constitutionalism – but I am not sure how far will it work for the dispossessed – this is why the peasantry and theworking class is conspicuous by its non-participation in the “movement” since March 9.

  5. I will be posting more on the topic that you have touched as soon as I get some time on my hands.

  6. PakTea,

    I find myself in agreement to what you have pointed out. If you read my post, I only said that concepts like ‘rule of law’ and constitutionalism can only provide the working class with a political space for organization and training.

    Can they address the voes of the working population? Confirmed NO. They only provide space for the working class parties to operate. Therefore, struggle for the ‘rule of law’ for me is a mean to an end, rather than an end in itself (as it for the bourgeois population).

    Why do I emphasize the need of the working population to enter the struggle for the ‘rule of law’? Simply because, apart from gaining them with some essential political experience, they can also push their demands to the agenda of the movement.

    This is some basic points that I have to present. I will be elaborating these points within a day or two at this blog.

  7. thanks for the elaboration..
    Agreed on the space argument –
    lookign forward to further discussion

  8. Hi, It was heartening to see some imagination beging deployed against the brute force of the police and secret services, with backing from Army. I have been trying to convey a few ideas of mine also, if you have the reach to get it to leaders or organizers of this movement.
    – A call can be given for people to hoist black flags on their homes and shops and vehicles if they are angry with the arrangement. [Black to represent solidarity with Lawyers and the demise of freedoms] [Not white, because that represents defeat, not a prty flag because that is devisive, not even pakistan flag, that will not convey the anger] It will be difficult for the police to enter houses and remove flags but people will see who is with the movement. This is very visible still non combative. But only a call is not enough, financing will be required to initially make the flags available in large numbers. I am ready to make a contribution.
    – It is the responsibility of the movement to take care of those who have been taken in custody. A part of the movement has to take on the job of making lists and contacting their homes, providing information and more likely than not, if they are bread earners, like the lawyers, helping them get along.

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