Archive for Musharraf

Congress created Pakistan, Pakistan created the BJP?

Posted in International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by Umer

By Jawed Naqvi

A potentially sinister event has prompted this column. It is my sense from a few visits to Pakistan beginning with 1997 that a large number of Pakistanis prefer the rightwing religious revivalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to rule India. On the other hand, they are wary of the Congress. This tendency, I gather, is more pronounced within the Pakistani bureaucracy and the military. I know of Pakistani diplomats and officials who would be privately praying for the BJP to win the April-May elections in India.

To some extent this is true also of some of the journalists I have interacted with from different parts of Pakistan. They include those that claim to work for peace and dialogue between the two countries. The BJP has sold them the myth that it can alone solve the Kashmir dispute, not the Congress or anyone else.

There is a counter grouse among Pakistanis. Many of them feel, and they are probably spot on, that the bulk of the Indian establishment, including that media which works with the establishment, has a subcutaneous liking for the military in preference to civilian governments in Islamabad, and, in recent days, for General Pervez Musharraf in particular. This was reflected in some ways in the standing ovation the former army chief received recently at the end of a televised interaction he had with the movers and shakers of Delhi. And who was the one person Musharraf wanted to meet in Delhi but couldn’t? It was none other than his favourite BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee.

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CMKP Celebrates Musharraf’s Resignation

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , , on August 18, 2008 by Umer

Pervez Musharraf resigned today, in Islamabad. The iron fist with which he imposed his will has shattered today and the will of the people has been restored to the halls of the presidency.

The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party welcomes this long overdue step and sees it at a respite from the nine long years of military dictatorship. The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party is hopeful that those generals of the Pakistan Army who have grown accustomed to stepping on civilian controlled organs of the State and the rights of the people of Pakistan will take heed from this occurrence and see that the people of Pakistan will never accept their dictatorship in the future.

The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party would also like to bring it to the attention of the ruling coalition that the will of the masses dictates that no safe exit should be granted to this mass-murderer; that he should be tried for his crimes in a civilian court of law in accordance with the Law of the country.

Press Secretariat

Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party

Lenin and Pakistan 2008

Posted in Communist Movement, Marxism, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2008 by Umer

The Communists and the Lawyers’ Movement


Bhagat Singh

It is important to understand the nature and scope of the movement for the restoration of judiciary in the context of the stage of the revolutionary movement. The Marxian method of reasoning is based on analyzing the general case, and moving to the concrete case, and deducing general implications from the analysis. I would like to explain the general Leninist appreciation of the bourgeois democratic movement, and will then move on the specific case of the current movement of the judiciary.

In countries such as Pakistan, unlike Western European societies there have been no bourgeois democratic revolutions (such as the French revolution etc). In our part of the world, capitalism was introduced through colonization, by the British.

In our country therefore, the proletariat is faced with the dual task of participating in and completing the democratic revolution through an alliance of the poor peasantry and the proletariat (the demands of the poor peasantry being bourgeois democratic), and the proletariat can only then enhance the sweep of the revolutionary movement to lead the socialist revolution.

The first question to ask then is: What is the current movement all about? This movement is a movement against military dictatorship, and its proponents seek to restore constitutionalism in the country. The present movement is by its class essence a bourgeois democratic movement. With respect to the movement for constitutionalism in Russia, 1905, Comrade Lenin writes:

“Russia is experiencing a resurgence of the constitutional movement. Our generation has never witnessed anything like the present political ferment… Although the proletariat is taking a comparatively small part in the more spectacular and ceremonious manifestations of the liberal movement, although it seems to be standing somewhat aloof from the polite conferences of the solid citizens, everything points to the fact that the workers are keenly interested in the movement. Everything points to the fact that the workers are eager for big public meetings and open street demonstrations. The proletariat is holding itself back, as it were, carefully taking its bearings, gathering its forces, and deciding the question whether or not the moment for the decisive struggle for freedom has come.”

Comrade Lenin understands the class nature of constitutionalism as a movement of the bourgeoisie—i.e. as a bourgeois democratic movement. He further explains the tasks of the Communist Party in a movement for constitutionalism. He says:

“The proletariat must take advantage of the political situation, which is greatly in its favor. The proletariat must support the constitutional movement of the bourgeoisie; it must rouse and rally to its side the broadest possible sections of the exploited masses,
muster all its forces, and start an uprising at the moment when the government is in the most desperate straits and popular unrest is at its highest.”

Thus, we see that Comrade Lenin argues for an active participation in the bourgeoisies’ constitutional movement. Thus, the general theme to be drawn from this is: The Communist Party must and indeed should participate in a bourgeois democratic movement with all its might.

Let us now analyze the concrete case of Pakistan. Pakistan has a history of military dictators overturning, amending or suspending the constitution as and when they pleased. Since 1999, Pakistan’s constitution has been severely amended, held in abeyance and suspended twice.

The current movement for constitutionalism begins on the 9th of March, 2007 and is still an active force in the country. Let us first ask the question, “Who is leading the movement, what are their demands and who is this movement against?”

Who is leading the movement?

It is abundantly clear that the movement is being led by the lawyers of Pakistan. Russia in 1905 experiences a similar constitutionalist movement, in which the lawyers played an important role. Comrade Lenin says:

“All varieties of meetings of Zemstvo officials, doctors, lawyers, engineers, farmers, municipal councilors, etc., etc., are adopting resolutions more or less definitely demanding a constitution. Passionate appeals for liberty and political accusations of a boldness to which the Russian man in the street is unaccustomed can be heard at every turn. Under pressure of the workers and the radical youth, liberal gatherings are converted into open public meetings and street demonstrations. Undercurrents of discontent are manifestly stirring among wide sections of the proletariat, among the poor of town and country”

Furthermore, Comrade Lenin held the opinion that within the scope of the democratic movement, the most radical liberal and constitutionalist positions were taken by the “Union of Unions”, a political organization of liberal bourgeois intellectuals, founded in May 1905 at the first congress of representatives of 14 unions, including lawyers. He was of the view that the Communist Party must support all its demands, and must ensure active participation in the movement to enhance the sweep of their demands.

Thus: The current movement for the restoration of the judiciary is being LED by the lawyers. This is not to say that representatives of political parties are not participants in the movement. However, as with Engels’ positions on peace, this movement, i.e. the democratic movement must not be left for the bourgeoisie alone. The proletariat is the ONLY consistently democratic class, and its representatives, the Communist Party, must ensure that it not only participates in the movement but seeks to win its leadership.

What are their Demands?

The Supreme Court Bar Association president Aitzaz Ahsan summarized the demands as:

1- Restoration of the constitution to the pre-1999 stage
2- Restoration of the judges unconstitutionally removed by the
military chief, General Musharraf
3- Independence of judiciary as a pillar of the state

These are the three main demands being put forth by the proponents of this movement. All three demands are constitutionalist and bourgeois democratic in nature. However, as Comrade Lenin says “The struggle for a bourgeois republic and constitutionalism is only one of the many struggles that the proletariat must wage”.

Who is this movement against?

The movement is primarily against the military autocracy that has ruled Pakistan for much of its history. Any constitutionalist movement is aimed against groups/classes/individuals which seek their power from UNCONSTITUTIONAL means. In the context of Pakistan, this is the military rulers of Pakistan in general and Musharraf in particular.

To sum up therefore:

The movement for the restoration of the judiciary is a constitutionalist bourgeois democratic movement, led by the lawyers and seeks bourgeois democratic aims.

The Communist Party—the representative of the class interests of the proletariat—is duty bound to participate in this movement, while understanding its class nature and aims.

I hope this clarifies the Communist Workers and Peasants Party (CMKP) positions with respect to the current movement.

For the “golden prospect”

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on February 19, 2008 by Umer

Following is my short reply to the message of Farooq Tariq of Labor Party of Pakistan (LPP) ‘A golden prospect to oust Musharaf’:

The elections have changed everything. Many political unions, forged into existence by doubtful personalities who wanted the revival of the religious Right in Pakistan, fell flat on its face on February, 18th. Unfortunately, some Leftist and Nationalist parties also took part in the “holy alliance” that came to be known as the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM). These Leftist parties too had to face the “glory” coming to them through their mistaken stance when people went to vote.

However, one mistake by a section of the Left does not merit strong denunciation from other Leftists, particularly the young ones like me. All of us commit errors – no one is an angel here, so we are told. However, one who does not realize his mistakes in time, trying to hide it from the public eye with inept justifications, merits criticism in the strongest possible terms. The only way to redeem an error and to stand tall is to self-criticize as soon as possible. This spirit of self-criticism is required not only to reach correct conclusions in the future, but also for the unity of the broad Left in Pakistan.

The Awami Jamhori Tahreek (AJT), a united front of many Leftist Parties in Pakistan, primarily LPP and National Workers’ Party (NWP), made a serious error when they joined with the APDM. The composition of APDM raises serious concerns to begin with. It is led by Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Hamid Gul, and, last but not the least, the semi-Mullah Imran Khan. APDM, in short, was a united front of the religious Right that demanded the boycott of elections. Any benefits that the Left could have been gained from joining such a front must be compared with the serious compromises that would accompany such a decision, not only in the long-term, but also in the anti-dictatorship struggle of today. The stance of AJT was subjected to serious criticism by other parties of the Left, chiefly Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP), but their advice was not heeded.

Now, with the results of elections before us, we can see that APDM has failed miserably in its boycott campaign. Everyone can see that joining the APDM was a mistake for the Left Parties. What did the Left gain from APDM? Nothing. And yet, while we were expecting some self-criticism, Farooq Tariq of LPP has emerged with an attempt to justify the decision of Left to join APDM with twisted logic.

According to Farooq Tariq, the APDM “helped anti Musharaf vote to express in a united manner” and “the boycott campaign was particularly successful in Balochistan and North West Frontier Province (NWFP)”. Was boycott a success in Balochistan? Let’s look at the polls. The King’s Party, PML-Q, has won around 17 seats in the province of Balochistan, a clear majority. Had the nationalist parties contested the elections, the results would have been very different. The “success” of APDM appears to translate into the victory of PML-Q in Balochistan.

As for NWFP, Farooq Tariq says that the Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) benefited from the split in the Right-wing MMA. This is the truth, but only half the truth. With hindsight, one can see that had MMA been standing united, it would have helped them only marginally. MMA was discredited among the people and there were few chances of them emerging successful in the recent elections. Anyhow, how did the Leftists in the APDM contribute to the appearance of cracks in the MMA? Clearly, they had nothing to do with these cracks. MMA had undergone a de facto split long before the Left decided to join the APDM. The Leftists within the APDM cannot take claim credit for causing the split in MMA.

APDM only succeed in weakening the anti-Musharraf campaign. What else was to be expected from an alliance which included General Hamid Gul and Qazi Hussain Ahmed? APDM is responsible for the low turn-out of voters and victory of PML-Q in Balochistan. Thankfully, the APDM project remained unsuccessful nationally and only marginally affected the anti-Musharraf campaign, which may now be waged from both inside and outside the parliament. In the meanwhile, the Left in APDM needs to self-criticize and break themselves from the decadent elements of the religious-Right to fortify the struggle against dictatorship and religious extremism. Only then we can utilize from the golden prospect.

Election 2008 Results

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , on February 19, 2008 by Umer
PPPP 85 76 65 7 15
PML(N) 64 100 0 0 5
MQM 19 0 38 0 0
PML(Q) 36 64 9 17 6
ANP 10 0 2 1 29
PPP(S) 1 0 0 0 5
BNP(A) 1 0 0 5 0
MMA 2 2 0 6 8
NPP 2 0 3 0 0
PML F 4 3 7 0 0
INDEPENDENT 26 35 1 8 17
TOTAL RESULTS 250 280 125 44 85
TOTALSEATS CONTESTED 268 293 130 51 96

It gives me great pleasure to post the results of Elections, 2008. As you can see, the King’s Party, PMLQ, has been been routed by PPP and PMLN. PMLQ is over. The Elections night was full of pleasant surprises as major leaders of PMLQ lost in electoral battles. PMLQ leaders who lost in elections include Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (former federal Railways Minister), Chaudhry Shujaat Hussein (lost by a margin of 13000 votes), Chaudhry Amir Hussain (former National Assembly speaker), Dr. Sher Afgan Niazi (former federal Law Minister), Khursheed Mehmodd Kasoori, and Rao Sikander Iqbal. Maulana Fazlur Rehman also lost in one of his constituencies. The PMLQ that provided the essential political support to the rule of Pervez Musharraf is now brought down to dust.

As far as I can see, the people of Pakistan have been successful in avoiding any massive rigging of elections, despite sporadic instances. Moreover, the election results show a clear vote against Musharraf and Military, both associated with a myriad of problems faced by the citizenry,  from the people of Pakistan. Musharraf needs to take the cue and leave.

Elections in Lahore, Pakistan

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , , , on February 18, 2008 by Umer

The Elections Day in Lahore was relatively calm, as compared to previous elections, though it was not expected to be after the murder of one of the candidates to provincial assembly of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz last night. As I write this post, I can listen to many analysts on the news channels expressing their surprise over the comparative smoothness with which the elections proceeded in the district.

I spent most of my day, after casting my vote for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), with the Election Monitors of the Students Action Committee (SAC) Lahore and Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP). I traveled around Thoker Niaz Beg area visiting several polling booths in order to look for any illegal activities.

The most pervasive complaint, while the detailed report of SAC is pending, was the exclusion of opposition party voters from the voting lists. According to the voters, who exercised their right to vote in the last elections, they could not find their names and the names of their family members in the voting lists, though it was present a few days ago. Many alleged that the voting lists might be changed overnight before the elections. There were also complaints about lack of polling booths and polling staff particularly in the opposition constituencies. Additionally, there were also some reports regarding intimidation of the polling staff by the local authorities.

In the pre-poll phase, there was rampant information of money being distributed by PML-Q and the development works being carried out in the late hours.

As the news is coming in, it appears that the King’s Party, PML-Q, is going down swiftly. Many PML-Q stalwarts – Moonis Elahi (who spent so much money in elections that his face seemed to be everywhere), Shujat Hussain, and Sheikh Rashid – have reportedly lost (the latter two are contesting from more than one constituencies, so whether they will make it to the legislature or not is still unconfirmed).

Here also some short-messages that I received throughout the day:

SAC mock referendum results:
Turnout: 812
Against Musharraf: 782
For Musharraf: 24

From Geo: Majority polling stations have not received their allotted number of ballot papers and boxes.

Mianwali; NA-72: Pervez Elahi’s relative Humair Hayat Rokri’s (candidate for PML-Q) supporters giving money to female voters outside polling stations.

Narowal; NA-117: Ransacked polling stations go up to 25. Armed gangs of criminals carried out the operation on the behest of PML-Q and took away boxes.

CMKP Condemns Bhutto’s Assassination

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2007 by Umer

Karachi, Dec 29: Heinous horrified assassination of PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto, a most popular leader and former prime minister, has once against testified the magnitude of the tyrant savage system controlled by military establishment. What she fell prey to the suicide bombing and so-called Islamic militancy were the culmination of the politics of Islamisation and Jihad that where put into motion by the military Zia regime and still being done by a section of establishment and supported by a group of fanatics. The objective has been just to brutalise the society and thwart the democratic aspirations of the people, to prolong the undemocratic rule. This has also showed the fault of the existing socio-economic and political system that needs its elimination through sincere and protected struggle. Moreover, nobody is safe under military-dominated rule.

In a press statement, Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) Pakistan Chairman Sufi Khalik Baloch condemned the brutal murder of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, while urging to expose and punish all those involved in such crime against humanity and decency. He added that at such a sad moment, he shared the shock and grief equally with the leaders and workers of PPP as well as her family. He paid tributes that she died bravely as she was conscious of the threat under the cover of religious extremism, although the fact is that she became the target for the dislikeness of domestic cliques that are counted in the politics of Pakistan. He hoped her blood could not go in vain but help strengthen democracy and socio-economic rights of the people.

So will our fist strike again!

Posted in Pakistan, Poetry, Literature, Art with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2007 by Umer

What horror the face of fascism creates!
They carry out their plans with knife-like precision.
Nothing matters to them.
To them, blood equals medals,
Slaughter is an act of heroism…
How hard it is to sing when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
Horror which I am dying.

So wrote Victor Jara in his immortal poem Estadio Chile, moments before his death by the hands of one of the most brutal dictatorship that the world has ever seen – the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile; a tyranny sponsored, as ever, by the U.S.A. While repeating Jara’s words again, I remain convinced that the social-realist literature makes immensely more sense to people who have gone through the experience that the particular literary piece is talking about. I have read the quoted verses of the Jara’s last song countless times, but never before it generated so much strength and meaning for me as it does when I read it today.

The unforeseen and sudden death of Benazir Bhutto led to some of the most agonizing moments of my life. My first reaction when I heard the news of Bhutto’s death over the phone from a friend was utter disbelief – it has to be a rumor. But the news was soon confirmed as I switched on my TV set and messages started pouring in on my cell phone. What happened was horrific. For the first time in my life, I felt shocked to the extent that I was wordless.

To my young mind concerned with the good of my people, the assassination of Bhutto brought immense confusion and horror. As I stayed glued to the TV screen, there were a number of questions that cropped up, but I could not find an answer to any of them. It was like my thinking half died with Benazir. What will happen next? How will the powers that rule Pakistan use this event to their favor? What will happen to our struggle for democracy and social justice? How will people respond to the sense of insecurity that the assassination of Benazir has created? How will this event contribute towards the prevailing threat of religious extremism? Somewhere between all these questions was also a deep sense of sympathy for all those who once witnessed and mourned the death of great leaders like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and President Salvador Allende. I was living through the ordeal that they once went through. I could comprehend what it is to deal with political uncertainty and insecurity and what it is to live under the shade of fascist terror.

Confusion, however, is temporary, particularly if your mind is equipped with the tools of Marxist theory and revolutionary practice defines the motto of your life. So, I started explaining to myself what might be there behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in order to reach a conclusion about what needs to be done.

In my view, as I have written elsewhere, the murder to Bhutto resulted in collusion between the Islamic Extremism and the pro-Taliban lobby in the ruling establishment of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was not as much a threat for the former for the lack of effective power as she was for the latter. The pro-Taliban lobby in the armed forces knew very well that their defacement would be construed as the disgrace of their institution internationally and, therefore, enjoyed a strong cover through this blackmail. They also knew well that Benazir Bhutto, with a history of opposing the military rule of General Zia-ul-Haq that killed her father and with the patronage of Washington, will not miss a chance to publicize the activities of the remnants of Zia era in the international arena. Had that happened, the armed forces would have lost the much needed international image with which they justified its continuous rule over the people and resources of Pakistan. Benazir became, as Aitzaz Ahsan correctly pointed out, a threat for the establishment of Pakistan.

The retributive struggle against the death of Benazir, therefore, has two main forces to blame: Islamic Extremism and Armed forces. Without ending the power of Army, the pro-Taliban elements within the Army responsible for the assassination of Bhutto can not be brought to justice. The struggle for democracy is now not just a struggle against Pervez Musharraf, but a struggle to bring the clandestine activities of intelligence wings of armed forces under public scrutiny. Army must no longer benefit from the privilege that it has been enjoying since the colonial era. People should not merely throw the Army out of power, but must conduct its post-mortem to see where the problem lies. Our struggle is no more about the separation between Army and politics, but about the subjugation of the former to the latter.

At this point in the history of my country, I humbly will call upon all my people to heighten their effort for democracy and resistance against military dictatorship and religious extremism. It’s time to refurnish long lost popular unity built on the foundations of democracy and social justice. It’s time to refresh our resolve for a better world. It’s time to renew our commitment for people’s rule. It’s time to live, for slavery is no better than death.

The water is transparent
White between our fingers
it flows
“El Fascismo-el Fascismo”

-Take your guitar
and play play
until our arteries brust
don’t let the dust
swallow your brain
the women
will give birth to grenades.

– Andrée Appercelle, To Chile, To Allende

The task that the history sets out for us is difficult but it’s crucial. Without struggle and unity, we will perish, and history will never forgive us. Hope, we can not loose. Struggle, we can not put down. And when we move forward, let the verses of Victor Jara, ready to embrace death for his cause, give us strength and courage:

To see myself among so much
And so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
Will give birth to the moment…
So will our fist strike again!