The culmination of year 2017 in Pakistan witnessed ten left and progressive parties joining hands to form a united front to take forward the struggle. On Friday, December 28, representatives of ten parties meet at the office of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) for their first consultative meeting.
The meeting formed a working committee to further strengthen the alliance to take forward the working class struggle. The committee includes Akhtar Hussain, Taimur Rahman, Shaukat Chaudhry, Imdad Qazi, Awais Karni, Amanullah Shiekh, Khalique Junejo, Nisar Shah.
The parties, which had meet to deliberate upon the current economic and political situation in Pakistan, agreed that mainstream political parties of the ruling class have miserably failed to present solution to the growing economic and political crisis in the country.
Ten parties that formed the united front are Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party, Awami Workers Party, Communist Party of Pakistan, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign, Mazdoor Mahaz, Balochistan National Movement, Awami Jamhoori Party, Jammu Kashmir Peoples National Party, Jammu Kashmir Awami Workers Party.
According to Taimur Rehman, the five broad principles on which the front will conduct their struggle are class struggle, peoples democracy, secularism, socialism, peace with our neighbours.
“In our view, corruption is an integral part of bourgeois system which needs to be replaced by an alternative system. And that alternative is socialism,” the joint leadership said in a statement.
Noting that the country is still reeling under feudalism, the statement said the ruling classes are using religion to camouflage their exploitation and suppress the genuine demands of the masses for real socioeconomic change. The suppressing by the ruling elites are exacerbating trends of fundamentalism, extremism and intolerance.
In December, Pakistan had witnessed deadly clashes between the police and protesters of various hardline religious parties. The movement led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi, an anti- Ahmadiyya firebrand cleric demanded for further strengthening country’s notorious blasphemy law. The intervention of Pakistani military in mediating between the protesters and government came under severe criticism for playing into the hands of religious hardliners.
In a press statement, the leaders presented a list of demands calling for the protection of minority girls from the hooligans who were using the name of religion and regulation of sugar mills mafia. It further said demanded the restoration of tenancy rights to till the protected forest land in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, withdrawal of the unjust criminal cases against farmers of Hashtnagar and Okara Military Farms and their release.
The meeting strongly called for restoration of student unions in the country, as it is the democratic rights of the students to form union. The front also demanded that all the ‘missing persons’ should be recovered referring to the rise in number of enforced disappearance cases in Pakistan.
Recently, a 37-year-old Pakistani activist, Raza Mahmood Khan went missing from Lahore after the attending the meeting called to discuss the recent Labaik sit-in and the rising religious extremist violence in Pakistan. According to reports, many of the missing persons, mostly activists, end up in the custody of country’s intelligence service and are tortured.
The united front reiterated the need to launch coordinated campaign against feudalism, fanaticism, extremism, and in support of the workers, farmers and tenants. The statement by the parties further added that the front will work for the supremacy of the parliament and against the paradigm of a security state, and to establish Pakistan as a multi-cultural according to the concept given in the Lahore Resolution of 1940 so that every nationality may have full access and control over their resources.
Stressing the need to establish a progressive structure in the country, they said that there is a need to ensure gender equality and just treatment with minorities and to reconstitute a state on the principle of separation of state from religion.
Stating that the country’s foreign policy should be based on the principle of non-alignment, the front called for friendly economic and political relations with all neighbouring countries based on the principle of non-interference.
Nisar Shah said that ‘we resolve hereby to launch a concerted struggle against the flowing anti-people trends in the country”.