Written by Lal Khan in Lahore Tuesday, 22 December 2009

With thanks: International Marxist Website

After years of military dictatorships followed by sham democracy, the situation in Pakistan has reached such a point that the masses are yearning for radical change. Their suffering is immense as the people at the top continue to enrich themselves at the expensive of the workers and peasants, collaborating with imperialism as it rides rough-shod over the people of Pakistan. Everything is moving to an inevitable revolutionary explosion.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court in its verdict of 16 December, 2009 declared the notorious NRO null and void ab initio. The National Reconciliation Ordinance of October 2007 was promulgated by the then President of Pakistan General Parvaiz Musharraf. It was the outcome of a deal he had struck with Benazir Bhutto, life Chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party in a covert meeting in Abu Dhabi. The deal was brokered by the United States and Britain. The aim was to create a new setup that could facilitate the imperialist war and other interests in this turbulent region.

According to this ordinance all cases of politicians including corruption, murder, extortion, kidnappings and other heinous crimes would be withdrawn. Some of the major beneficiaries are now in power including Benazir’s widower Zardari, now the President of Pakistan and some of his most sinister ministers. The other main beneficiary is the Muteheda Qaumi Movement, MQM, whose leader, an absconder resident in London for several years, and its other leading figures were facing charges of murder and other crimes. The MQM is a mafia-type organisation with neo-fascist tendencies and its main ideological baggage is based on ethnic conflict.

The present democratic dispensation is the product of such a nefarious design. After Benazir’s assassination in December 2007 Musharraf’s fate was sealed. The plan B came into action and Zardari having a long standing relationship with US officials was catapulted into the presidency with his firm assurance that he would be more subservient to the Americans than Musharraf or Benazir could ever have been. The Electoral College for this election are comprised of members of the National and provincial assemblies who were elected in the February 2008 elections, the results of which were tailor-made in Washington to serve the imperialist strategies.

Ironically this unanimity, or “reconciliation”, between all the parties in Parliament was prompted by a collective fear on the part of these representatives of the ruling class in the wake of the beginnings of a mass movement that they witnessed on the arrival of Benazir from exile in Karachi on October 18, 2007 and later after the explosion of the wrath of the workers, peasants and youth at the news of her assassination on December 27, 2007. After a long period of suffering, the oppressed in Pakistan had risen up in the hope that the leader of their traditional party, the PPP under Benazir Bhutto, would be a beacon of change and free them from the unrelenting misery and distress.

The Americans had already done their homework with the PPP leaders, who mainly come from the moneyed classes, to divert this outburst into a democratic election and façade of “democracy”. These leaders drowned the mass anger and revolt in sorrow and despair. They refused to call for a general strike for the elections to be held on the scheduled date of January 8, 2008 and blocked the movement. This gave an opportunity to the Pakistani state and its imperialist masters to regroup their forces and stave off the threat of a revolutionary upheaval.

The Military in Pakistan has ruled directly for more than half of the country’s 62 years of chequered history. All the military regimes were supported and propped up by US imperialism. During the “democratic” intermissions the plight of the masses continued to deteriorate. After the first decade (1947-58) of democratic regimes, such was the crisis that when Martial Law was imposed by Field Martial Ayub Khan there was even a sense of relief amongst several sections of society.

Ayub Khan had the impertinence to say in one of his initial statements “we must understand that democracy cannot work in a hot climate. To have democracy we must have a cold climate like Britain.” General Ayub told the first meeting of his cabinet, “As far as you are concerned there is only one embassy that matters in this country: the American Embassy.”

The Ayub dictatorship embarked upon an ambitious economic, agrarian and industrial programme in the 1960s, mainly sponsored by “US Aid” and the World Bank. Although Pakistan achieved its highest growth rates under Ayub, Keynesian economic policies failed to improve the lot of the masses. The aggravated social contradictions exploded into the revolution of 1968-69 that was fundamentally of a socialist character. [See Pakistan’s Other Story-The 1968-69 Revolution].

The failure of the existing left leadership to give a clear revolutionary programme and perspective to the movement resulted in the rise of the Populism of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Due to the absence of a Bolshevik-Leninist revolutionary party the revolution was lost. But it did shake the whole of South Asia. The ruling classes initially tried to impose Martial Law again. However, its failure to curb the tide resulted in the first elections based on the adult franchise in 1970 where the PPP became the largest party in West Pakistan.

Having failed to curtail the revolutionary wave that pierced through the ballot, ultimately the ruling classes resorted to a war with India, which led to the break-up of Pakistan and then Bhutto was given power who, forced by the pressure of the masses, initiated radical reforms from above, but only to exhaust the revolution brewing below.

Bhutto’s elected left reformist government was subsequently overthrown by a military coup led by General Zia ul Haq in July 1977, who later hanged Bhutto at the behest of US imperialism. The eleven-year brutal dictatorship of Zia was perhaps the most traumatic period for the working masses in Pakistan. In connivance with the Americans, Zia propped up and unleashed the beast of Islamic fundamentalism to crush the left. The continuance of that grotesque monstrosity is what produced the present day fundamentalist terror that is ripping apart the social fabric of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Zia Dictatorship began to crumble after another upheaval on the return from exile of Bhutto’s daughter Benazir in April 1986. The contradictions in the already weakened dictatorship were thus sharpened. General Zia’s plane was conveniently blown up in mid air in August 1988 – some have speculated that this may have been done at the request of the Americans, whom the megalomaniac and insane general had begun to “disobey” seeking his own personal agenda.

From 1988 to 1999 there was another democratic interlude, where Benazir and Nawaz Sharif alternated in short stints of rulerships. This period was marred by an orgy of corruption, incompetence, spiralling economic decline and chaos. General Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup by overthrowing Sharif. Musharraf then introduced a “quasi-democracy” in 2002 but the 9/11 episode in the USA once again made another dictator another main American collaborator. This time the façade was not against communists but we had the so-called “war against terror”.

Musharraf’s demise and the regime that ensued once again brought unprecedented agony and pain for the people of Pakistan. History has turned full circle. This vicious cycle of Pakistan’s political superstructure – dictatorship to democracy and back to dictatorship ‑ has brought no respite to society. Only the suffering has intensified. In reality this is a reflection of the ongoing social and economic crisis built into the foundations of this tragic country.

The Pakistani ruling class after its independence from direct British rule came onto the scene of history too late and with this came an inability to develop the economy. It was a weak class even at its inception. It could not produce enough surpluses for its profits and capital needed to tap the resources of the country and carry out its historical role of the national revolution that its pioneers had envisaged. It adjusted itself accordingly, and its survival depended on the one hand by being subservient to imperialism and on the other allying itself and compromising with the landed aristocracy created under the Raj. The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as early as November 1947, less than three months after the formation of Pakistan, had sent his emissary to Washington asking for a $2bn loan. The response he got was a mere $10million of loose change.

The failure of Pakistan’s ruling elite is evident 62 years later. None of the national democratic tasks have been completed. Several agrarian reforms have failed to abolish feudalism. Pakistan came into existence not as a nation but as a state comprising different nationalities. National oppression continues and the national question has become a festering wound on the body politic of this country. The task of the formation of a modern nation state is far from being achieved and will in fact further deteriorate with the impending crisis. This state of incompleteness of the tasks has wrought havoc on the social and economic life of Pakistani society.

The social and political infrastructure is in a state of collapse. “National sovereignty” is a farce and hardly anybody believes in the state’s independence. Imperialist intervention and domination is on a greater scale today than it was in 1947, the year of Pakistan’s creation. Except for a few years under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, all the finance ministers have been employees of the World Bank or other imperialist financial institutions.

Now the US is even trying to control sections of Pakistan’s armed forces and intruding its military corporate contractors to take over “security” in several vital parts of the country. These include former Blackwater now XE securities, DynCorp and others. An embittered general described the strategic relationship as Americans using Pakistan as a “condom”. The conflicts within the army are also the result of this aggressive hegemony being thrust into the Military’s domain. This is already giving rise to bloody conflicts among different agencies and sections of the armed forces representing black money and other sections of finance capital. This conflict is being waged covertly at the present time. But if a desperate imperialism faces an impending defeat in Afghanistan and tries a partial US occupation of NWFP (Pushtoonkhwa), it could even trigger a severe crisis in the army already under strain from carrying out the CENTCOM instructions on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The fallout could have catastrophic consequences.

Similarly the severe crisis of Pakistani capitalism has failed to develop a parliamentary democracy. The Pakistani ruling class, in the wake of its economic failures turned to plunder of the state at an early stage. They pay less than 10% of total taxation revenues. The real burden falls on the working class who are forced to pay more than 80% of the revenues through indirect taxation. The capitalist class steals electricity and gas, while billions of dollars of bank loans have been written off. According to the figures presented before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a small section of these leeches’ annual corruption exceeds Rs. 500 billion (US$6.2bn). Most of this money is stashed away in western banking havens.

As this process started to become more and more evident, the army, the most powerful instrument of the state, started to become part of this evil nexus of plunderers and usurpers. The drug-funded and US/Saudi sponsored Afghan Jihad brought even greater loot to the coffers of the generals. Other institutions of the state and society including the judiciary, the bureaucracy and the media joined in this orgy of corruption. Hence, whenever there was a political crisis (conflict of the civilian plunderers) the military moved in to quell the rot. The dictatorships bred more corruption and as they began to lose their grip democracy was introduced ‑ the main reason being the growing danger of a mass revolt that is provoked by these repressive regimes.

Although even a bourgeois democracy is a progressive step forward as compared to military dictatorships, the exploitative system that the military rulers intervene to salvage remains intact. In Pakistan this crisis-ridden system again creates a political instability that reflects the burning economic turmoil. The army and state are not a class, but in the last analysis the economic and social conditions determine the nature of the regime that is needed by the ruling class to preserve the system of exploitation of labour. Comrade Ted Grant elaborated on this in 1949 “The state by its very nature is composed of a bureaucracy, officers, generals, heads of police etc. But those do not constitute a class; they are the instrument of a class even if they may be in antagonism to that class. They cannot themselves be a class.” (The unbroken thread, pp.235).

In Pakistan the irony is that time and again the masses have risen up against the dictatorship, fundamentally to overthrow the yoke of exploitation and misery inflicted upon them by this vicious system of class rule. When they were allowed even to make half a choice through the ballot-box they propelled the PPP to power. Yet their hopes have been dashed time and again by the PPP in government in the short span of less than 40 years. The toiling masses have been loyal to their tradition for generations. The ruling class only allowed the PPP into the corridors of power to dissipate the mass upsurge. Above all the ruling class, the state and the imperialists have used the capitulating leaders of the PPP to carry through cuts, privatisations and other drastic anti-working class measures. They could not have achieved so much with the right-wing governments of Sharif, etc., but even under the dictatorships they combined caution with repression.

However, at least in the 1970s the PPP government did carry through some reforms for the betterment of the impoverished masses. In the later PPP governments since 1988 such was the crisis of Pakistani capitalism that there was no room for even minimal reforms. The PPP governments carried through right-wing policies and actions. Paradoxically, privatization and other policies of counter-reforms were introduced at the behest of imperialism by the PPP government in 1989.

The present theory of “reconciliation” initiated by imperialism is the most blatant and insidious form of class collaboration. Policies like the Public Private Partnership (PPP) are a deceptive and poisonous methodology to blunt the class struggle, deceive and corrupt the workers. Such privatization devastates the workers who fall into this treachery of “ownership” of factories from which they are themselves fired to sustain profits. The shares of “ownership” are turned into trash by the speculators on the stock markets and the impoverished workers become bankrupt and are forced into starvation and drudgery.

As the crisis worsens, the ruling class and the establishment come to the conclusion that the potential of a PPP government to carry out the policies to preserve capitalism have become exhausted, and they use the state to kick out PPP governments. If the Army is not in a position to carry out this act, then the other vital organ of the state, the Judiciary comes into play. After all, both are the sacrosanct pillars of the state.

As the PPP is a populist party it lacks democratic structures, with no democratically elected bodies and no revocability of the leadership. Hence an atmosphere of pusillanimity and conformity prevails inside the party where compromises and deals are the prerogative of the leader alone. The working masses have no alternative yet. Hence the right wing regime and dictatorships only prevail until the masses are in a state of disillusionment and despair due to the shattered hopes from the previous PPP government. At the same time the PPP leadership in its quest for power again, using the force of tradition tries to mobilise the masses. The slogans and programmes of every campaign are carefully calculated by the experts and advisors of the PPP leadership.

However, it is very difficult to control the masses once they are mobilized and are on the move. This forces the leaders to radicalise their slogans as the pressure from below mounts. Dialectically this further emboldens the masses and forces the traditional leaders to further move to the left and begin to defy the state. Sections of the state become terrified by this surge and in desperation resort to the most atrocious measures.

This was the dynamic and the intensification of the movement in the autumn of 2007 that led to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The experts who were promoting the interests of the status quo failed to handle this situation that was rapidly spiralling out of control. In ordinary times they try to use ideas and tactics, from left reformism to democracy, to the slogan of “food, shelter and clothing”. But they ensure that the party’s founding programme that calls for revolutionary socialism remains hidden from the rank and file and the workers and youth who are the main basis of support for the Party. It has in fact been buried by the leadership for more than two decades. Actually it is very awkward and embarrassing even to mention the word “socialism” in the meetings of the various tiers of the leaders.

Most if these present-day leaders have never read the founding documents of the PPP. This documents clearly states, “The ultimate objective of the party’s policy is the attainment of a classless society which is only possible through Socialism in our times”. The irony is that the initial revision of this programme was given the vulgar expression of a “multi-class party”. The latest version of this form of class collaborationism is “Reconciliation”. Often such discourses have led to the tragic assassinations of the most charismatic leaders of the PPP.

Chairman Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in his last book, “If I am assassinated”, had clearly warned about the catastrophic consequences of these class collaborationist digressions and even stressed upon the role of this ideological deviation in the imposition of Zia’s brutal Martial Law and as a cause of his own ordeal and assassination. Yet the next generation of the PPP leaders have not learnt anything from his last testament. And as the old saying goes, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. How tragically the subsequent events have proved this to be so pertinent. But for how long will the masses continue to adhere to this tradition?

The present PPP-led coalition government based on the theory of “reconciliation” has meant havoc for the masses. In just two years of its existence, price hikes, increases in unemployment, lack of healthcare and education, deprivation, shortage of electricity, water, flour, sugar, petroleum products, gas, etc., have been astronomical. The level of poverty has risen sharply. Wars are raging in large areas of the country. Terrorism, fear, uncertainty and insecurity stalk the land. Suicide bombings and terrorist carnage has turned society into a living hell. The Americans are using the Pakistan Army and the state to fight their wars for strategies and interests that have been given false names and objectives. The PPP is in government but they are not the ones calling the shots. In this caged rulership they are being used to execute policies to further the vested interests of the imperialists and the ruling elites.

The crisis of the state and society has reached such proportions that even the serious bourgeois analysts are terrified of the consequences. They confess today what they could not even imagine in the past. An article in The Dawn says the following:

“Pakistan’s biggest tragedy… has been the axis of trouble between America, Pakistan army and the religious parties… until and unless the axis is broken… the so-called democratisation of Pakistan will not bring peace or prosperity to the latter’s 170 million people, nearly eighty percent of whom live below the poverty line of $2 a day. The army has no incentive to break the axis of trouble (a legacy of the great game) because it thrives on the perpetuations of conflicts in the region and the largesse it receives from the United States. Pakistan had been cursed by the civilian and military leaders who are too eager to follow the US agenda…

“…Politics has been demonised to degrees that save for the incompetent and allegedly corrupt individuals like Mr. Zardari or Mr. Nawaz Sharif or creations of the establishment like Altaf Hussain (MQM) or Maulana Fazalur Rehman, few wish to navigate the treacherous and murderous waters of Pakistani Politics.”

In this crisis-ridden condition the masses have been persistently imbued with the illusion that the judiciary would be the source of their salvation. This notion has been instilled not just by the right-wing politicians, the Islamic fundamentalists, the corrupt and reactionary bourgeois media but also by the left parties and groups. The restoration of the so-called “free” judiciary has not only failed to give any respite to the impoverished millions but has miserably failed to solve even petty issues like sugar shortages, petroleum prices, etc., and has been exposed to be impotent and ineffective. Its ‘suo motto’ actions have proved to be deceptive and farcical. The masses in their experiences of life know that not only justice is ridiculously expensive but it is corrupt to the core. The article in The Dawn further elaborates and exposes the role and character of Pakistan’s Judiciary.

“An independent Judiciary is an oxymoron in current objective conditions. The so called revolt by some in the judiciary against Musharraf was the manifestation of the power struggle inside the establishment. The judiciary is as much part of the collapsing Pakistani state structure as some of the big media personalities. The ugly reality is that the business of that state and policies has become a mafia enterprise with usual mix of big money (read business, drugs, land) interests and crime. This criminal enterprise has the active support of the Americans who find it convenient to use a corrupt instrument that a puppet state is, be it military or quasi military…

“…Until and unless a movement emerges that appeals to popular sentiment and represents the people’s real aspirations to create a genuinely democratic state, Pakistan’s chance of survival in its current state are grim.” (The Dawn, 5 December 2009)

We have quoted this article at some length because it graphically exposes the gravity of the situation. And that exposure is in the most important and traditional paper of Pakistan’s ruling class. The present ruling class are crying hoarse about democracy. They equate every solution of every problem to “democracy”. The din has now escalated to a deafening crescendo. Yelling about democracy at the top their voices round the clock, on the television, in the newspapers, every political party with ideologies ranging from Islamic fundamentalism to the nationalists, to the liberal and so-called ‘secular democrats’, has been issuing an agonising, monotonous and annoying message for the masses. The PPP leaders are the most tedious and raucous. The masses being thrust in the abyss of misery, poverty and disease have become sick and tired of this democratic demagogy, constitutional and legalistic wrangles and all this hypocritical nonsense of “national” interests’ with its decayed and treacherous patriotism.

Democracy is not a social system. It is a methodology used in different varieties in different social systems in history. From that of the Roman republic to the Athenian model and from the Asiatic despotic democracy to the shura of Islam this method of rule has gone through various forms and shapes. The masses in Pakistan have only experienced the worsening of their misery and pain under this “democracy” of finance capital and free market economics. The genuine democracy of the workers and the toiling masses can only be accomplished by the overthrow of this yoke of dictatorship of the financial oligarchy. The conditions on the ground and what the masses think represent a death knell for the upholders of this system. In a recent British Council report of s survey on Pakistan called “Next generation”, the following inferences have been drawn.

The young respondents who participated in this survey are deeply disillusioned with only 15 percent believing that Pakistan is moving in the right direction; 72 percent feel they are worse off than they were a year ago. Given this level of despair it is hardly surprising that only two percent are members of any political party. Just half of them are bothered to get themselves enrolled in the voters list and only 30% voted in the last election. Only half of young Pakistanis enter primary schools and a quarter go on to receive a secondary education. Less than five percent get a higher education of any kind. The conditions in hospitals and other basic facilities are even worse. Seventy eight percent of the population is forced into semi or non scientific medication. They simply can’t afford proper treatment. But this despair and apathy is not going to last forever.

The masses are fed up with most political and ideological tendencies and ideologies on the horizon. All present “solutions” that are within the confines of this rotting capitalist system. The masses are fed up with the Islamic parties and religious fundamentalism. The surge in terrorism has eroded their support drastically, which was not much anyway. They pose no alternative. The pro American stance of the nationalists and their love for a free market enterprise seals their fate of getting a mass social base. Liberal democracy with its rampant corruption, its betrayals and lumbering of the economic crusade upon the shoulders of the population has repelled the masses. There is a widespread revulsion towards these political trends and parties. Meanwhile, the army is going through internal conflicts that have fractured its cohesion and discipline. The escalation of war will further ignite dissent within the armed forces. The judiciary is being rapidly exposed. It sacrosanct image imposed by the media will further erode as deprivation and want intensify. It won’t and can’t solve any problems of the masses.

The PPP government is being targeted by the media. The Muslim League’s and Sharif’s party is facing a downward economic spiral. The only outcome of the policies of the present PPP government is that they are repaving the way for the right wing. If the Sharifs fail the right will bring in another alternative. But even the removal of the PPP government will not quell the rot. The crisis will further aggravate. Even if the ruling class and the Americans try to install a new military dictatorship it will be a very dangerous move for the system itself. It’s not the same military and it’s not the same times. Even Musharraf’s dictatorship seemed to be a picnic compared to the strong dictatorship of Ayub Khan or the brutal and ferocious military rule of Zia Ul Haq.

A new dictatorship may be very repressive to begin with but would be very fragile and would not last long in the present conditions. Bourgeois democracy has failed to deliver. The system is rotten to the core. It cannot take society forward. The extreme crisis of the system reflects the elements of barbarism raising its ugly head in several parts of Pakistan. Without a socio-economic transformation the country is doomed. Its breakup is not the most likely perspective but if at all it should happen, the bloodshed and devastation would be unprecedented. Its existence in the present form will be a continual aggravation of crisis and instability. The only way forward is the overthrow of this system through a socialist revolution.

There are innumerable left groups and parties. But they are miniscule and confused. They unite to break up into more sects that merge and then reunite again, without considering the ideological and theoretical basis or clear perspective and aims. They unite for ‘revolution’ without agreeing upon even the basic character of the revolution.

The PPP’s present leadership has been discredited to the extent that their regaining of social base in the coming period is unlikely. According to the Forbes magazine, Zardari is amongst the ten richest heads of state. He has even more wealth than the Queen of England. But that is not the end of the PPP. In spite, and despite, of its leadership the masses will not let go of their tradition without a fight. This time there is a far greater possibility that the leadership will be challenged as the party yet once again fills up in the wake of a fresh movement of the masses. But this time the challenge will come on an ideological basis. The Socialist foundations will come to haunt the present corrupt leaders and their cronies. There will be a huge ferment in the ranks.

The perspective of the movement is not just the only hope for the survival of this society but it is a reality unforeseen in the doom and gloom of those whose ideas were defeated by historical events. New generations have grown up since the fall of Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. They are yearning for change. Once they enter the arena of struggle a revolutionary wave will spread across society. Its reverberations will be felt among the trade unions, students, youth and the poor peasants. It will have an impact in the PPP as we saw the impact of the masses in the psychology of the leadership in the autumn of 2007.

If an organized Marxist tendency is quantitatively and qualitatively developed in time then another accidental leadership or demagogic individual being prepared by the state will not be able to hijack the PPP and divert and betray the movement again. A massive upheaval that would erupt out of such atrocious conditions and smash seemingly formidable obstacles will be even more forceful and militant than what we saw in 1968-69. The Marxists, if they are present as a substantial force armed with firm ideological understanding and profound methodology of revolutionary socialism, at the onset of such an upsurge will be able to illuminate for the workers, peasants and youth a clear path and a destiny they have yearned for generations. The victory of revolutionary socialism in Pakistan would not just destroy barbarism, but would have revolutionary repercussions far beyond these artificial borders.

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“The Invisible NRO”

 

Source: Dawn News

Sharif brothers accused of money laundering

Thursday, 12 Nov, 2009

Senator Ishaq Dar, while accusing Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering, also implicated himself by confessing in the court that he had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks. – File photo

ISLAMABAD: Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif have allegedly indulged in money laundering, according to one of their close associates and a high-profile PML-N leader, Ishaq Dar.

NAB Court documents have recently emerged which show that Senator Dar made some interesting revelations in an accountability court in April 2000.

The court was hearing the famous Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif brothers.

The 43-page confessional statement of Senator Ishaq Dar was recorded on April 25th 2000 before the District Magistrate Lahore. Dar was produced before the court by the then Assistant Director Basharrat M Shahzad, of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Dar, in his statement had admitted that he had been handling the money matters of the Sharif family and he also alleged that Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif were involved in money laundering worth at least $14.886 million.

The statement by Senator Ishaq Dar is irrevocable as it was recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Senator Ishaq Dar is a high-profile PML-N leader and has always been considered close to the Sharif brothers as his son, Ali Dar, is married to Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Asma.

But in April 2000 the top PML-N leadership had hit a rough patch by then and some of their loyal lieutenants were busy developing a new political system for General (retired) Pervez Musharraf after his October 1999 military coup.

In this context, Ishaq Dar accused Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

Interestingly, Ishaq Dar also implicated himself by confessing in the court that he – along with his friends Kamal Qureshi and Naeem Mehmood – had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks.

He said that the entire amount in these banks finally landed in the accounts of Hudaibiya Paper Mills Limited.

Senator Ishaq Dar was the main witness against Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif in the case.

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case is still pending in the National Accountability Bureau.

Since the statement made by Dar was recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the statement has become a permanent part of the case against the top PML-N leaders.

If the case is opened again, the Sharif brothers may discover that the tightening noose around them was originally prepared by one of their own family members and trusted lieutenant Senator Ishaq Dar.—DawnNews

 

Xeno

Thief Shumila Rana

Thief Shumila Rana

“It’s a victory of justice” these were the magical words that PML-N’s MP  Miss Shumaila Rana uttered outside the LHC . Miss Rana was accused of credit card theft and was caught in act of crime by the CCTV whose footage was shown on national TV. I guess those words really define our society today, it is victory for someone but the question is , can it be called a victory for Justice?

Can present judiciary make unbiased decisions especially in the cases of  those who supported the cause of old PCO judges [these honourable judges took oath under PCO issued by General Pervez Musharaf when he dismissed the right wing bonapartist regime of Mr Nawaz Sharif and legalized his martial law, gave him the power to rule the country in uniform and to amend the constitution at his will and after first restoration allowed him to contest the presidential election in uniform]  like lawyers and political parties.
Let us take the case of Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday his brother the former attorney general of Pakistan an sitting MPA of PML-N from Toba Tek Singh his son (Raza Farooq) was made attorney general of Punjab against the established  criteria of competency and skill just for his and his family’s time tested affiliation  with the  Sharifs .

Can we expect the justice when uncle is a Judge with political views, [right wing] nephew Attorney general and father former attorney general and now a very important MP of  party in power. To find out an answer thankfully we don’t have to search hard. Justice Ramaday had answered that in one of his many television interviews [ A practice which itself is deplorable in British judicial tradition from which our judicial system has evolved] he said, “I never gave a judgment against Asif Ali Zardari  because my brother then the Attorney general was defending Nawaz Sharif government.” I have a problem with that Mr Ramaday because  justice delayed is justice denied, isn’t? If you were so sure Mr Asif Ali Zardari has done something wrong you should have convicted him

Old PCO judges remain in control

Old PCO judges remain in control

under the law. When you were not giving decisions in cases of Mr Asif Ali Zardari to prove the twisted logic of your impartiality, you were in fact hindering his release and his bail. Mr Asif Ali Zardari spent 11 years in prison without being convicted setting a record in judicial persecution. It was not you impartiality your honour, ill beg to say that the  truth is you never did that because it was not in the script that Saif-ur-Rehman had written. The plan was never to fight corruption , or to serve justice, rather it was to delay justice, to drag the cases for long time to keep Asif Ali Zaradari in jail during the prime of his married life to break the will of Ms Benazir Bhutto, to continue a media trial of Bhutto-Zardari family , to destroy their popularity hence finish the PPP.
The cases were fake and weak and you never would wanted to give your judgment and  your brother was buying time from your respected court for his brilliant colleague Mr  Saifur Rehman to manhandle and torture Mr Zardari , so that he breaks, either divorce Ms Bhutto or accept the allegations of massive corruption. [Mr Asif Ali Zardari was tortured in custody without any intervention from the courts, in one instance his tongue was slit using a sharp object, his also suffered a permanent spine injury due to torture]

He was kept in prison for 11 year to break him so that either he divorces

Benazir

Benazir

BB or accept the allegation, but he stood firm, when the Sharif  family ran away from the country like cowards , Mr Nizami of Nawa-e-waqat, one of the worse enemy of Bhuttos called Asif Ali Zardari Merd-e-Hur.
you can’t deny that  Sharifs are enjoying full support of judiciary in Punjab. Recently magistrates were appointed by Punjab government the appointment criteria was political support of PML-N, this was the clear violation of new judicial policy but no court acted. All the laws and morality comes into play only when PPP is involved, there is a lot of hue and cry against “jiyala judges” but when it comes to judges who are sympathizers of PML and JI not a single word is uttered.

The Pundits in Islamabad are already talking about regime change and “minus one” formula in Islamabad.Why Benazir and Asif Ali Zardari are not acceptable? The roots of it lies in the structure of Pakistani state, which have been called a “National Security State”.

The reason is BB was not part of national security state the idea which civil-military bureaucracy had carried forward since our first war with India in 1948. BB was termed as a threat to national security. Now let us determine theory of national security state.
• India is our enemy number one.
• America will give us funds, so that we remain a national security state because its in our interest and if we serve American interest its not problem as long India remains our enemy.

Now let analyze internal factors which protects national security state .

Military ,intelligence agencies , courts ,religious parties and right wing media  they roughly form what left wing analyst use to call “establishment” whose meaning has been distorted by the channel mafia. I remember in recent television interview of Mr Majid Nizami [editor and own of Nawa-e-waqt group one of the leading media business houses of Pakistan which controls Urdu and English news papers and  a television channel ]was saying we can never be friend with India and we should not waste our time we  should fire our all nuclear weapons towards India . what worse can happen in the process we are already dying because India has stopped  our water supply. A similar Media Pundit, Mr Javed Chaudhary always concludes his popular programme by saying “we can never be friends with India”.

Coming back to our original discussion why BB was a threat to a national security state .
Reason number one she never considered India as enemy number one , her  first state visit to India was first step towards normalization and thankfully Mr Rajiv Gandhi also rose to the occasion and acted very sensibly . This was a direct threat from BB to national security state because the whole Idea of national security state revolves around India (enemy ) .
Agencies never accepted BB olive branch towards India . Her first government was dismissed , her role in normalization and her meeting with Mr Gandhi was part of the charge sheet along with the allegation of appointing great Urdu poetess Fehmida Riaz, the “Indian agent” in minister of culture.  One of the first act of Mr Sharif’s government was to confiscate Miss Raiz’s passport and persecute her.

Now we are left with role of judiciary in protecting national security state.  BB’s government was overthrown on charges of corruption and judiciary endorsed that decision but the decision was different for Mr Sharif whose government was one of the most corrupt and repressive.

The Chief Justice which restored Sharif’s government was Nasim Hassan Shah, one of the judges who hanged Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He later confessed on tv , that his decision was flawed and motivated by anger.

His decision to restore Sharif’s government was hailed as a “judicial revolution” which destroyed the “doctrine of necessity” for ever. What happened after that is history

Forget about all this, General Hameed  Gul on national television had said BB was a threat to national security so he created IJI and funded it till the end.

Now one IB  chief Breg Imtiaz made stunning confessions on TV which proves that the establishment itself created ethnic tensions in Karachi by creating the stunt of “Jinnah Pur”. This led to brutal  military operation, the ethnic hatred it created still is burning Karachi. This shows how far this state can go for its security objective, even if it means to kill its own people.

So now we come to present situation president is not going to dissolve assemblies , the government of Pakistan Peoples Party despite all the propaganda and ill faith about it which exist in the Urban chattering classes has shown remarkable progress. Some things must be mentioned which this government achieved

1) It sent Pervez Musharraf home

2) Faced with the worse global economic meltdown whose scale and effect was unmatched in human history , Peoples Party government didnt let the country collapse. Not a single bank or big corporation sank in Pakistan.

3) This government was able to defeat Right wing on war against Taliban, its strategy of signing Nizam-e-Adel exposed Taliban and its supporters and for the first time public opinion in Pakistan shifted in support of war against Taliban

4) After Mumbai attacks, its was soley due to presence of democratic PPP government that India showed restraint. A war was avoided.

5) Benazir Income Support programme, may be inefficient and riddled with errors but it has sowed the roots of a welfare state in Pakistan. After 30 years of Neo Liberalization PPP government once again put the concept of “responsibility of state towards the poor” back on agenda. It is a great achievement.

This government cannot be defeated by political means, a martial law is practically impossible, establishment’s hope are on Yousaf Reza Gilani to persuade him to become the next Farooq Legari. I hope he will not follow his footsteps esp looking at his political fate. If this card fails they have only one card left. Its the judiciary
Only judiciary  can protect our national security state and they are in a position to bring down this government. Judiciary’s recent decisions on Nawaz Sharif and Hafiz Saeed have reaffirmed their comittment to the ideology of “national security state”.

if pakistaan and india becomes friends then from where army and intelligence agencies will loose all their strength. One needs to read Dr Ayesha Siddiqa’s landmark book to understand the real character of Pakistan Army

Pakistan cannot afford to live in illusions, the judiciary must understand that it should not try to control the democratic regime. It has to show impartiality which unfortunately is not visible any more!

Xeno is a Lahore based student of Engineering, his interests includes politics and history and he is a supporter of Pakistan Peoples Party

Well done Aitzaz Ahsan , Tahirah Abdullah Civil Society and Jinnah worshiping  secular clowns who marched with Jamate Islami and PML-N. Those who became hysteric on Governor Taseer’s take over. Crying for “good governance” of Shahbaz Sharif. One clown i encountered on blogosphere was declaring Shahbaz Sharif “greatest administrator” of Punjab since Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Yet another wrote a “qaseeda” of Sharif trying to prove his secular-progressive credentials. Ironies of History, these elitists thugs who gave life to dying Pakistani right wing consider “One man populist-authoritarian” model of governance as “good governance”. They also consider “bureaucratization” and “centralization” key to “good governance”. In the age of de-centralization and de-regulation , distribution of responsibility and power this man restored the British Colonial model of administration and yet he is being hailed as model of

Shahbaz Sharif. The Punjabi SS

Shahbaz Sharif. The Punjabi SS

“good governance”. Irony is that most of these clowns hold degrees from United States and UK. More conscientious has been Ayiaz A Mir , the MP from Shaif’s party who has written consistently against Shahbaz Sharif’s mode of governance. The lawyer’s movement and Civil society’s delusions have resulted in return of Right. Southern Punjab has become hub of Islamic fascism thanks to Shahbaz Sharif’s “good governance”. Taliban have thrown leaflets in Multan. Shahbaz Shaif action was to “ban dance” in Lahore. Than he oversaw DVD burning in Lahore. When Lahore shook due to a series of blasts targeting a cultural festival , our secular-progressive and according to HH General Hameed Gul “socialist” CM ordered his chief secretary “to check the spread of Obscenity in name of culture”. Some days back our restored Punjab government darling of Civil society and secular bloggers sponsored the Jihadi “Khatam e Nabuat Conference”, targeting the minority Ahemdi community. The Shirif Loyalist “free judiciary” first released the Monster of Lal Masjid Molana Abdul Aziz

Islam with"Red"Socks

Islam with

and than banned two folk singers on charges of obscenity. Now this report by Asian Human Rights Commission, tell every thing. Irony when lawyers movement supported these thugs in name of “rule of law”. I will say shame on opportunists like Aitzaz Ahsan and Tahira Abdulla

Where is Justice? Where is Justice Iftikhar and his “soumoto”? But our glorious Judge cant see Ahmedies or Balochs.

[Honourable Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary , reciever of Harvard Medal of Freedom has never took notice of any extra-judicial murder or torture of an Ahmedi or any murders [some of them conducted in police/state/judicial custody] of those accused of Blasphemy]

We hope and plead that Chief Justice of Pakistan will act to save lives of these kids. I hope that i am proven wrong on Judiciary and indeed its proven that it has become free! i hope

Qatal e Tifl’an ki manadi ho rahi he shaher mein

Mugh ku bhi maa’n manid e Moosa baha de Neher mein

[The children are being murdered on state decree o my mother throw me in Neil as Mosses mother did [to save his life]

Shaheryar Ali

PAKISTAN: Government of Punjab kept four teenagers and a man in illegal detention on Blasphemy charge

PAKISTAN: Government of Punjab kept four teenagers and a man in illegal detention on Blasphemy charge

ISSUES: Illegal detention; medical treatment; threats; false charges
———————————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that four children were illegally arrested under the blasphemy laws on January 28, 2009. They are in dangerous health conditions in the jail and their parents are not allowed to visit them according to jail policy. One, Mohammad Irfan son of Mukhtar Ahmed, 15 years of age came down with typhoid fever due to the jail’s inhuman, unsanitary conditions. His health is in a precarious state with the jail authorities not allowing him to see a doctor. The detention of the four children has been proved illegal. The senior police officer has submitted a report to the government of Punjab province that the children are innocent and charges of blasphemy as arrested, accused persons are baseless. It is reported that the government of Punjab did not want to annoy Muslim fundamentalists, who are allies of the provincal government, as they will create problems for the government.

CASE DETAILS:

Four students from grades nine and ten of the Superior Academy and Mr. Mubashar Ahmed had been arrested on January 28, 2009. Charges were made that they wrote the name of the last prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, on the walls of a toilet in a mosque. (See further: AHRC-STM-022-2009) The students are kotsultan_bnrMuhammad Irfan (14), son of Muhammad Mukhtar, Tahir Imran (16), son of Abdul Ghaffar, Tahir Mehmood (14), son of Muhammad Aslam and Naseer Ahmed (14), son of Nasrullah. All five are from the Ahmedi community, a minority sect of Islam. It was declared infidel for making amendments in the constitution. The five are victims of the Punjab provincial government working against the Ahmediah sect by holding a conference against the community. On April 11, 2009, the provincial government arranged a conference on the finalization of prophethood and a resolution was passed to purge all officials from the provincial government who are from the Ahmediah sect.

The whole process of the arrest of four students and one aged person was illegal because an investigation, mandated by law prior to the registration of a blasphemy case, was not held. According to an amendment made by parliament in 2004 in section 295-C of the constitution, police officials, not less than senior superintendent of police, are obligated to thoroughly investigate accusations of blasphemy before presenting criminal charges. But police, under the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists’ groups, have not followed the due process of law and arrested five persons. The provincial police, under threats of strike and agitation, made no investigation for almost one and half months just to please the fundamentalists’ groups. The Layyah district police also have not made any investigation, in spite of the fact, that the case was registered in the same district. This was again due to violent reaction from the Muslim

Kids in Chains , Islam and Justice

Kids in Chains , Islam and Justice

groups. The senior superintendent of police (SSP) of another district, the Rajan Pur, Mr. Pervez Rathore was assigned to conduct the investigation and prepare a report in which the police will submit a challan (case diary) in the court against the accused persons. The SSP, after thorough investigation, declared that the case of Blasphemy against the accused students and a man, was false. It had no base and the accused persons were to be released as no bad intentions were involved. The report was sent to the ministry of the interior, government of Punjab, at the end of March 2009 for the withdrawal of the cases against the five accused persons on blasphemy charges.

The report from the senior police officer is still waiting for action from the government of Punjab since January 28. In addition, another illegal process has surfaced because according to the law, police have to produce challan (case diary) immediately after the investigation is completed. The government has stopped producing students before the magistrate’s court and parents are still not allowed to visit their children in jail. One student, Mohammad Irfan, contracted typhoid fever and the others are suffering from several other diseases. On the instruction of the first class magistrate, Layyah, the provincial police have to submit the challan on April 28. However, it was again deferred to May 12. The local police say that they could not submit challan as they are waiting for instructions from the government of Punjab. The Layyah district police fears that if they release all the students then Muslim fundamentalist groups will resort to violence and kill the accused persons.

Victim’s pictures Credit: The Persecution of Ahmadiyyah Muslim Community Blog

Shaheryar Ali

Today in Lahore the Sri Lankan cricket team was ambushed by a dozen or so Jihadi terrorists. Pakistan TV showed footage of gunmen with rifles and back packs running in the streets of Lahore and firing indiscriminately. The Jihadis were armed with AK 47, hand grenades, rockets and rocket launchers.

The convoy was ambushed as it slowed down at a traffic circle near Lahore’s Qadafi Stadium. The Sri lankan sports minister stated that 5 players and their coach were injured in the attack. All of them remain out of danger. Spokesman for Punjab police acknowledged death of 5 police men in the attack.

Lahore attacks

Lahore attacks

It has also been reported that the Jihadis threw a grenade under the bus which fortunately failed to detonate otherwise the guest team would have been blown up. The Lahore attack in its operative mechanics looks remarkably similar to Mumbai attacks. The terrorists looked much trained. Those who have studied these attacks in detail can tell that it had the signature marks of LeT. The ISI controlled Wahabi group based in Muridkay Punjab.

The administrative head of the Punjab Governor Salman Taseer stated, “One thing I want to say, it’s the same pattern, the same terrorists who attacked Mumbai”. While the governor is saying what’s obvious but it’s not that simple. Who were the real attackers of Mumbai? , Governor Taseer knows better than what he has publicly stated. LeT is an ISI proxy; it was made, trained and funded by Pakistani agencies. When Pakistan joined United State’s War on Terror, LeT was protected from United States assaults by banning it and allowing it to operate with another name “Jammatuddawa”. When Mumbai attacks took place, it was clearly visible who was responsible for these attacks, the facts spoke for them but Pakistani establishment adopted a policy of denial.

Carnage

Carnage

We than wrote on this politics of denial and how it has resulted in the current crisis of Pakistan. We were abused and ridiculed not only by Islamists but also by the pseudo-secular self proclaimed vanguards of Pakistani patriotism. We had written than that the democratic regime of Pakistan is a virtual hostage of Pakistani establishment, which does these sorts of acts to increase pressure on it. A virulent anti-India line was taken under cloak of supporting the “democratic Pakistani regime”. In our article Pakistan at cross-roads: Democracy, Terror and Politics of Denial”, we had written:

“With a country in democratic transition, we often forget that policies of post-colonial states especially those like Pakistan which had taken Neo-fascist turn some time in their history [Zia era], cannot be reversed in few months. It needs a structural reform within the state itself. With a few months of PPP-ANP coalition such a structural reform has not yet occurred. Attempts to do such reform have been severely criticized by dominant classes in Pakistan and hence have to be abandoned. Attempts by PPP to bring ISI under political control were converted into a scandal by corporate media and its allies. Similar campaign is going on with the Pakhtoonkhawa issue where Right wing has openly come up in arms against government. These two issues represent the core issues when it comes to challenge the oligarchy. ISI has been blamed by almost all political forces in Pakistan for its attempts to control democracy and for spreading Jihad———In all this patriotic discourse, what we are forgetting is that it’s Pakistan not India which has more at stake. The first victim of this sort of patriotism, which subscribes to values of Oligarchy and its State and not to the values of people, will be democracy in Pakistan and this time the state, may not recover from its consequences. When Mr Manmohan Singh talks about “certain elements within Pakistan” being responsible for the attacks we are fast to condemn it. But are we that naive or suffering from collective amnesia. Have we forgotten that our agencies along with CIA supported insurgency in a country against a government which we recognized as legal government and had diplomatic ties with? For all the period of Afghan Jihad, our government at all international forums shamelessly maintained that Pakistan is “not interfering” in Afghanistan and our support is strictly moral and humanitarian in nature. Then any one who tried to warn oligarchy against it was termed as a “soviet agent” or “RAW agent”. Did our denial do us any good?—— Most of these organizations were allowed to operate by different names in General Musharraf’s time but were they were destroyed? Have Mureedke and Mansoora been shut down? Hafiz Saeed and Molana Masood Azhar serving time in prisons?” The article can be reached here

When I wrote this article most self proclaimed secularists were busy lecturing India and mocking Ajmal Kasab’s story, such was their contempt and self righteousness that they couldn’t find “Faridkot” on map of Pakistan. Within the few days Faridkot was on world’s map and lies of Pakistani establishment and so called patriots became a joke in International politics. Now Steve Cole, the Pulitzer Prize winner and famous investigative journalist has written an article in the prestigious New Yorker magazine. The article basically is about the “back channel” diplomacy between India and Pakistan which resulted in a near settlement of Kashmir dispute during General Musharraf. This brilliant expose confirms the position which we have long been taking that Pakistani establishment and ISI is using terrorism for gaining certain political and strategic objectives. One such objective is to weaken Peoples Party-ANP government. Cole in his article confirms what we wrote about mistrust between PPP government and ISI and also about it involvement in Mumbai attacks

“The historical ties between Lashkar and the Pakistani security services are for the most part undisputed; one book that describes them, published in 2005 and entitled “Between Mosque and Military,” was written by Husain Haqqani, who is currently Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States.——— On July 7th, a suicide bomber rammed a car loaded with explosives into the gates of India’s Embassy in Kabul, killing fifty-four people, including the Indian defense attaché. The United States intercepted communications between active I.S.I. personnel and the Taliban-aligned network of Jalaluddin Haqqani, which is believed by U.S. military and intelligence officials to have carried out the Kabul Embassy attack. Haqqani has a long history of collaboration and contact with the I.S.I.; he was also a paid client of the Central Intelligence Agency during the late nineteen-eighties—-Pakistan’s new civilian President, Asif Zardari, had entered into his own struggle with those in the Pakistani security services who favor the jihadis and covert war against India. Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party has fought the Army for power since the late nineteen-seventies; neither institution fully trusts the other, although they have sometimes collaborated. (Some P.P.P. officials believe that the I.S.I. may have been involved in Benazir Bhutto’s murder.)Last May, Zardari tried to assert civilian control over the I.S.I. by placing it under the authority of the Interior Ministry; the Army rejected this order, and Zardari backed down. In November, speaking extemporaneously by video at a conference in New Delhi, Zardari declared that Pakistan might be willing to follow a policy of “no first use” of its nuclear weapons, a remarkable departure from past Pakistan Army doctrine. Privately, in discussions with Indian officials, Zardari affirmed his interest in picking up the back-channel negotiations . Some Indian officials and analysts interpreted Mumbai as a kind of warning from the I.S.I. to Zardari—“Zardari’s Kargil,” as some Indians put it, meaning that it was a deliberate effort by the Pakistan Army to disrupt Zardari’s peace overtures. Several Pakistani and American officials told me that Zardari is now deeply worried about his personal security”

Steve Cole, the Back Channel, New Yorker March 2009

What has to be understood that in the final year of General Musharraf , even the “cosmetic anti terror” acts became unacceptable for Islamist section of Pakistani establishment which started open revolt [series of suicide attacks on Army and certain agencies ] and started supporting anti Mush political agitation. The lawyer’s movement which started as a non political, secular protest against dictatorship was linked with Right Wing. Now this cooption is complete. The Islamist section of establishment wants PPP out and restores the glorious Islamic jihadi era of Zia and his political son Sharif. Now let’s come to Lahore attacks. I agree with Taseer that it was done by those who attacked Mumbai, though he just like Hussein Haqani cannot explain this “who”. Punjab was a safe heaven for Taliban during Shahbaz Sharif ministry who was slowly Islamizing the province; He had turned a blind eye to Talibanization in southern Punjab, Lahore and other areas. Punjab police acted 24 hours later to implementation of United Nation’s resolution of banning Jamat-ud-Dawa [front of LeT], the result was Jihadies evacuated their offices in comfort and took all the record with them. The Supreme Court’s decision ended SS’s control over Punjab. The right wing political alliance and its masters in Pakistani establishment were and are hoping to topple Zardari regime in this unrest. Unfortunately for them, PML-N failed miserably to get public support. Their agitation was limited to 3 cities in central Punjab and even there it took shape of mob violence. The call of general strike failed. Streets went silent on 2nd day and PPP was able to mobilize its workers all over the country to protest on desecration of Benazir Bhutto’s monument in Rawalpindi. Even in Lahore which is considered hub of Sharifs PPP was able to conduct a big rally. Millions were mobilized in Karachi by MQM against PML-N. Mr Shaif couldn’t bring 1/4th of this crowd in Lahore. In Saraiki Multan and Baluch Quetta , PML-N armed goons had to run away due to clashes with PPP.

With the failure of political agitation and expected failure of long march due to strong arm administrative tactics of Governor Taseer , it became critical for certain invisibles to create unrest and the good old Jihadis did the trick. Weather its LeT or some other new name, the hands behind them is same. There should be no doubt about the motives of Lahore attacks and on its responsibility after listening to Ansar Abbasai’s attacks on Salman Taseer’s administrative failure and SS’s warning about possible “RAW attacks in Lahore. Now a rightwing and their secular patriotic counterparts will start a violent attack against India. This will further marginalize Peoples Party’s regime which will give in more to establishment’s demands. More chaos will be created and our beloved Qazi Hussein Ahmad and Nawaz Sharif both supporters of Sharia and Jihad will come to power. But I warn again that Pakistani state is so much over stretched due to organic decay and war between its different faction that it can no longer sustain this stress. Zardari may fall but Pakistan will not remain standing.

PS: With Lahore attacks every conscientious Pakistani should hold Jihadi sympathizer Imran Khan accountable for deliberately confusing the cricketing world and Pakistan by downplaying the issue of terrorism. Mr Khan declared that terrorists will not attack cricketers, Mr Khan I can just say “Shame on you”.

The article has been updated. Governor’s rule has been imposed on Punjab. Protest call by PML-N failed miserably all over the country and only sporadic incidents of mob violence and protest were noted in few districts of central Punjab. It should be a matter of concern for PML-N that virtually no reaction was noted in South Punjab, Sindh, Pakhtunkhaw and Baluchistan. The call of General Strike by PML-N was also met with usual failure, even Central Punjab didnt observe even a reasonable partial strike.

Shaheryar Ali

The initial reports coming from Pakistan suggest that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has passed a short order on different writ petitions challenging the eligibility of the right wing Sharif Brothers. The reports suggest that court has decided in the favor of the petitioners and have disqualified the Sharif Brothers. The implications of this decision are that Punjab is free from the highly centralized, Punjabi chauvinist and pro Taliban ministry of Mian Shahbaz Sharif. All control has shifted to the secular and progressive governor of Punjab Mr Salman Taseer.

nawaz-sharif1 Mr Shahbaz Sharif and Mian Nawaz Sharif both are convicted criminals, in a unconstitutional deal with the military dictator General Pervez Musharaf, both of them went into exile with a promise to stop participating in politics. The former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Ch in his decision declared the deal “unconstitutional” thus paving the way of their return. Instead of going back to jail and completing the sentence Sharif brothers entered into political coalition with their political rivals the PPP. Despite the unprecedented media hype right wing PML-N of Sharif Brothers lost the elections. PML-N failed to get representation in 3 provinces and even failed to win a convincing majority in Punjab which according to the right wing cooperate media is center of their power. Refusing to accept the election results the Sharif brothers with help of shabby characters and political opportunists like Aitzaz Ahsan started an effort to politicize and divide the judicial bureaucracy. The plan was to bring Iftikhar Ch back to power and than get Mr Asif Ali Zardari disqualified and declare the entire “illegal acts of General Musharaf after 3rd November” null n void which included the “election” thus bringing the right wing back into power through back door

Nawaz-Qadeer deal

Nawaz-Qadeer deal

The cat was out of bag when Qazi Hussein Ahmad , Ameer of Jamate Islami today in his initial reaction to judgement said what was in their heart for a long time, that “we have always maintained that the general elections were unconstitutional”. This was the precise reason that PML-N and Aitzaz Ahsan and Co were bitterly opposing a “constitutional solution” to judicial crisis. The constitution plan would have given indemnity to certain acts of PCO like General Elections and NRO thus giving the democratic setup an immunity from Iftikhar Ch’s politically motivated and selective judicial activism. The shameful and so called “democratic and constitutionalist” lawyer movement put on stage murderous fascists like General Hameed Gul and notorious nuclear proliferator Dr Qadeer Khan on central stage.  Instead of asking Jamate Islami to  pay for the murder and genocide of East Pakistanis our secular democrats  gave Jamate Islami a central role in their movement.  The meetings of Air Marshal Asghar Khan and General Hameed Gul with Chief Justice Iftikhar Ch were reported in media and were commented on by progressive writers.  The Pakistani Right Wing has this long history of using unelected state institutions to subvert democracy, first they used Army, after General Mushraf the public opinion was strongly against Army hence they planned to use judiciary to control democracy. The plan backfired and the present judges fed up with constant abuses and threats by Sharifs acted and disqualified both Sharif brothers. Its not an act of establishment rather it was result of conflict of interests between two sections of Judicial Bureaucracy , the clash which took a personal turn due to Farah Dogar case and continuous use of personal abuses  against sitting judges by PML-N and a section of Lawyers . Whilst I considers the Judicial Bureaucracy of Pakistan , both section one in power and other out of power and on the lap of Jihadis as inherently corrupt, anti people and politically motivated , I  nevertheless welcome the outcome of this decision in Punjab which has resulted in fall of the pro- Taliban ministry. The media and all representatives of upper and middle classes of Punjab have tried to develop Shahbaz Sharif as a “great leader” of Pakistan, the facts unfortunately are very bitter. A virtual authoritarian Mr Shahbaz Sharif first act of government was to “re instate” the colonial mode of governance by restoring the “Babu Raj” of commissioners and collectors. He was leading a highly centralized government which was non democratic, the politicians were powerless, he hardly held cabinet sessions, and whole government was being run by him with the help of chief secretary.

Jihadis in PML-N

Jihadis in PML-N

This was the continuation of the highly centralized post colonial state which Muslim League built in 1947 and the mode of governance which has resulted in all the ills of Pakistan. With Mr Sharif’s non political and bureaucracy dominated government the Saraiki South Punjab which voted for PPP was increasingly becoming isolated. Already disenfranchised and in grip of Talibanization the inherent Punjabi chauvinism of Sharif was pushing Southern Punjab to the brink. A small example of Sharif’s inherent hatred of Saraiki people is the fact that the Prime minister Mr Yousaf Raza Gilani announced declaring Multan a “big city” in a public meeting saying that Chief Minister on his next visit will issue the notification. Next day Chief Minister visited Multan and to the utter disbelief of workers and labour activist of Multan refused to follow the PM’s order.

There was a virtual police state in Punjab, trade unions were harassed, protesting doctors were beaten up by police on his direct orders, his party was resisting the lifting of ban on student unions in Punjab. This despite the fact that Peoples Party Government had announced lifting the ban on trade and student unions. A more disturbing aspect was Talibanization of Punjab, situation was worse in neglected and isolated Saraiki Southern Punjab; Taliban put posters as far as Multan asking women not to come out of homes and ordering the music centers to shut down. Mr Shahbaz Sharif instead of checking this pushed their agenda forward just like the MMA government of NWFP. On his direct orders police burned CDs and DVDs on Hall Road Lahore, he banned stage dance in Punjab against which the dancing girls of Lahore held a strike. He ordered the administration to check “obscenity in name of Arts and Culture”. All this typical  right wing  hypocrisy of “Apply Sharia- on- every- one- apart -from -me“. Mr Sharif himself is known to be a Mujra Lover and tales of his flings with Herra Mandi’s dancing girls have always been in circulation.

If this continued we were afraid that South Punjab could have turned into next Swat.[It has all the ingredients  along with an adjoining tribal area] We welcome fall of Taliban Ministry in Punjab and we hope that a democratic government is formed in Punjab replacing the existing one.

Mr Nawaz Sharif after his statement of pushing things “beyond” dharna left nothing for imagination, with Punjab  government sponsored Long March , Islamabad was to be put under siege to cause either a fall of Gilani government or restoration of Iftikhar and subsequent judicial coup d’e’tat and fresh election. This is a crisis of Right wings own making, and contrary to popular middle class opinion , no sky will fall, there was virtually no people’s agitation in the 3 provinces and isolated cases of mob violence in central Punjab .   All they could do was to trample posters of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in front of Governor House under their feet forgetting it was her which in first place brought the Sharifs out of the trash bin of history when escaped to Saudi Arabia leaving people in grip of dictatorship.  We all know how active PML-N workers are when it comes to any “protest movement”  which is not state sponsored, we all remember 12 people who reached Air Port to receive Mr Sharif and when he was sent back against his wishes  and they couldn’t even secure a general strike in Model Town market the next day.

Hopefully peoples party will again invite Sharifs for negotiations on a  “constitutional package” which will give both parties some thing , people unfortunately will remain starving thats what Capitalist democracy in colonial countries is.

Dr Lal Khan is a Marxist political worker and analyst based in Lahore Pakistan. He was a hero of the student movement against the Islamic-fascist General Zia ul haq , sentenced to death he escaped to Europe where he joined the International Marxist tendency. He has lived and worked in India as well. A very well read man he is the editor of Asian Marxist Review. He has wrote many books amongst which “Partition and how it can be undone”, Kashmir;s ordeal the Marxist Perspective and “21 century Socialism” are worth mentioning. He has written an article on the situation in Pakistan which is worth reading as it disscusses some important issues which are being confused in Pakistan.

Pakistan – unravelling of the democratic farce Print E-mail
By Lal Khan in Lahore
Thursday, 15 May 2008
The resignation from the federal cabinet of fifteen ministers belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) PML (N) has exposed the fragile nature of the present ‘democratic’ set-up.

The ‘coalition’ based on the so-called “grand national reconciliation” has split just after 41 days in power. This coalition government was cobbled together under the auspices of US imperialism and the Pakistan state to stave off a looming crisis that threatened the whole system. But now this fragile coalition has collapsed ‑ another failure of the Pakistan ruling classes and imperialism. The Economist of May 10 gives a pessimistic picture of the situation:

“Pakistan is in a mess again. It is teetering on the brink of food riots, industrial lay-offs and strikes against daily 12- hour nationwide power cuts. The economy is slipping. Capital flight has taken nearly 5% off the value of the rupee against the dollar in the past few weeks. The war against extremists in the tribal badlands is going nowhere. Instability has returned to haunt politics.”

Ever since the return of Benazir on October 18 last year there have been mass upheavals and turbulence throughout society. Events have been unfolding in an explosive and unprecedented rapid pace.

Such was the severity of the upheavals that sections of the state decided to assassinate Benazir Bhutto on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi in an attempt to quell the rising tide of the masses, who had come out in a mass movement to challenge this rotting capitalist system. Food, shelter and clothing were their demands. They were yearning through this upheaval to get rid of the poverty, unemployment and misery into which they were being thrown by Pakistani capitalism. The wrath of the oppressed masses was evident in the reaction to the assassination of Benazir as the lava of mass anger and resentment poured onto the streets and Pakistan was virtually paralysed for more than 48 hours.

However, the PPP leadership refused to call a general strike against the postponement of the elections from the original date of January 8 of this year, which was done at the behest of US imperialism. The results of February 18 elections were meticulously engineered to suit the ruling classes and US interests. The PPP was made to win, yet it was the highest loser. Had the PPP got a two-thirds majority ‑ which was a foregone conclusion ‑ the rising tide of mass upheaval would have put such tremendous pressure on a PPP government that it would not have been able to fudge the basic demands of the oppressed who were supporting it.

Before, during and in the aftermath of the elections the State Department officials played the main role in manufacturing this right and left wing coalition set-up. The US ambassador in Pakistan, Ms. Anne Peterson, has been the most active and enthusiastic politician in this country ever since then. She has been interviewing every minister and has been dictating every little detail in the moves of this government.

The PML(N) finance minister immediately flew to Washington to get fresh economic instructions from the World Bank and the IMF. In spite of all this, the coalition has collapsed. The immediate “issue” was the restoration of the judges sacked by Musharraf.

On the other hand, the different factions within this retrogressive and redundant ruling class are vying for power. They are in conflict with each other as they all wish use this newly gained political power to get their huge loans written off and plunder whatever is left of the state and exchequer. In the brief history of Pakistan all regimes have indulged in this orgy of blatant corruption and nepotism.

But the real issue has been the unprecedented price hikes, the high rate of inflation, and the rise in poverty levels that have shaken society. In the first twenty-eight days of this new democratic set up, hailed by almost every body from US imperialism to the ex-left NGO’s, there have been more price hikes than in the last five years of the preceding regime.

Pakistan’s economy is now in a free fall. The highest ever inflation, trade deficit, current account deficit and worst ever macro-economic indicators are evidence of the rot and the terminal sickness of Pakistani capitalism. The economy is teetering on the verge of a sharp steep recession compounded by a global economic crisis. The rot is far greater than just the budgetary overruns and current account deficit. Pakistan’s economy faces high inflation, a global financial, oil and food crisis, energy shortages, capital flight, stagnant exports, falling foreign exchange reserves, a rapidly depreciating currency and decline in investment levels. The main brunt of this capitalist crisis has once again to be faced by the already impoverished toiling masses of Pakistan.

According to the officials of the World Food Programme more than half of Pakistan’s nearly170 million people are now short of food due to a surge in prices. According to the WFP survey, the “food insecure” had risen from 60million to 77million in March. But since installation of the present PPP led government food insecurity has risen at a horrendous pace.

The WFP report says: “There is a very big gap between the increase in prices and increase in wages… the purchasing power of the poor has gone down by almost 50 percent.” And that was in March. UNICEF says that 200,000 Pakistani children die annually because of unsafe drinking water, dysentery, diarrhoea, typhoid and gastroenteritis. Out of the 137 poorest countries Pakistan’s GDP percentage spending on education stands at number 134 and health at 137! Yet Pakistan is the 11th largest importer of arms and weapons of mass destruction.

The impact of this severe socio-economic crisis has implications for the state and politics. The widespread violence, civil wars and bombings ravaging Pakistan’s social fabric are a graphic example of this. Similarly, different institutions of the state are rotting and in a state of a rapid internal decay because of this crisis. Ultimately the intense instability of society is a reflection of this crisis. Imperialist exploitation and capitalist lust for more and more profits, further exacerbates these contradictions and intensifies turmoil.

The network of the media, the state and the politicians, under the patronage of US imperialism, tries to distract the masses from the real issues by raising and fabricating a series of non-issues. One of the main non-issues raised by these people has been the question of the Judiciary. In a country where 90% of the population does not have the money to buy food, how can they buy justice through the exorbitant fees of the lawyers and the courts?

The conflict between the judiciary and other institutions of the state are symptoms of the failure of Pakistan as a nation state. The mass upsurge after October 18 last year had cut across these movements and all the “civil society” gimmickry and had brought the real issues of deprivation, poverty and exploitation to the fore.

However, after using the masses, the PPP leadership betrayed the party’s own founding programme yet again and started playing the absurd game of “national reconciliation” to preserve the present exploitative system. Nationally they patched together a coalition with the right wing, especially with Sharif’s PML (N), the traditional party of the reactionary ruling classes. This coalition also included Islamic fundamentalists in the form of the JUI(F) and the ANP, the right-wing Pushtoon nationalists. The fact is that the unanimous vote of all the parties in parliament for the PPP’s prime ministerial candidate, Yusuf Raza Gillani (a former minister of the Zia dictatorship), was an indication of the fear of the ruling classes due to the threat they faced from the oppressed masses.

In the Sindh regional parliament the PPP leadership went a step further. They included 13 ministers in the cabinet from the MQM, the neo-fascist outfit based on urban Sindh. This organization has been responsible for the assassination of hundreds of PPP activists in the last two decades. In Balouchistan, where there are 63 members elected to the provincial assembly, 62 have joined the PPP led government in Quetta. In the NWFP (Pushtoonkhwa) the PPP is in coalition with the right-wing Pushtoon Nationalists, the Awami National Party. On 13th of May this so called liberal, progressive coalition government announces the imposition of Sharia law (the Islamic code) in different areas of the province. In Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan, the PPP is in a coalition government led by the PML (N).

The meaning of all these coalitions is that the PPP leadership wants to use them as an excuse, a shield behind which to hide, in order to carry through policies of aggressive capitalism. The PPP’s federal privatisation minister, Naveed Qamar, has announced the privatisation of 10% of shares of Pakistan Steel Mills. This was the most contentious privatisation in which the previous regime was defeated by the militant struggle of the workers led by the PTUDC. Now the PPP government wants to sell the Steel Mills off in several instalments. The PPP regime has also asked the Privatisation Commission to meet its $21billion annual privatisation target by June 30 of this year.

In reality the new PPP-led democratic regime is continuing the policies of the previous right-wing government. But the Pakistani economy and society is in a much greater crisis and these policies of so-called “trickle-down economics”, as dictated by imperialism, will only worsen the crisis.

In this worsening crisis, on the one hand there will be more turbulence and turmoil, but on the other hand another mass explosion is also a strong possibility. The workers in telecommunications, the railways, Water & Power and several other sectors of the economy, have started to move in protest demonstrations and rallies against these policies of the PPP-led regime. These protests will intensify in the coming period and a movement can explode on the industrial front as a reaction to the deceit and betrayal they have suffered on the electoral plane.

Although the Americans and other bourgeois strategists are trying to patch up the PPP-PML(N) rift, the crisis refuses to ebb. Even if they succeed, this artificial coalition would break down with an even greater bang sooner rather than later. Napoleon once remarked that you could do anything with bayonets except sit on them. The crisis is so intense and Pakistani capitalism is so rotten that the crisis is bound to get worse in the coming weeks and months.

This crisis will also provoke splits within the PPP itself. Although there is no real left wing in the top leadership of the PPP, the masses orientating towards the PPP are asking questions, getting angry, and yearning for change. And there is no solution without a socialist revolution. This was the main theme of the PPP’s founding documents written forty years ago. The leadership has breached that programme and manifesto more than once.

In spite of all this, the masses have clung to their traditions with utmost loyalty and innumerable sacrifices for three generations. How many times are they going to tolerate such betrayal again? Pakistan and PPP have entered a crucial period. For the masses capitalism has become intolerable. They are looking for an alternative socio-economic system. The advanced layers amongst the youth and workers are moving towards revolutionary conclusions. The social basis of fundamentalism is in sharp decline Nationalism is in a blind alley. Democracy on a capitalist basis is failing the masses.

If we look at the reality of the experience of this “democracy” for the toiling masses of Pakistan, Lenin’s definition in his brilliant work Proletarian Revolution and renegade Kautsky is extremely  pertinent. Lenin wrote:

“If we are not to mock at common sense and history, it is obvious that we cannot speak of ‘pure democracy’ as long as different classes exist; we can only speak of class democracy.

” ‘Pure democracy’ is the mendacious phrase of a liberal who wants to fool the workers. History knows of bourgeois democracy which takes the place of feudalism, and of proletarian democracy which takes the place of bourgeois democracy…

“Bourgeois democracy, although a great historical advance in comparison with medievalism, always remains, and under capitalism is bound to remain, restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical, a paradise for the rich and a snare and deception for the exploited, for the poor”.

The cohesion and discipline of the military has been seriously affected by the influx of finance capital. A military dictatorship, although not ruled out, could not sustain itself as in the past. The options for the ruling classes are vanishing rapidly. The forces of revolutionary Marxism, although modest, are gaining strength. It is no accident that on May Day 2008 there were twice the number of demonstrations led by the PTUDC as compared to last year.

For the liberal intelligentsia, civil society and ex-lefts, however, it is all doom and gloom. Pessimism and scepticism are luxuries for the few. We revolutionaries and the proletarian masses cannot afford such extravagant luxuries. For the masses it is now a struggle for survival and existence. This struggle can erupt into a revolutionary movement sooner rather than later. A strong Bolshevik-Leninist organization with a correct programme, strategy and Marxist leadership can become a mass revolutionary party and lead the oppressed toilers of this land to a socialist victory. And the revolutionary repercussion of such a victory shall spread far beyond the existing frontiers.