A new feudal lord to lead Pakistan
by Farooq Tariq

Mir Zafarulah Jamali, a feudal lord from Baluchistan is been elected as prime minister of Pakistan today on 21st November 2002 by the national assembly in Islamabad. After months of planning to install a puppet government, the military regime had at last just succeeded. Jamali was able to fetch 172 votes, the required numbers that was needed to show a majority in the parliament. Thanks to the break away group of 10 from Pakistan peoples Party of Benazir Bhutto, Jamali was able to cross the majority line.

Mir Jamali is formally from a pro Musharaf conservative Muslim League (Q) group. The group is been set up with the massive support of the military regime. MLQ is a split from Muslim League of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz Sharif was overthrown by the present military ruler General Musharaf in a bloodless military coup in October 1999. General Musharaf has enhanced himself as president of Pakistan with an unprecedented dictatorial power.

Mir Jamali is a known wrecked feudal responsible for the killing of its 10 peasant tenants in the seventies. In 1977 during initial era of Zia-ul Haq, he deprived the Peasants from the land allotted by the previous government. The peasants initiated a movement that is famous PAT FEEDER Hari Tahreek. Mr. Jamali along with other armed persons attacked on peasants and 10 peasants were killed in the attack. Many political workers from Sindh and Baluchistan sit on hunger strike as protest. They were arrested and jailed n Much Jail by Zia-ul Haq regime. He also dissolved a provincial assembly in 1988 while he was chief minister of Baluchistan assembly. He is perfect choice of the military ruler, who could be trust worthy in any crisis period. Mir Jamali in his first speech after being elected as MP declared its full support to the economic and political reforms of the present regime.

It has been a long list of the feudal lord who ruled Pakistan since its independence in 1947. Although, half of the period since independence is been ruled by the military generals. There is very strange mixed up of feudal and the so called local capitalists. The feudal would like to go hand in hand with the capitalists and vice versa. The military generals have also become themselves as feudal. In fact they are more feudal than the original feudal. The feudal lords’ history goes back to the 200 years of British colonization of the Indian Sub Continent. The land was allotted to any one who sided with the British in crucial and critical times.

The fundamentalist Fazal Rehman came second with 86 and the Pakistan Peoples Party candidate for the post of prime minister came third with 70 votes. Nawaz Sharif Muslim League with 18 members in the house supported the religious fundamentalists.

A lot of criticism of the military regime is been expressed by PPP and MMA, the main alliance of the religious fundamentalists in its first two sessions of the newly elected parliament. But the opposition PPP and MMA has not said anything about the economic reform agenda of the military regime. As a matter of fact, they have supported it on different times. The MMA had been saying a lot against American imperialism. But when asked specifically by the Western diplomats about privatization and other reforms after their unexpected victory in the general elections, they said they are in favor of it.

The religious fundamentalist MMA is riding high among the people as they are putting up at least in words a face to defend democracy, the constitution and the sovereignty of the country. They are seen as an anti imperialist force by many in all the four provinces of Pakistan. They are likely to govern the two provinces, the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan. Both are next to Afghanistan and were host of over three millions refugees from Afghanistan for over 20 years. The MMA got over 14% of the total votes but were able to fetch the most seats in the two provinces.

The popularity of the religious parties was seen at the time of the funeral of Aimal Kansi in Quetta Afghanistan on 19th November. The funeral was said to be the largest in the history of Baluchistan. Over 70,000 attended the funeral procession. Aimal Kansi death sentence was carried out in US last week after he pleaded guilty of killing two American CIA agents in 1993.

Labour Party Pakistan had anticipated these political developments in the past. The meeting of National Committee of LPP held in March 2002 expressed these views. LPP was unable to change the course of history with its participations in the elections.

* Musharaf regime would like to install a puppet civil government through the elections to be held in October. Several initiatives have already been taken by the regime to ensure the victory of those politicians who are closely linked with the regime.

* it seems that a no political party will be able to have a clear cut majority in the future parliament but the religious fundamentalist if contesting independently may have the balancing power. For that reason, the military regime is continuing its relationship with religious parties as normal.

* General Musharaf would like to continue as president of Pakistan and would like to take some sort of approval through a referendum that could be announced before the elections.

* Religious fundamentalism will carry out their activities in one or other form despite the recent so-called crack down by the military regime. The regime would also like to preserve the card of the religious fundamentalists that will be done by having a very soft corner towards some of the serious religious parties. The military wing of the fundamentalist may have been pushed to go deep in underground but the religious fundamentalist will remain a considerable force in future as well. While there seems no possibility of religious fundamentalist coming back to state power but they will remain as force in the political field. it was agreed that religious fanaticism can not be rooted out until the social reasons for the harboring of fundamentalism is been cut.

* The economic crises of the Pakistan will continue despite all the promises of the Western aid to the military regime. There is going to be no dramatic change in the economy in coming period under capitalism. The military regime while implementing the conditionality of IMF and World Bank is winning a lot of heartedness of the masses. The policies dictated by the international institutions are bringing more poverty and more unemployment for the masses of Pakistan”.

The new government would be proved a very weak and unpopular among the masses. Masses see no change in their suffering after the installation of the new government. They see it very rightly the continuation of the present regime but with a more civilian participations. The MLQ was able to win the majority with a very open rigging of the elections. Such was the level of rigging of the elections that despite the full support of the imperialists of the present military regime, none of the international observers declared it as fare and free. The European Union pointed many irregularities in the election process.

The new Jamali regime will carry out anti worker and anti peasant policies dictated by the IMF and World Bank. Despite all the claims of the Musharaf regime that economy is on the right track and a new era of economic development has started, it has made no improving effect on the lives of the working class in Pakistan. According to one research, over seven million were moor poor within three years of the Musharaf regime because of the so-called reform agenda. Over 40 percent of the total population lives under poverty line. Less than 20 percent are literate. More than 80 per cent of the total annual budget goes to repayments of the debts and defense expenditure.

The Jamali regime will not be different from the previous civil governments who were installed as a transition to democracy. Half hearted attempts by the military regime to change the face of the government from military to civil always bring new contradictions between themselves. General Musharaf has brought all the necessary amendments in the constitution to continue as president of Pakistan. He has more dictatorial powers than any other dictator of Pakistan. Despite all these safeguards, there is no guarantee that he can rule his full five years as president. So is the case with his puppet civil government.

A new era of political uncertainty has started already from the first day of Jamali regime. Many ask the question how long this government can last. With the presence of the strong religious fundamentalists in the parliament and a rather strong group of PPP, there is not much room of maneuvering on the part of the Jamali regime.

The prospect of more popularity for the fundamentalist is very much there. The fundamentalists have changed from pro imperialist force to an anti imperialist force at least in words. That is paying back. There is an absolute heartedness against the imperialists. Despite the governments in two provinces, the MMA will cry that they do not have power at the center. They will use the argument to cover up their inability to solve anything.

Both religious fundamentalists and imperialist had to be opposed by the progressive forces in Pakistan. A support for one against the other will not bring any happy news for the masses. Both are anti people and anti workers forces. LPP in its National Committee meeting discussed the possibilities of forming a broad base alliance of progressive forces against the imperialist economic and political agenda and against the religious fundamentalist.


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