Another day in the struggling life

08-04-2020 By: Farooq Tariq

Back      Main     



We were supposed to leave Lahore at 9.30am for Okara district with a group of journalist from the national media. The peasants from Okara district had organized a convention today at a village outside Okara. To make it a failure, the rangers and police had kidnapped four main peasant leaders on 3rd April from Lahore. We still do not know the where about of these leaders. Lahore High Court is hearing a write petition of mine in this regard. Yesterday, on 6th April, police have raided the offices of Anjaman Mozareen Punjab (Tenants Association Punjab), the main organization behind this peasant struggle to own the land. The police took away the computers and other equipments from the office.

There were hysteric calls from the intelligence agencies that AMP must postpone the convention. But, they decided to go ahead as planned. The AMP had also invited the main leaders of Alliance for restoration of democracy (ARD).

At the Lahore Press Club this morning, not many journalists had come to go along with us to Okara. But the main private TV channel GEO was there. I had spoken to the editor of GEO last night and he accepted out invitation to send a team.

As, we arrived near Okara, after a two and half hours of drive, we saw police and rangers moving around on the main roads. We knew that something is coming up. We were supposed to enter the village from Tabrok Adda, a small bus stand, there were dozens of them waiting for us. We were asked to stop our coach. We did that. The captain in charge informed the press that no one can go to the village. “Not even the press” he ordered in a polite manner. In the mean time, some leaders of ARD arrived, they were also stopped.

As I came down the coach to greet the leaders of ARD, I saw many intelligence officers whispering to each other and pointing fingers towards me. I got alert and told the ARD leaders that I will be picked up any time. In few minutes, the commander in charge of this military farms ordered that we be brought to his office at the ranger’s headquarters in the area.

We did not know that over 10,000 peasants of the district have already made their way to the convention. They were waiting for us eagerly. One of the crew member of the GEO TV have already slipped from here to go the village while we were in negotiating g that we be given way to the convention.

In the police escort, we were sent to the rangers headquarters. I was sitting now with the ARD leaders. We decided to try to go back to Lahore instead of going to this headquarter. All of us were sure that I will be arrested. As we crossed the front police car and raced, the police had better vehicles and in minutes they were able to cross us again and asked us to stop at gun point. We did that.

As we stopped, few run towards me and asked me to get off and go along with them. The ARD leaders resisted and in the mean time, the press and two LPP activists had arrived in their vehicle. I refused to come out of the car. We were now in the city Okara and it was difficult for the police to drag me from the car straight away.

The ARD leaders then demanded to speak to the military officer in charge. After few minutes they got through and found out that the military officer in charge is a close friend of one of the ARD leaders. He would not let them go to the convention but also wanted that we had a cup of tea with him. This was to mix up his official duty with private friendship. Many PPP leaders have close links with many military officers and had very good social relationships.

The proposal was made to me and I had no other choice apart to go along. I knew that I may be arrested over there at a safe and sound place for the rangers and police.

The major welcomed us in his room and asked us to sit down and have a cup of tea with him. As the talk started, he pointed out towards me and said, “they (the peasants) are all his kids”. “They only listen to him” After his all out attack on peasants struggle, Qadeer Khamoosh, an ARD leader intervened and told him that it is not all like that. I told the major that we had negotiations with your major general and not a single promise has been fulfilled and that four of the leaders have been kidnapped by your agencies and that you can not win by these tactics. “There has to be negotiations but not in this situation where suppressive measures have been taken by them” I told him.

He said that he was close friends of some of the PPP leaders and had a lot of respect for Asma Jenagir (the former chair person of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), that he also likes to have a peaceful solution and so on. He also said he would not allow us to proceed to convention but we can leave to Lahore.

As we got up, he said let Farooq sit here and we have more talk. That was an indication that I would be arrested. The ARD leaders told him point blank that we will leave together or we stay. He then thought about it and changed his mind to tell us that all of us can leave together.

I told him that I can come another time for negotiation. As I tried to give my office telephone number for contact, he told me that they have all my numbers including house and mobile number. I laughed at and yes you have very modern equipments.

We then proceeded to Okara Press Club for a press conference. We condemned our stoppage and wowed to continue our struggle.

In the meantime, over 20,000 peasants have got together including thousands of women to demand the ownership right of the military owned land that they are cultivating for over 100 years. Two leaders of AMP were able to speak to us on mobile phone, got our message and read it to the convention with thundering claps.

All the four disappeared leaders have attended the LPP congress on 22-23rd March. One of them, Sajid Baluch, a leading member of LPP, was sent to AMP by LPP to help in their organization and to develop political leadership. A main leader of Young Fighter, a youth organization in the early nineties, Sajid was elected to the national committee of LPP by the congress.

How I escaped the arrest, a comment by Nasir Iqbal, a leading LPP comrades accompanying us toady is worth noting.

“By not arresting you, the military major have made a very right decision. By that, he escaped an unrest on the spot, the ARD leaders would have made some fuss about it, But most importantly, if the thousands of peasants would have decided to come to the main road after hearing your arrest, who could stop them. Thus by not arresting you at this moment, the military showed the capacity to understand the political situation and the nature of the unrest thus benefiting from it politically. The arrest could have cost this military major his job if anything could have gone wrong, he would have been blamed from his high ups to instigate the unrest”

I may have escaped the arrest for the time being. But that is part of the struggling life we are all leading here. Day by day, it is getting dangerous. One District police officers told me at our office while we were to start a demo against the war, “we see this very often that LPP is behind all the major steruggles going on here in Lahore. Please take care.” How could I take care when I see kidnapping, killings and arrests without justifications. We got to do some thing, and that remains motivational inner gear to keep the life struggling.

Farooq Tariq
general secretary
Labour Party Pakistan
40-Abbot Road Lahore, Pakistan
Tel: 92 42 6315162 Fax: 92 42 6301685
Mobile: 92 300 8411945


LPP (For a democratic socialist Pakistan)

For further inquiry please contact at


Party Leadership

Magazine Campaigns Interviews Articles Contacts Links Photograph