By Peter Boyle (Green Left Weekly, March 22, 2021)
Six Pakistani left parties and groups have united to form Awami
Jamhoori Tehreek (AJT the Peoples Democratic Movement),
which has the potential to become the fifth-largest political
group in Pakistan. The AJT aims to contest the 2007 elections.
The parties in the AJT are the National Workers Party (NWP),
the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), Awami Tehreek (AT Peoples
Movement), Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party (PMKP), Pakistan Mazdoor
Mehaz (PMM Workers Front) and Meraj Mohammed Khan Group
A 12-member convening committee has been formed with two members
from each group. Abid Hassan Minton from the NWP will be the national
convener and Afzal Khamoosh from the PMKP will be secretary of
the convening committee. The LPP will organise the AJT secretariat
The AJT has announced a campaign against growing militarisation
and the grip of imperialism and religious fundamentalism in Pakistan.
On March 18, a rally was held in Lahore to mark the third year
of the occupation of Iraq.
According to LPP general secretary Farooq Tariq, this new left
unity project will strengthen the organisation of workers and
The draft program of the AJT is mainly an anti-imperialist
and anti-capitalist and anti-feudal program, Farooq Tariq
said adding that the program calls for the abolition of
all discriminatory laws against women and minorities.
The NWP, Tariq explained, is a well-known left party in Pakistan.
It came out of a merger between the Workers Party and the Pakistan
Socialist Party in the early 1990s. The NWP is a radical party
that does not include the word socialism in its manifesto.
It has some important personalities of the left and has
respectable weight in the trade union movement. While it is not
as active as the LPP, we have worked together for some time despite
some political differences.
We have been working together in the Anti-war Committee
Pakistan, Anti-privatisation Alliance and Pakistan Peasants Coordinating
The PMKP is an ex-Maoist party mainly based in the North-West
Frontier Province which led a peasant struggle in the 70s
and still has a significant base there, and to some extent in
Punjab. The PMM is mainly based in Karachi and has a base in the
AT is the largest party in the AJT. It was considered a radical
nationalist party but has moved left in recent times, Tariq told
GLW. It mobilised more than 25,000 in Bhit Shah Sind on
March 5 for its national convention, which LPP representatives
The AT has led a successful movement against building a
controversial dam recently and is part of several alliances on
the issue of water in Sind. It has a mass base among women in
Tariq explained that the MMKG is led by a well-known left personality,
Meraj Mohamed Khan. He was one of the main student leaders
in the 60s and has led the youth movement against the military
dictatorship of Ayub Khan. He was a founder of the Pakistan Peoples
Party (PPP) with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Meraj Khan became a minister under Bhutto, but he resigned
when the PPP fired at a workers strike, killing many in
early 1972. He was jailed for the next four years by Bhutto.
According to Tariq, Khan then formed a small party, but
later merged with Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket hero, to form
the Pakistan Justice Movement. He became secretary of the party
but then left his party due to the feudal attitude of Imran Khan.
Tariq described the AJT as a joint activity-oriented forum and
not even an alliance, at this stage. We need to give the
room for the groups to work together in activities and see the
possibilities in future and also to bring more left groups into
it. All parties in the AJT will work independently but also together
as the AJT.