The Days in Underground

Day Two of Underground Life

Farooq Tariq

Today is my second day in underground life.

On 3rd November 2007, when General Musharaf declared an emergency and suspended the constitution, I was in Toba Tek Singh, a city around four hours from Lahore. This was to attend a meeting for the preparations of the Labour Party Pakistan fourth national conference. The conference was scheduled to be held on 9/10/11th November in the city. Poster for the welcome of the delegates was printed and an invitation card to invite supporters for the open session of the conference was ready as well.

The meeting was nearly ending when I heard the news that emergency is been declared. I decided immediately to travel to Lahore. I was in contact with other party comrades on telephone and every one advised me not to go to my home. This was in the background of my three arrests in three months where I spent 23 days in jails and police stations. Labour Party Pakistan has become a target for the military regime because of active participation in the advocate movement. Several comrades had been arrested during the movement.

 

As I arrived in Lahore, I heard that police has raided my house and are looking for me. My partner Shahnaz Iqbal told them that I am not home and will not be at home because I know that I will be arrested. This was around 11.30pm when police came to my home. It was good decision not to go home.

I was immediately given few SIMs of mobile phone from different private telephone companies and was advised not to use my regular mobile number in any case. “I must use a new number to contact comrades every day to avoid been traced” was the advice. The telecommunication system is so advance that when I will on my regular mobile, they can know where I am and can be immediately arrested.

All the private television channels were off the air. It was only the official television that was broadcasting the official propaganda. Even BBC and CNN were off the line as well. We were in dark and did not know what is coming up. The government was using its dictatorial measures to silence any oppositional voice being heard by people of Pakistan on the news media. It was an unprecedented act of censorship.

After midnight, General Musharaf came up on the official television to tell the reasons why he has imposed the emergency and that usual demagogy of national interest and Pakistan First. He was trying to tell that he has removed the chief justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan because his decisions have promoted terrorism and suicidal attacks in Pakistan. This was all none since. He had imposed the emergency rules to prolong his power period and was to avoid the Supreme Court decision that might be against him. It was a dictatorial act by a dictator who had tried to convince the world that he is not a dictator. That, he is in a transition period from dictatorship to democracy.

I was awake till 3am trying to listen some international news from the radio.

Next day was Sunday and I went out to buy the newspapers. The area I was staying was where I never had been earlier and no one knew who I am and so on. But the newspapers were not there yet even at 8am. I went back home and in the meantime, I put on my regular mobile telephone forgetting that I am in underground. There was immediately call from a friend and I replied to him. This was a mistake.

I was told by my friend to change the venue immediately that is what I did. This was my second place in hiding during the last 12 hours. Here I read all the papers. Then I went to a park, three kilometres away from my place of stay and spoke to some party comrades from my new telephone numbers and discussed the political situation. I called my family as well to check the moral. It was high as ever. My daughter and son asked me not to come home and that they are ok.

A meeting by Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights was called at the office of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan to discuss and chart out the strategy to oppose the dictatorial measure. The chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Asma Jahanghir was already detained at her house. And her office called me to tell the comrades to come for the meeting. I told them I will not be there and if police see me they will immediately arrest me.

Khalid Malik, director Labour Education Foundation and Azra Shad chairperson Women Workers Help Line were among those who arrived in time for this meeting. So were around 70 others. Comrade Maqsood Mojahid, Khaliq Shah and Bushra Khaliq were little late for the meeting. As they arrived, they saw police everywhere around the HRCP office. They stopped and contacted inside via phones to tell them be ready for the arrests. This was may be the only time when being late has paid off. This laziness of three comrades saved them being arrested.

Police went inside and broke the doors. They asked women to leave and men to stay for arrests. The women refused. The women included Hina Jilani, Rubina Sahgal, Neelum Hussain, Syeda Deep and Azra Shad. They were all bundled to the nearest police station. This incident showed the intensity of the police brutality and the military regime to silence any opposition voice. It was first time since the establishment of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan office in 1986, that police entered the building. It was considered to be a safe place and that police will not dare to enter.

I heard within few minutes from Bushra, secretary Women Workers Help Line of the arrests. She told me to be more careful.

In the evening, I made another mistake to on my regular telephone. Bad habits die hard. So there was a call, I spoke to a journalist from a private television channel against the arrests. I immediately realized the mistake and left that place to stay another one for the evening. As I arrived at the new place, a received a call around 11.30 pm that police has entered my home and checked me everywhere. My partner told me next morning that police came with some intelligence officers in plain cloths. They ordered her to open the door otherwise they will break in. When police entered my home, it was only my daughter Mashal Farooq(14) son Abdullah Farooq (7) and my partner Shahnaz at home. The police opened every room, cupboards, bathroom, and went to the rooftop. They were desperate to arrest me.

I was upset after hearing the news but did not call home for security reasons. It was hard but I had to be patient, I was told by my friends.

Today is Monday. We had decided to bring the weekly paper Workers Struggle in time and today was the last day of the paper production. It was decided that we would not work at the usual office of the paper; police might even come there. So decided to bring the equipments, computer, and printer and so on to a new place for working together. I also told the comrades, I would come and write the main article for the paper.

We were five together to work on the paper. I wrote the article and was on new telephone line to hear about the wholesale arrests of the advocates all over the country. Over seven hundreds have been arrested. Police entered the Lahore High Court building for the first time in the history and arrested the advocates after they were severely beaten up. It was writing a new history of police atrocities under a military dictatorship.

Khalid Malik and Azra Shad along other were charged and sent to the same jail, Kot Lakhpat, where I had spent around ten days in June this year. Lucky they are, the weather is ok and not hot. We discussed some more measures for tomorrow.

We decided to fight back the military regime and to organize the movement. It was agreed that I will not come up open but will be active in organizing the movement until my arrest on job. It was agreed that we will not accept the dictatorial measures and will organize the demonstrations and will ask comrades be ready for more arrests.

Here I am sitting in a net café at 6pm to write this and sent it from there. I had to travel over 20 kilometers to reach my place for this evening.

 

Escaped by Seconds

The fourth day of underground life

Farooq Tariq

 

On the third day of my underground period, I escaped an arrest by seconds. It was all because of inexperience to live in a society that is full of high tech techniques to find a person.

 

Farooq Tariq

I called my partner on 6th November morning from a new SIM to send me clothes at the place where I was staying. My family has gifted me a new car recently to travel in little more comfort. I had been driving a Suzuki car 800cc for long time. I am one of the five brothers and we have three sisters. All the other decided to acknowledge my political activities by gifting me a new Toyota Corolla. The car has a tracker as well. This was a security measure by the car insurance company.We have a car driver Allah Ditta who brings our two children to school and drop Shahnaz to her office. He came to bring my clothes.

I had to go to a new place in Lahore to work with some other comrades. I did not realize that car had the tracker and asked the driver to drop me at a certain place from where I could take a public transport.

As Allah Ditta was driving, he told me that he has been stopped two times yesterday by police who asked the whereabouts of mine. I got angry with him that why he did not tell me earlier. So I asked him to drive fast and drop me at the first available safe place. In the mean time, a police jeep was in front of us. He slowed down so we could come next to him. We also slowed down putting the traffic in problem at a busy road. While this went on for few seconds, The police jeep tried to come next to us. I asked Allah Ditta drive fast and turn the next road. He did that. The police jeep could not follow us.

I asked him that I must be dropped now. He stopped the car around a kilometer of the place we had this encounter. As he stopped the car, a police van stopped coming from opposite side very next to us. Because we had already stopped the car, I jumped out of the car and while the police were still stopping their van. I rushed myself into a running three wheeler and asked the driver to drive fast. He was surprised but acted accordingly. There was a lot of rush and there was a lot of three wheelers around the place. So the police could not follow me.

The driver told me later that the police van followed him for another three kilometers and then let him go while could not find me.

In the afternoon, two plain clothes police officers came to the place I was staying for the night and enquired about me. I was not there. They had to leave in disbelief.

Five of us were together to work on the movement. We issued the press releases from there about our participations in the movement and that I will not offer arrest but will organize the movement in underground. We faxed the press releases to all the news media after checking the telephone number that would appear on the fax. It was LPP number but we were not at LPP office.

We bought some more SIMs on anonymous names. I had to arrange a new place to stay. My friends are fantastic. They are all waiting when I call them to stay the night. I am not staying at LPP comrade’s houses as they are already under surveillance. I had a good night and good sleep after I arrived the place of my friend traveling over one hour in a public bus.

Yesterday, the picture of one of the LPP comrade Rabia Shahzadi was on the front page of some papers in Lahore. She is an advocate and was pictured while throwing stones on the police.

She told me later on the telephone that, at one time, she was the only one fighting with police. She saved herself afterwards in a library when police entered to arrest over 700 advocates from the premises of the Lahore High Court. She was full time for a short while then later went to practice as an advocate.

She went yesterday to different police stations to help the advocates who were in custody despite, being printed on front page.

Yesterday, In Islamabad, the advocate’s movement was also led by Nisar Shah Advocate who is chairperson of LPP. He was in forefront of the demonstration of advocates in Islamabad alongside with LPP comrades. He is not arrested yet. Although, on 5th November, he just escaped an arrest from a demonstration in Rawalpindi.

At Karachi, LPP comrade Shakeel was dragged by police during a demonstration in front of Karachi Press Club on 5th November. This led some press photographers to intervene to save Shakeel. A fight started and that led to the arrest of several press photographers and political activists. It was mainly LPP comrades who had started the sloganeering in front of police while others were inside the press club building.

Police has raided the house of the secretary of LPP Punjab Afzal Soraya three times during the last two days but he is safe.

The plain clothes police came to the LPP office in Lahore and checked if I am there. They went to Good Books shop and remained there for some time on the pretext of buying books. They tried to ask about the whereabouts of the different comrades pretending that they are LPP supporters and want to join the party. The comrade in charge of the Good Books is an experienced comrade: he immediately realized who they are. He cleverly convinced them to buy Tariq Ali’s book “Clash of fundamentalism” while offering all the comradely hospitality of tea and good political talk. Comrades told me the story after they left the office proudly telling that that they came to look for you but instead took a book that may change their minds.

Today is the morning of the fourth day and I am again writing this from a public net café and will open the mail for few minutes to send this story and leave the place.

Thanks for some comrades telling me more about the information technology and how to avoid the arrest.

I will try to write every two days all the main happenings of the underground life to share with the comrades in Pakistan and internationally

Musharraf’s Days Are Up

Embassy pickets a most effective way of opposition

Farooq Tariq

 

General Musharaf would have not thought of the political scenario that has emerged after five days of the martial law he imposed on 3rd November. His hopes for a normality of the situation have been dashed even after he has used the most vicious repression against the advocates and political activists. More unpleasant surprises will come in future for the military regime who was used to a rather stable political control until now.

 

After advocates, now students are emerging on the political opposition to the military regime. Demonstrations took place on 7th November 2007 in most of the public and private universities mainly in the main cities of Pakistan . “Student power rises from slumber” was the headline of News International on 8th November.

All the courts across Pakistan are on stand still and Pakistan Bar Council has announced an indefinite strike till the new Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) is withdrawn. There have been daily demonstrations by the advocates across Pakistan. This is an extra ordinary militancy shown by the middle classes during this period.

Most of the newspapers in Pakistan are full of stories of the arrests, demonstrations and strikes of different actors of the society. But it is the fifth day; no private television channel has been allowed to telecast their broadcasting in Pakistan. You can only watch songs, dances, sports and religious readings on different channels but no news bulletin is allowed apart from the official Pakistan Television.

The most surprising opposition to the military regime has come from Benazir Bhutto. She was in negotiation with Musharraf regime for a power-sharing formula. But the advocate movements intervened in this unholy alliance forcing Benazir Bhutto to come up openly against the military regime. Almost half of the arrested advocates belong to Pakistan Peoples Party.

It left very little room for Benazir maneuvering, playing games with the regime. She asked the Pakistani masses to rise up against the martial law of General Musharraf. “Restore the constitution or we will have long march from Lahore to Islamabad on 13th November” she warned the regime. This resulted in the arrests of Pakistan Peoples Party activists across the country. They were spared by the regime in the first phase of repression started from 3rd November.

The media organizations of the bosses and employers are also joining the mass movement after unprecedented repression against the electronic and print media by the regime.

It was a black Monday on 5th November for the stock exchanges in Pakistan. The stock exchange crash resulted a net loss of four billion dollars in one day, unprecedented in the history of last 17 years of the exchange.

His close imperialist friends from US, UK and European Union have been forced to condemn this imposition of emergency, at least in word, for the first time since 9/11. Any gross violation of human rights in Pakistan since 9/11 was always an internal matter for the US imperialism. Even Australian imperialism is also condemning the sorry state of affairs of Pakistan and terming Musharraf “a dictator” for the first time, a fact Pakistani people knew for eight years.

But it seems General Musharraf is trying to show his angry eyes even to his bosses, the same way the religious fundamentalists are going out of the control of the military regime in Pakistan . “You can never control a monster for long time” it seems from the action of General Musharraf. The Netherlands has suspended the aid to Pakistan and the US is reviewing its relationship with the military regime, according to reports printed here.

The movement is still growing in all sphere of life. This is despite an unprecedented level of repression during the first five days of the emergency; the real name is martial law. The police entered the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan arrested over 80 social and political activists who were discussion their strategy to oppose the military action.

This was unheard in past, that police will enter in this most prestigious independent building in Lahore. Police went in the buildings of Lahore High Court and arrested over 700 advocates from the chambers of the judges, libraries, bar rooms and canteen. This was not done even under the most brutal martial law of General Zia Ul Haque in the eighties.

According to the home ministry in Punjab province, 1734 political activists, journalists and advocates have been arrested during the first four days of the martial law. Similar figures are stated by the administrations of the other three provinces. This is the most brutal repression of the opponents of the Musharraf regime during the last eight years. The arrested advocates and political activists have been charged with Anti Terrorist Act and they have been sent to far off places from their home towns. No one can meet them.

Similarly repressive treatment has been the case of those judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts of Pakistan who have courageously refused to take oath under the new Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). They are put under house arrest and their children are not allowed to go to school. Doctors have been refused entry to their houses where they were called for emergency treatments.

Police are raiding the houses of the advocates and political opponents of the military regime on a regular basis. Pakistan has become a police and military state in the real sense of the term. Police is seen everywhere in the main cities. There has been an increase of thefts and robberies during the last four days because police is only deployed to curb the opposition of the regime.

General Musharraf is now having more opposition than ever among the general public in Pakistan.

Musharraf is losing his internal and external support at a fast speed. He has almost lost the support of his most recent friend, Benazir Bhutto. The religious parties have been forced to de-link their long lasting relationship with the regime. The old alliances and formations are in crisis. This is a real crisis of the Pakistan state. The regime is becoming more isolated day by day. Now, it is only two political parties supporting the regime, it is Muslim League Q and Muhajir Qaumi Movement, both are partners of the military government. But both are hated more and more by ordinary citizens of Pakistan.

The path of repression to control the opposition is losing its weight day by day. The state can not repress all the growing voices against the regime. The implementation of a neoliberal agenda on a faster speed has been marked by daily price hikes and growing unemployment. It is brutal rule of the free market resulting the monopolizing the economy. The growth of capitalist economy has not touched to the bottom line and the bottom line is over 70 percent of the 160 million population.

Several activists of Awami Jamhoori Tehreek, the left alliance of seven political parties and groups are under arrest including Nisar Shah,the chairperson of Labour Party Pakistan. Abid Hassan Minto, the convener of AJT and president of National Workers Party has asked all the left forces to join the movement and fight the military regime. The Left is not any more an insignificant force in Pakistan . The student uprising against the regime is mainly the work of the left wing forces and radical social activists.

The regime can not last long. The movement is on and is growing. The advocates unprecedented courage has influenced many and they are taking the road of active opposition.

The opposition to military regime will be strengthening by the active solidarity of our friends and comrades outside Pakistan. The pickets of the Pakistani embassies all over the world will be one the most effective way of opposition. We are not alone, we know, Not arrested yet but facing dangerous situation

Day Seven of Underground Life


Farooq Tariq

 

The day seventh passed without my arrest despite several attempt by the police. During the last three days, we were able to hold a meeting of the leading members of Labour Party Pakistan, gave interviews to private television channels and to a private team working for CNN. We were able to fax daily press statements and activity reports of LPP to most of the news papers in Pakistan.

 

 

Unfortunately, Labour Party Pakistan chairperson Nisar Shah, also a lawyer, was arrested in Islamabad on 7 November along with some party activists after he led a demonstration of lawyers despite all the police threats.

Nisar Shah is an advocate in the High Court. He has had practices for 10 years in Karachi. After the devastating earthquake in October 2005, he moved for two years to Kashmir. He originally comes from Kashmir and his village was also hard hit by the earthquake: some of his close relatives were among the dead.

He was asked by Labour Relief Campaign to move back to Kashmir to look after the work of relief and reconstruction. He helped successfully build 100 homes within three months of the earthquake, the first to be completed with the help of Action Aid International and Shirkat Ghah, a radical women’s NGO in Pakistan. He is in the process of building the first Kashmir Labour Center at Paniola where a good piece of land is donated by locals for the construction of the first ever to be constructed labour center in Kashmir.

 

Jemima Khan led London protests over clampdown, London Nov.10

He was recently asked by LPP to be in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to help build the social and political movement. He had started working as an advocate in Islamabad to be more close to the advocates in movement. Here he is arrested after few days of public rebellion.

During the last three days of my underground life from 7-10 November to 10th today till this morning, I was able to stay three nights at friend’s house with utmost security measures. I was not on line from the house and did not made a single telephone contact from any number and sim from the house. I was walking to a marker around a kilometer to make telephone contacts and to open the mail for few minutes.

I would on my Blackberry and download all the emails at this place within minutes and then off the air.

Immediately after the first encounter on the police on 6th November, When I was just saved, I changed my name on the telephone line. I would call only very close comrades and friends from different sims within these days. This has helped to secure me for the time being. On 8th November, while I was walking back to my place while I had covered my head with cap and to some extent my face with growing beard, suddenly one police van stopped next to me and it was red traffic signal.

The police officer looked at my face with a full glimpse for few seconds. I thought he is trying to recognize my face that he might have seen some where. I was afraid that he will now come out. I had planned to run in case he comes out. In the mean time my face was just blank and I did not give him any impression of being afraid or saying him hello that I know him. I tread him with a full confidence of not knowing him at all. The drama was over in 20 seconds and I walked normally as I nothing has happened. As he moved away, I changed the rout immediately and started running in the next street to move away to another street.

The area I was staying was full police petrol all the time for many reasons. But It was only two times That I will come out of my place and walk to different net cafes for the email checking and writings. Although, my friend house had all the modern multi media facilities, but we had agreed that I will not be on line from the house.

We had also chalked out an escape plan in case of police at the house. He has told me several ways to leave the house from back doors. But I suggested that if police comes from the back sides as well, I will court arrest without resistance. We also discussed that while escaping from the back doors, I will try to do the room as no one was living here. I must tell you that I carry no bag, no cloths, wherever I go, I borrow cloths for the night from my friends and in the meantime, I get my cloth washed to wear it again next morning.

My friend knew that in many normal cases, when ever police come to house and do not find the person, they want to arrest, they take the house boss, the house made or any house adult apart from the women. My friend still took the risk and did not for a single moment tried to make me aware that he is doing something extra ordinary in my case.

The good news within three days was the changing attitude of Benazir Bhutto about the present with the present military regime. She has tried in exile to deal for a power sharing formula with military regime. But while in Pakistan, there was suicidal attack on her rally leaving over 200 dead. There was a massive negative campaign by the chief minister of Punjab against Benazir Bhutto during the time. Then Musharraf announced the emergency on 3rd November without her consent apparently. Most of the arrested advocates were from her party. It was all two much. While the first three days, arrests were made of any PPP activists but it all changed with Benazir coming openly against the military regime on emergency.

Her changing attitude was welcome by us in press releases and I announced in the media that LPP will participate with the long March planned for 13th November by PPP from Lahore to Islamabad. Although we had a severe criticism of her polices during the last months, because of soft corner about the regime, but we did go for the so-called conspiracies theories about Benazir and Musharraf being friends but hypocritically opposing each other to restore the respect of Benazir as a popular leader and the one who fight for democracy in any case.

Benazir oppositional statements against the regime have meant arrests of hundreds of PPP activists and their houses raided all over. It meant that Musharraf loosing friends and the opposition is growing.

On 9th November, when we would have been holding our fourth national conference, seven of us traveled hours to meet each other for a meeting at safe place to chart out our future strategies. We faxed press releases, invited a team of television team working for several channels including CNN to interview us and film how we are working in underground. They had made a contact with a friend to make a film of the activist working in under ground. They filmed our deserted but functioning office in the center of Lahore and they came to us. We have to take extra ordinary safety measures to bring them safely to the place we were working. After the filming of our activities within a room and a chat with us and not of the area or the house, we decided to leave the place immediately to avoid any unpleasant incident. But these two were our trusted friends for long time.

Earlier on day, I went to my home for 15 minutes after my partner Shahnaz told me that my son Abdullah is missing me very much. This was done after making sure that no one from the police in uniform or in plain cloths are around the place. I was here after seven days even I was in the same city Lahore. They were all happy and in absolute high spirit. No complaints and no hard talk. My son (7) asked me to stay home but When I explained what would happened, he still did not agree and told me that I will speak to you. But my daughter Mashal told me it will be ok and you can leave. In all seven days, I spoke once a day with my partner on telephone briefly. I changed my cloths and left happily.

I have changed my outlook after I was to a hairdressing person on 8th November after the chance meeting with a police officer. Although I had not many hairs anyhow but now it is totally different. It had not make much difference to my outlook but I had to do something, may be to satisfy myself alone.

There were some pleasant moments on 8th November afternoon when BBC and CNN were back to the air in Pakistan for the time being. I say Lucy Dousset of BBC broadcasting live programme from Islamabad. She only comes to a country with a grave situation and her arrival is an indication of the seriousness of the situation. I was happy to see LPP chairperson chanting slogans in Islamabad before his arrest. They tried to interview Asma Jahanghir at her place where is detained but only could speak for a few moment before they were whisked away by police. I got a message from Asma yesterday that I be in underground in any case and organize the movement.

Happy to see today’s papers with LPP news items welcoming the long march of PPP, condemning all the arrests, demanding an immediate release and solidarity with the striking media people. The LPP news printed in daily Waqat today is an appeal to all the trade unions, working class and peasantry to join the advocate movement. First of such appeal appearing the main news media after the emergency is imposed. We have to rely on the print media for promoting our ideas rather than on electronic media which is off the air.

I also contacted some of the main trade union leaders to be involved in the campaign. Maybe some positive response will come. Some of the trade union leaders in Karachi have already been arrested. A trade unions, left parties and radical social movement in Karachi on 7th November has condemned the imposition of emergency and decided to participate in the movement.

On 9th November, our left alliance Awami Jamhoori Thereek meeting in Lahore could not agree on a day of action but agree to mobilize the masses. One of our leading comrades attended the meeting and put forward an idea of a day of united action across Pakistan. Two of the main leaders and members central committee of AJT, Yousaf Masti Khan (National Workers Party) and Nisar Shah (Laour Party Pakistan) are already in jail. Police is raiding the houses of many AJT leaders. Bilal Minto, son of Abid Hassan Minto the president of National Workers Party and convener of AJT has spent three days in jail before he was released alongside with other 70 social activists. He is teacher at elite university Lahore University of Management and Sciences (LUMS). The arrest of the three radical teachers alongside with him sparked a movement of students at the university.

According to one press report, over 5000 have been arrested so far in the movement. There are not enough places in the jails to accommodate all the political prisoners. Temporary camps have been set up in different jails. Many private houses have been declared as sub jails to put the prisoners. The prisoners are not been allowed visits by their relatives. No private food allowed for these prisoners. While I had been a recent guest at different jails during the last three months, I could imagine very well the plight of these arrested ones. Our hearts are with them. Sacrifices for democracy and socialism will not go in vain. We will get rid of the military dictatorship soon; I am convinced by the recent developments. How? We do not know but we will do it through our mass movement and sacrifices.

But we need to know more of it.


************

 

More raids on Labour Party Pakistan activists, Left wing leaders still in jail

Day ten of underground life

 

BY: Farooq Tariq

 

During the last three days, the Lahore police have been very busy raiding the homes of several LPP activists. The home of Afzal Soaraya, secretary of the Labour Party Punjab has been raided several times and the home of Maqsood Mujahid, a member of the LPP’s national committee has also been the target of regular police visits. They have also stopped my vehicle several times while my children are being dropped at school.

 

Nisar Shah Advocate, LPP chairperson, has been charged with the Anti-Terrorist Act and several others charges. He is at present in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi, along with other political prisoners.

 

Yousaf Masti Khan, senior vice president of the National Workers Party and central committee member of the AJT, a left-wing alliance, along with Hasil Bazinjo secretary of the National Party and several other trade union leaders are kept in th Karachi jail. They are facing treason charges and were arrested at the Karachi Press Club after a demonstration of left-wing and trade union activists.

 

Asma Jahnghir, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, remains under house detention at her Lahore residence. I got a message from her “ok will pass this on. Keep underground. No bail this time.” I had informed her about the arrest of Nisar Shah. She represented me as at the Lahore Anti-Terrorist Court on 28th September 2007 and got me released on bail. Now releasing a person on bail has become more difficult.

 

It is estimated that over 5000 political activists are behind bars on 13th November, 10 days after the emergency was imposed. Lahore seems a deserted city; many ordinary people are totally against the actions of the military regime. I was told by some friends who were in the markets that there is weak thin business activity. Many shopkeepers were saying that it is time Musharraf must die, “There is no other alternative way to get rid of him” most were saying with utmost seriousness.

 

Yesterday I visited my home town, Toba Tek Singh. I was told there was no one left in sympathy with the military regime. Many told me that they respect the judges who refused to take the oath. I could not walk freely but I met some friends and family members.

 

The LPP is planning that I contest elections for the national parliament from this town. I feel that it is useless activity to take part in the election under an emergency, which is really martial law. The election was announced by General Musharraf on 11th November to pacify the international criticism. It is joke that the election will take place while all the opposition parties are underground or their activists in jail. It is joke to hold elections in the presence of judges who have taken an oath of faithfulness to the military regime.

 

General Musharraf has asked his crony Election Commission to prepare for election before 8th of January 2008. They want to hold a general election at a time when utmost repression is going on. The plan is very simple, “Opposition behind bars and government candidates with full freedom for election campaign.” This is mockery of the whole democratic process.

 

Labour Party Pakistan has not yet taken a formal decision to boycott the proposed general elections but we are in consultation with other Left groups and parties to develop a common position.  We are holding an emergency meeting of leading comrades in Lahore today, 13th November, and in consultation with others on the telephone before we take a formal decision.

 

General Musharraf seems more isolated after an all- out attack by Benazir Bhutto while in Lahore yesterday. She was put under house arrest as well. She went around the city to mobilize the party activists, determined to hold a rally today. But hundreds of police have been deployed around her residence and her phone lines cut. She refused to accept an eight-day detention order. The order has been pasted at on the wall of her house. They want to show the world that they act according to procedures but what about thousands who have been arrested without any warrant or detention order? There are still hundreds behind bars who have not yet been formally charged.

 

Benazir changing her political position in favor of democratic forces is a welcome sign. I do not agree with Imran Khan President of Tehreek Insaaf (justice movement) who is still doubtful of Benazir intention of opposing the military regime. He will ultimately come to the conclusion that the democratic forces have to unite on one platform to launch a more effective struggle against the military dictator.

 

Some trade union leaders have issued press releases opposing General Musarraf’s emergency. They include Khurshid Ahmad, president of the Pakistan Workers Confederation; Yousaf Baluch, chairman of the National Trade Union Federation, Choudry Gulzar Ahmad, secretary of the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation and so on. While there is great anger among the working class, workers from different sectors have not yet demonstrated opposition to the regime.

 

I have learnt to some extent in underground. I have not made any blunder that could give the state oppressive machinery a chance to arrest me.  I am not staying more than a night at a friend’s house. I am changing my positions now and then and I have taken a new name to use when I to speak to comrades.

 

On 11th November night, I had a chance meeting with Lal Khan, the leader of Ted Grant and Alan Woods’s group in Pakistan. We had worked together in exile (1978-86) and started our Struggle Group together in The Netherlands. In 1991, we had parted ways over the question of building a revolutionary party in Pakistan. His supporter wanted to remain in the Pakistan Peoples Party and do enterism in order to build the group. I was in minority and argued for a new independent political party. It was an unpleasant split in what had been a very committed group. But we had to face the reality. They are still part of the PPP while we have started building the Labour Party Pakistan.

 

After 16 years his hairs has grown grey and he no longer had his youthfulness. We had a good but brief chat on the present political situation. He was of the view that the regime is very shaky and anything can happen. He recited one of my favorite poems, which I used to hear him recite during the exile period: “Peshawar Qatloo Tum Sapahi Naheen” (“Of you soldiers, you are not professional soldiers but professional killers”). He seemed happy to see me. And I was also, although I recognize we have difference opinions on several questions. But we had no moment to regret that evening. One of my close friends had invited me to share ideas with some friends in a safe meeting place.

 

On 12th November, I wrote an article for our Weekly paper, Mazdoor Jeddojuhd (Workers Struggle), and faxed it to the office. The paper is still being printed regularly with our ideas and reports. It has been closed by every successive military regime since it began in 1980, including the present Musharraf regime. Very young activists, mainly women, have taken the responsibility to prepare the paper right in the newspape3r office. Very brave actions by these young women activists.

 

After writing the article in the early morning, I had to  travel four hours from Lahore to go to my home town. It was the second anniversary of my father’s death and the family was all together. My brothers and sisters did not ask me to come but I decided to travel and saw all the family members. They are all supportive and helpful. I traveled back to Lahore last night to attend an important meeting today and share some ideas with some comrades. Staying in a small city is quite dangerous and many know me well so decided to leave the city as soon as possible.

Day 11: Run for your life

By Farooq Tariq


On November 14, at around 4.45pm, I had just got off a public bus and went to a net cafe. The owner told me that speed is very slow and there is no use sitting here. I went to another one, not far from the first place, the same answer. I came back to the main road to fetch a bus or take a rickshaw; I had not made up my mind where to go from here.

A police van came with several policemen sitting in front and on the back seats. I saw them and tried to hide myself. The police constable sitting on the front seat and the driver were the same ones who had arrested me from my home on June 3, 2007. I immediately recognized them and had gone two feet behind a rickshaw.


The police constable recognized me as well but maybe it took him few more seconds to come to conclusion that it was me. I had a Peshawari cap on my head and Punjabi Parna (a sort of long cotton shawl to cover your head and body) on my shoulder. I was also wearing new glasses, not my usual glasses.

The hat was just given to me by a comrade where we had meeting in the morning. As I was leaving the meeting place the comrade told me that the present arrangement to change my looks was insufficient, ``why do not you take a Peshawari cap’’. I said yes but I cannot find one. He said there is one at my place and my father used it. He asked his father for permission to give it to me and the old man was quite happy to assist me in this way.


As I went to the back of the rickshaws, I saw the constable asking the other to get off the police van. Here I had to decide what to do. It took maybe part of a second in my mind to decide to run for my life. It was the quickest reaction time. I started running and the police constables then jumped in their van to follow me.


I turned to one street an then to the next one, while turning inside to the first street available from the main road, I saw the police van coming to this side. This was one of my finest fast running, not on my usual running machine with 12 kilometre an hour, but may be over 20 kilometre an hour. I turned to second on and to the third one. I did not know the area very well. I had been to the area but not like this. I did not know where to go forward. People in the street were watching with surprise what was happening. I was hoping to see an open door and jump inside, but there was not one in sight. It was like a kilometre run.


I stopped for a second and suddenly, there was a person saying to me, ``Hello Farooq, how are you’’, he recognized me. He was walking in the street while I stopped for a while. I recognized him but the name did not come to my mind. I told him please get me inside a home immediately, police are after me. He did not hesitate for a second and it was like the third house that he asked me come in. He closed the door immediately and asked me to sit in a room. The door of the house closed but was not locked so we just went in for no time.

Aslam (a fake name) was here as teacher for two children. He had just finished his teaching and was leaving for his place. I knew him from the early ‘90s. He was an industrial worker and then went to study and completed his masters degree, a rare thing to happen here for a worker, and was a regular professor in a college at the present time. He used to come to our study circles. I had lost contact and did not even remember him name when we met yesterday. He was happy to save me for a while but worried what if the home boss came to know who I am. In the meantime, we heard the police van passing by. I was offered a glass of water.

He started teaching the two young students again and posing that something was missing from that day of the tuition. We needed that few decisive minutes to pass by safely. After fifteen minutes, he told me that there is another comrade living in this area. He has built a house recently, why do not we go there and you can leave afterwards. Aslam went out to see if the police were still there. After being satisfied, we left the house to go the next street. The comrade was there, fortunately, and he did not recognize me. As soon as I took off my cap, he was bloody pleased and we had good tea and chat at his place.


Two years earlier, one of my closest friends from childhood, Mohammed Amjad, told me in Amsterdam that I was going to die soon. He was always very straight to friends. Amjad was one of the original “gang of four” who started our group Struggle in 1980 during our exile period. He opted to stay in the Netherlands and was running a Pizzeria restaurant in Amsterdam. He had checked my blood pressure, it was 160/110. My weight was around 89 kilograms and my belly was getting out of control. He said that I do not take care of my health. “How the revolution will come if you die early and not because God wanted it but because of your carelessness”, he warned me.


I always had good respect for him. I told him that I will do my best to change my shape and body. He gave me a machine to check my blood pressure. I bought an exercise machine and started running on it gradually to six kilometres day, sometimes on 12 kilometres an hour speed. It changed my life. I would get up early. No dizzy days, I was active like I was in the ‘70s and ‘80sw. I reduced my weight by seven kilograms and sustained it. Exercise has become part of my life, but with intervals of going to jail or visits.


It paid off yesterday. I was running like a teenager although I am 52 now. I was confident that they cannot catch me. I was doing my regular exercise maybe for this day alone. I had run for my life successfully.


I am not afraid of being arrested. I have faced police several times and was arrested without running. Most of my arrests were calculated risks. But now, my task is to organize the movement rather than going to jail as a defiant act by the LPP. Chairperson of the LPP Nisar Shah is already in jail. His arrest pictures made headlines internationally and at home. He was arrested while fighting with police and resisting. He kept the revolutionary traditions and culture of resistance set by the LPP and other revolutionaries during the last eight years in Pakistan and internationally.


But I do not want to be arrested at the time set by police and the state. Our effort is to set the agenda ourselves. Let us see how far this goes on.


It was around 5pm already. I called some friends from my new mobile. There was going to be a press conference at 4pm with the LPP main leadership present at the Lahore Press Club. I had called a comrade at 4.35pm to check if everything had gone alright. She told me that it is ok and there was good press present and no arrests made while they were coming to the press conference. The press conference was addressed by Abid Hasan Minto, convener of the Left Alliance and a very respected left-wing leader of Pakistan.

Around 2pm, while I was downloading my emails on my blackberry in a bus, I got a call from Asharaf Chadar, the police officer in charge of the LPP office area. He asked me what is planning of today’s activity. We had issued a press release of the press conference and possibility of a demonstration inside the Press Club building to avoid the arrests.

When I told about the press conference, he told me point blank, I will arrest everyone coming to the demonstration. I had some good personal relationship with this police officer. He was the one who had arrested me from my office on May 3 and kept me well at the police station for three days.

I asked him if he is ok and recovered and has come out of the hospital, he was injured on November 5 after the advocates retaliated to police tear-gassing. I also told him that we do not want police to beat us and we do not want to stone the police. He said ``Yes, I do not want that either but I am doing my job’’ and not pleasantly. I asked him not to arrest anyone coming for the press conference and I guarantee that there will be no demonstration today by us. I wanted to make sure that we are in the media on the question of the emergency and our strategies.


We agreed on this and I called the comrades to tell that they can have a safe press conference today, but do not go for the demonstration. The bus was running and I stopped my regular mobile and went off the next bus stop. I could not trust any police officer. It was this background that I wanted to check if everything had gone alright at the press conference and the police officer had kept his word. He had.

I left the area after an hour in a rickshaw and decided not to travel anymore on public buses. I have now made alternative arrangements to travel inside the city that is more secure and safe.

Earlier on in the day, some of the leading members of the LPP met and had a political discussion on the situation. It was agreed that the Musharaf dictatorship is becoming more and more isolated. He is been facing a lot of criticism at home and abroad. We agreed under such a repressive situation, the LPP will not take part in the coming elections but will be part of the movement to overthrow the regime. We agreed to welcome Benazir Bhutto’s pleasant U-turn against the military dictatorship and decided to contact the PPP for a broader front alongside with left and progressive forces. We also agreed on some actions.

We congratulated the young female activists who have produced the two editions of our weekly paper Workers Struggle despite all the threats and intimidation.


I had to be more careful after the arrest of Imran Khan and other political leaders during the day. The police are haunting all the political activists like anything.

Bhutto meets with Marxists and other civil society leaders.

The 14th day underground

Farooq Tariq

I got a call at 7pm on 16th November from Asma Jehanghir office, “you must come tonight at 9pm at her place for an important meeting”. Chairperson of the most prestigious social institution Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Asma Jehanghir was just released a day earlier from her house detention.

I had many second thoughts of going their. “Police must be there and so on”. But, then decided to go in any case. I knew that it is something very important that is why only two hours earlier I have been contacted.

While at Asma residence, a constable stopped me and asked why you have come. If I would have come in a car, he might not ask that question. But I was on a motorbike with my helmet on. I told him to open the gate and I am invited by Asma to come here. He reluctantly opened the gate.

Inside, there were all the sign of an important meeting. Private guard, HRCP staff and others were there to check who have come. I was immediately told by Nadeem Anthony, the public relation officer of Asma, that Benazir Bhutto is coming for meeting the civil society activists.

Inside the meeting room, there were several of close friends. Dr. Mehdi Hasan, a radical professor at a private university, he was instrumental in Farooq Sulehria radical shaping, Rabia Bajwa, the women advocate who has made headlines with her commitment to the advocate movement, My colleague and teacher in journalism from the seventies, Hussain Naqi, Fareda Shaheed, Gulnar and Mumtaz Khawar of Shirkat Ghah, a radical women NGO, Neelum Hussain from Seemorg, another women NGO, Journalist Abbas Rashid, Imtiaz Alam of South Asia Freem Medi Association (SAFMA), Samina Rehman and Rashid Rehman, aunt and father of Timur Reham of Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) Afrasayb Khatak of Awami National Party, leaders of Punjab Union of Journalists and several more were there.

Before Benazir Bhottu arrival, we were seated by Asma choice and I was among those sitting in the front row of 12.

Asma distributed a letter that was to be handed over to Benazir Bhutto titled “road map for democratic transition”. There was some discussion on the letter anf following 9 point agenda was approved

1- A democratic transition and a free and fair election are not possible under a government headed by General Musharaf in any capacity. He must resign from all offices forthwith along with the caretaker administration put in place by him.

2- The country must retune to constitutional rule for which the immediate lifting of the state of emergency and restoration of fundamental rights is a prerequisite.

3- The judiciary must be restored.

4- All curbs on media must end.

5- All detainees including judges, lawyers, political activists, students and human rights defenders must be released and charges dropped.

6- Amendments made to the 1952 Army Act by Musharaf must be immediately withdrawn.

7- An independent and credible Election Commission must be constituted.

8- The spread of violence by non-state actors across the country has to be effectively countered through all possible means within the ambit of the law.

9- An independent commission must be formed to investigate widespread incidents of Disappearances, Torture and Arbitrary detentions during the Musharaf period.

There was some analysis of the present situation as well in the letter. We had some more suggestion on the conditions of the working class and polices of the present regime, but it were explained that we are only focusing the present situation and do not want to present a long letter. The letter was unanimously accepted as letter from the civil society organizations and individuals.

Benazir Bhutto arrived and media wanted a talk earlier than the meeting proceedings could start. She spoke to them briefly. I was meeting her first time after 1998 when a similar but a brief group of civil society organization met her in Islamabad before she went into exile on the question of the Shariat Bill that Nawaz Sharif government wanted to introduce in the parliament. We asked her to lend her support against this bill. It was a good meeting and we had a brief chat between two of us as she recognized me from my days of exile.

Benazir Bhottu was now an aging politician with some white hairs and looked tired. The meeting started with Asma explaining the reasons for this meeting. Benazir Bhutto said she has come here to listen rather to speak and wanted to know the opinion of the civil society. During the brief speech, she emphasized the formation of a new political alliance against the military regime. She also spoke the deferent aspects of the 1973 constitution that has to be reviewed.

Benazir Bhutto told us about her contacts with different political parties’ heads and her difficulties in forming an immediate alliance. “I have two hours talk with Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister, yesterday and agreed on many points” she said. She also spoke her commitments to democracy and Pakistan. She referred to her talks with Musharaf and told us that it was for a smooth transition to democracy but Musharaf did not abide by his promises and now there is no question of talks with him.

She read the letter and said that she will come up with a detailed reply to this but she agrees the most of it. She made a categorical statement in favor of the restoration of judiciary, “they have shown a way forward and we must be with them. We can not leave it to the advocates but we must have a political movement as well” she said.

There was nearly hour and half of questions, contributions and her reactions. It was mainly focused on policies and also on the building of the united movement.

I welcomed her detour and told her that it is very welcome detour. We were all unhappy and critical about your talks with the military regime. But that is over now and we are happy. She smiled on my “detour” word.

I told her about the sheer corruption under the present military government, plight of the working class and peasantry, the price hike, the land mafia, the Okara struggle of the peasants, the arrests and fight back and need for a broader alliance to fight the regime. I said we do not trust at all the American and we have to build a movement to overthrow this government. I told her some figures of price hike and said the issues of poverty, unemployment and labor conditions have not become your priorities. You have only reached the middle class but working class has to come in the field. They are not in the movement because there is not much in your program for them.

She heard me patiently and said yes, I agree with you on the points and it is a question of bread and butter that has to be the main issue. There were several others who referred to these points and it was a live discussion.

I left at the last moment of Benazir Bhutto sum up to meet Naheed Khan, her secretary and a former member of parliament, who was outside the meeting hall to take some telephone calls,. We had a brief chat and she was happy to see me again. We had some time together in exile during the early eighties. She invited us for the meeting of political parties on 21st November in Karachi. I told her that over 200 activists from AJT, the Left alliance, have been arrested and still more to go jail. While I was still talking to Naheed Khan, someone asked her to rush to Benazir Bhutto car as she was already in the car.

The road out side was blocked by all the police vans that were there for security of Benazir Bhutto.

At the meeting, it seemed that most of the participants are reading my underground life stories. Every one I spoke asked me not to be arrested and organize the fight. A lot of references were made towards my great escapes.

Earlier on the day, I went to attend a meeting of Lahore Social Forum but I was late for the meeting and meeting was over. They were surprised to see me there. I met some of them and discussed the present situation.

Several political activists and advocates have been released on bail yesterday but the campaign goes on. More arrests are made and some arrested one are being released on bail. The most pleasant surprise came from the University of Punjab, where for the second day running, thousands of students are demonstrating against the behaviors of Islami Jamiat Tulaba (Islamic Association of Students) linked to Jamat-I_Islami. The IJT leadership kidnapped Imran Khan and then handed over him to police. There is rebellion at the campus after 30 years of religious fundamentalist occupation. We discussed some measure to intervene in this movement.

The 18th Day Underground - More arrests and repression against journalists in Pakistan

Farooq Tariq

 

The best thing that happened during the week was a defiant demonstration of women belonging to Labour Party Pakistan. On 19th November, 14 brave women went to the busiest area of Lahore demanding an immediate end of martial law in Pakistan.

They all were wearing black ribbons of their heads with slogans like no to Martial law, release political prisoners and solidarity with advocates and media.

One newspaper Daily Express Lahore reported on 20th November that LPP women waited for over 30 minutes for police but police did not turn up. The paper reported a disruption of the traffic on several roads because of the demonstration.

It was very well planned and every aspect went according to the planning. A demonstration in Lahore at any road means an immediate arrest and baton charge.

We had discussed the plan of this demonstration with a title “women against martial law”. It was decided that only those women should be at the demonstration that are ready to be arrested. They should not be arrested peacefully but a resistance will be offered to police. There will be no escape plan and no one should run away from the scene. The vehicles will only drop women at the place but will not be there to pick them up. This was to safe the comrades who were driving them. No male comrade will accompany them. But we will make sure that the demonstration is well documented. It will be all women show.

It was also agreed that the demonstration will last for half an hour, if police arrive then there will be resistance till the arrests. But we will not wait for the police after half an hour and would disperse afterwards.

It was discussed and agreed that two comrades will contact the media and will only disclose the place half an hour before the demonstration. We will not send any written invitation to the media. In the media, there is a large infiltration of the intelligence agencies and we did not want to take a risk that police should be there before our arrival. To our utmost surprise, no one from the media informed the police and the media was there in large numbers even before the demonstrators arrived.

There was another demonstration of Tehreek Insaaf of Imran Khan at the same time not far from this place. The TI had informed the media about their demonstration. A large number of police was there and as they arrived at Regal Chouck on main Mall Road, six of them were immediately arrested. Police did not expect another demonstration on the same time and they had no clue. The result was that it took time for police to arrive the place.

I waited eagerly at a safe place with another comrade to hear the outcome of the demonstration away from the place of demonstration. I was called by a journalist after 10 minutes of the demonstration telling me of women bravery and that there are intelligence agencies persons here taking photographs of the demonstration, but there is no police yet. He was pleased that many people are stopping and are waving to the demonstrators in happiness. Another journalist told me later that they were looking like Palestinian women fighting a repressive regime with utmost bravery.

A comrade in guise of a press photographer told me later that another journalist told him that 30 minutes gone and the women are still chanting slogans. Are they waiting for police to be arrested? This comrade immediately realized the timing and pointed to the watch hinting to one leading comrade at the demonstration.

She then declared to the press and to the people gathered at the place that we are leaving now, but will be back with more force, we are here to stay and fight, and we will not tolerate the military regime. We are working class women fighting a military regime and we have not much to loose but our chains.

No one was arrested much to our pleasant surprise. It was making a point without many losses. The demonstration has left a very good moral on all the comrades. It has given an extraordinary courage to all our male comrades. They will be on the move and you will hear that too. It was the first show of defiance by a Left group in Lahore where the level of repression is much greater than other parts of the country. The women led the way.

The same evening we had a meeting of leading comrades to discuss the political developments, the regime tactics and the responses of other political parties and our future course of action.

Another action of honor is been taken by Awami Thereek, one component of our Left Alliance the Awami Jamhoori Tehreek AJT (Peoples Democratic Movement). [2] Till 21st November, over 300 activists of Awami Tehreek are been arrested in Sind province. They have a strategy of courting arrest at five district headquarters of Sind on the name of “fill the jails”. Every day five activists of AT are presenting arrests against the imposition of martial law. I had been several times in contact with the leadership of AT to discuss the outcome of the movement.

AT is mainly a Sind based radical organization and is led by Rasul Bukhsh Paleejo. Once in 2005, General Musharaf was asked by a journalist about his favorite politician in Pakistan. He named Rasul Bukhsh Paleejo as his most favorite politician in Pakistan. Paleejo has spent seen years in jail under General Zia Ul Had dictatorship in the eighties. At the age of 79, he is still very active.

On 18th November, we also heard the news of the arrest of Akhtar Hussain the former president of Sind High Court and secretary general of National Workers Party, another component of AJT. He was picked up from his house in Karachi early in the morning. Comrade Nasir Mansoor lives nearby. He went to the police station where Akhtar Hussain was kept in custody and enquired about the situation and showed solidarity with him.

During the last four days, since I wrote “meeting Benazir Bhutto", I have been little more open than I did during the early 10 days of the martial law. But there is terrible feeling of being watched all the times. I always look behind, who is coming.

Yesterday morning, I had to fax an article to Daily Waqt (Time), a rising new bourgeoisie paper in Urdu, who asked me to write about the movement of students in University of Punjab for its editorial pages, I went out to a shop to do this. While I was there faxing the seven pages, a police van came and stopped outside. I was terrified inside. The police van had not come for me but they went for lunch to the restaurant next door. But sheer presence of police van made me very sensitive. A lot of thoughts, why they have come, why they are not coming inside to arrest me, who have informed them, where is the mistakes, is it the mobile I am using, is it the motorbike I am traveling and so on. I am becoming more of a psychological case. I am sometime up to my neck. Being in underground to hide myself is an easy option but that is what I am not supposed to do. I am in underground to play a role, to meet the comrades, contact them, talk to media if possible, motivate the contacts and party comrades, networking with all the friends inside and outside, replying to emails. Writing interviews, articles in Urdu and English etc for our weekly Mazdoor Jeddojuhd and other papers.

One of my foolish but lovely friends from Netherlands wrote me a mail in Dutch language and expected me to reply in the same language. I read and understood but the ability to write Dutch is no more. I had spent eight years in exile in Netherlands. I do not want to be in exile anymore.

The article on University of Punjab was printed today on 21st November, analyzing the recent revolt of students against the religious fundamentalist students who kidnapped Imran Khan and then handed over to police. I exposed the fascist nature of these religious fundamentalists and wrote about the future of the movement. The article is already very well read and the purpose served. Daily Waqat has over 40,000 circulations at present. It was to make contact with the new leadership of the student uprising and that was done today. I had been a student of this University in the seventies. It was marvelous to see over few thousand students demonstrating against the religious fundamentalist control of the University.

Today, I was invited for an interview with private channel AAJ (today). This was about the restriction on the media. Voice of America radio did an interview as well on telephone. I also gave an interview to Geo who is at present off air under the pressure of the military regime. Its transmission was aired from Dubai, but under the pressure of the military regime, the Dubai government asked GEO to close their transmission. Geo is the most popular private television channel in Pakistan. People are very angry and are speaking against the military regime.

The Punjab Union of Journalist (PUJ) invited me to a meeting this afternoon held at Lahore Press Club. This is the area where most of the demonstrations are taking place. A lot of police and intelligence agencies are always around the building. A journalist comrade imported me inside safely. I think no one noticed as I went in. The meeting was to discuss the yesterday beating and arrest of journalists at Karachi.

On 20th November, the police in Karachi arrested over 180 journalists who wanted to take out a protest. They were severely beaten up. A Karachi LPP leading comrade Sher Baz Khan along with several other comrades was with them. He was beaten up by police with the journalist and now has a broken hand; a fracture in hand will heal in weeks to come.

I refused initially to go to Lahore Press Club building for the meeting but then decided to take the risk. After two hours of meeting inside with food and tea, I had to climb a wall to leave the building from back doors. This escape rout from the Press Club was not known to me but known to most journalist and was known as “thief door”.

While I was still inside the meeting, the news came from Faisalabad that over 20 journalists are arrested and six of them are seriously injured while they were inside the Press Club building. Police used tear gas and baton charge against the protesting journalist. After Karachi, same repressive tactics were used in Faisalabad. We condemned the act and spoke to some journalists at Faisalabad to express our solidarity.

While I was at my place of stay for the evening, I got a call to speak at a press conference with Hafeez Khan, Imran Khan’s cousin, at Imran Khan home. Imran Khan is on hunger strike for the last three day at Dera Ghazi Khan Jail, around 14 hours from Lahore. He has not taken any food since and is on very weak health. We offered our full solidarity and promised to raise it everywhere, but I told them that I can not come for security reasons. We also informed the press to attend the press conference.

Public Again after 20 days of underground life

Farooq Tariq

Since 23rd November, I am working normally. Most of the political prisoners were released and police raids were rare.

According to the Musharaf dictatorship, on 28th November, there were only 37 political prisoners in different jails and rest are released. The 37 include most of the main leaders of the advocate’s movement. I remained underground for 20 days and avoided arrest while still active in the movement.

This is a temporary interval. The dictatorship has got what they wanted. They wanted to get rid of the independent judiciary before they could announce the general elections and before general Musharaf final decision on his election as president in uniform. To do that, they had to arrest over 10,000 political, social trade unions activists and revolting advocates.

They had a positive decision by the hand picked judges of the Supreme Court on the issue of the president ship of general Musharaf. The dictatorship has even allowed Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister of Pakistan, to return after seven years of exile. Saudi Arabian kingdom has played some mediatory role. The details of the deal have yet to surface.

On 27th November, Labour Party Pakistan organized two events for the release of the political prisoners. At Karachi, over 60 activists of LPP were in front of Karachi Press Club for a vigil to demand release of political prisoners and solidarity with the journalists. The picture of the Karachi LPP vigil was printed all over Pakistan in front and back pages of most of the main newspapers. The majority of the sixty activists of LPP were women at Karachi vigil.

On the same day in Lahore, over 200 activists took out a rally to protest the ongoing arrest of the advocate leaders and to express solidarity with the struggling media. They went to Lahore Press Club and then to the office of GEO, the private television channel that is still off air under the direct orders of the military dictatorship. Surprisingly, there were no arrests at the two events. But in Lahore, a large contingent of police was accompanying the demonstrators. At Lahore demonstration, there were over 80 women participants.

I could not participate in Lahore demonstration as I was in Toba Tek Singh, my home town, for the filing of the nomination papers to contest election for the national and provincial parliaments. Although the Awami Jamhoori Tehreek, the left alliance, has decided to boycott the elections under the present conditions of repression, but LPP wanted to make the boycott more effective.

The strategy was discussed and approved by the leading bodies of the LPP to file the nomination paper, get it accepted and then boycott the procedure after launching a mass campaign to boycott it. The Musharaf dictatorship has announced general election to be held on 8th January 2008 after the imposition of the emergency and after getting rid of the independent judges.

The elections are just a farce under the present repressive conditions. We had done some home work for my elections at Tobe Tek Singh including opening an office at one of the main area of the city. We had organized several meetings including one of the women where over 150 women participated. We had planned the fourth national conference at the city but had to postpone it for the second time. So it was not a good strategy to boycott the elections and do nothing.

For the national assembly constituency number 93, 12 candidates including myself have submitted papers to contest the elections. They are from Pakistan peoples Party, Muslim League Nawaz and Muslim league Q, Mutihida Muslis Ammal the religious parties’ alliance, Labour Party Pakistan and several independents. I went along with some of the senior leaders of the Left alliance to submit my papers to the returning officer who is an additional district judge. You had to be a graduate to contest the general elections. Less than one percent of the total population of Pakistan is graduates.

I was in Toba Tek Singh for two days and met some of the local party activists and friends to chart out the strategy. They all agree to boycott the elections.

Today on 18th November, I went to Lahore High Court to meet some of the leaders of the advocate movement. I met Sarfraz Cheema, the 32 year old secretary of Lahore High Court Bar Association who spent 17 days in jail and was released few days before. He told me about the brutalities of the police against the advocates. The police entered in their office to destroy the computer and fax machine on 5th November. Over 700 advocates were arrested on the day including him.

Later on the day, I spoke in one of Action Aid Pakistan seminar on poverty alleviation in association with Women Workers Help Line. The other speakers included Dr. Mubashar Hasan the former federal finance minister under Bhutto, Dr. Abdul Hai Baluch president of National Party, Rabia Bajwa advocate, Hasan Nasir from Revolutionary democratic Workers Committee, a part of Left Alliance and Bushra Khaliq secretary Women Workers Help Line. Earlier, Fikre Zwadie, the country director of Action Aid Pakistan welcomed the speakers for this political session of the seminar. All the speakers were against the emergency and for a boycott of the general elections.

Dr. Mubashar Hasan commented in his speech that Farooq has been arrested all the times because of the repressive nature of the regime.

I must thank all my friends and family in Lahore who has helped me in the most difficult period of repression. Without their full scale help, I would have not been out of jail. I also thank LPP members and supporters for all the help they could lend.

I also must thank all those friends and supporters from overseas for reading my mails and some time commenting with encouraging words. They include John Pilger (UK), Pierre Rousset (France), Tariq Ali (UK), Eric Toussaint (Belgium), John Hunt (UK), Phil Frampton (UK), Peter Boyle (Australia), Sue Bolton (Australia), Merrilyn Treasure (Australia), Silla Vriesma Netherlands), Elisabeth van Hoval (Netherlands), Lidy Nicpal (Philipine), Srilata Sawminathan (India), Roger Silverman (UK), John Reiman (USA), John Throne (USA), Richard Miller (USA), Ahmad Shawki (USA), Roland Ekbom (Sweden), Jan Hodann (Sweden), Toni Usman (Norway), Farooq Sulehria (Sweden), Asim Ali Shah (UK), Michel Eggermont ()Netherland), Hans Van Heijningen (Netherlands), Joost Kircz (Netherlands), Sue Bolton (Australia), Saqlain Imam (UK), Pam Curry (Scotland), Comrade Shahid (USA), Roger Silverman (UK), Sandeep Chachra (Thailand), John Samuel Thailand), Rashid Titumir (Bhangladesh), Taimur Rehman (UK), Frank Hazur (India), Kuldeep Kumar (India), Mohan Kumar (Australia), Tarek Fatah Canada), Alvin Dizon (Philipine), Chetan Patel (UK), Toqeer Ahmad (Canada), Dianne Feeley (USA), Qamarulah (UAE), Linda Waldren and Ray (Australia), Kenji Kunitomi (Japan), Dr. Mark (Russia), Silvana (Italy) and many more I like to mention but it is getting already a long list.

I also like to thank all those who have spread the news to other email lists, addresses and website. I have seen dozens of websites that have pasted these letters written during my underground time.

Good Books intends to publish these entire letters in a booklet with the only one picture of mine in a change get up that was taken by one of my close friend when I arrived to spend the night at their place.

I wrote all these stories in a very light manner with personal incidents and some political points. I have met many friends during the last one week in Pakistan who have read all these stories and were happy that they were in picture what was happening.

Lifting Emergency is a farce

Struggle to continue until the end of the Musharaf dictatorship

A Labour Party Pakistan statement

The Labour Party Pakistan rejects the claim of General Musharaf that the emergency has been lifted on 15th December. It is lifted with constitution amended with all the repressive measures protected by a decree. General Musharaf actions within 42 days of “emergency” can not be challenged by any court and it does have to be ratified by two third majorities by the future parliament.

This is just a farce. We condemn this dictatorial maneuvering and ask working class of Pakistan and internationally to continue its struggle till the overthrow of General Musharaf.

The lifting of emergency is littered with over 10,000 arrests of lawyers, political activists and students. Many thousands were forced to stay away from their houses under the threat of being arrested. Many hundreds were brutally beaten up and hundreds were injured. Top judges and advocate leaders are still in detentions.

The main aim of the emergency was to get rid of independent judiciary. That mission is accomplished with new hand picked judges installed at the Supreme Court and High Courts. All these repressive, dictatorial, undemocratic, brutal and unjustified action of general Musharaf from 3rd November is been “legalized”.

The real name of emergency was martial law; a rule imposed by the military commander in chief can only be described as martial law. No demonstrations were allowed. All the electronic and print media was put under watch and several were closed down completely. The private televisions channels were off the air for a month and GEO, the most popular private television channel, is still off the air till today.

The emergency was not a bumper on the road to democracy but a wall erected to stop the path to democracy. The wall is still is there.

The calling of elections under the emergency rule was another political maneuver to dodge the international growing opposition to military rule. The general elections on 8th January with all the repressive measure protected by amended constitution does not give an equal opportunity to all those interested in elections. The elections under the new care takers government from the same Musharaf supporters and hand picked judiciary and Election Commission will not be fair and free.

The boycott of these elections is the only option left for genuine opposition to General Musharaf. The boycott response of 25 political parties to the call of Pakistan Bar Council is the right strategy to further the struggle for restoration of democracy and independence of judiciary. Without the restoration of the judges who refused to take oath under PCO, there could be no guarantee for free and fair general elections.

Labour Party Pakistan will fight along other political parties and civil society organization for an immediate end of general Musharaf rule. Its candidates for national and provincial assemblies have taken back the nomination papers. 

Lifting Emergency is a farce

Struggle to continue till the end of Musharaf dictatorship

A Labour Party Pakistan statement

The Labour Party Pakistan rejects the claim of general Musharaf that emergency is been lifted on 15th December. It is lifted with constitution amended and all the repressive measures protected by decree. General Musharraf’s actions within 42 days of the “emergency” can not be challenged by any court and would have to be ratified by a two-third majority in the future parliament.

This is just a farce. We condemn this dictatorial maneuvering and ask the working class of Pakistan and internationally to continue its struggle until General Musharraf is overthrown.

The lifting of emergency is littered with the arrests of over 10,000 lawyers, political activists and students. Many thousands were forced to stay away from their houses under the threat of being arrested. Many hundreds were brutally beaten up and hundreds injured. Top judges and lawyer are still in detentions.

The main aim of the emergency was to get rid of an independent judiciary. That mission is accomplished, with new hand-picked judges installed at the Supreme Court and High Courts. All these repressive, dictatorial, undemocratic, brutal and unjustified action of General Musharraf from 3rd November has been “legalized.”

The real name of emergency was martial law; a rule imposed by the military commander-in-chief can only be described as martial law. No demonstrations were allowed. All the electronic and print media was put under watch and several were closed down completely. The private televisions channels were off the air for a month and GEO, the most popular private television channel, is still silent.

The emergency was not a bump on the road to democracy but a wall erected to stop the path to democracy. The wall is still is there.

Calling elections under emergency rule is another political maneuver to dodge the growing international opposition to military rule. The general election on 8th January, with all the repressive measure protected by the amended constitution, does not provide an equal opportunity to all. Under the new caretaker government, and with a hand-picked judiciary and Election Commission, the election will not be fair and free.

Boycotting these elections is the only option for genuine opposition to General Musharraf. The boycott response of 25 political parties to the call of Pakistan Bar Council is the right strategy to further the struggle for restoration of democracy and the independence of judiciary. Without the restoration of the judges who refused to take the oath under the Provisional Constitutional Ordinance there can be no guarantee for free and fair general elections.

November 10 / 11, 2007

An Interview with Farooq Tariq

A View from the Pakistani Left

By RON JACOBS,

Counter Punch

In recent days, the already tenuous political situation in Pakistan has made a turn toward the worse. Musharraf's government clamped down first on the judiciary and other opponents in the government in the first days after his declaration of martial law. More recently, those same forces have prevented even the liberal bourgeois opposition represented by Benazir Bhutto from gathering and arrested several thousand members of the opposition. In addition, Musharraf has gone on record as stating that many of those arrested face capitol charges. One element of the secular opposition to Musharraf is the Labour Party of Pakistan, a democratic socialist organization launched in 1997 from various elements of the Pakistani Left. What follows is an exchange conducted over the past couple of days (November 9-10, 2007) between myself and Farooq Tariq, secretary general of the Party. (Thanks to Tariq Ali for putting me in contact with Mr. Tariq.-Ron)

Ron: Hello. To begin, can you please identify yourself and generally describe your politics and the politics of the Pakistan Labour Party? Also, how many members and supporters do you estimate the Labour Party has?

Farooq: I am Farooq Tariq, secretary general, Labour Party Pakistan (LPP). I am an activist since my student days at Punjab University back in mid 1970s. I became active as left activist and left used to be strong on campuses those days. Our main rivals were religious fundamentalists. When Zia military dictatorship was imposed, I went in exile. Spent some eight years in Holland and England. There we built Struggle Group that got active in Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party. In 1986, I moved back to Pakistan as situation improved in Pakistan and Struggle Group had possibility to get active from Pakistani soil itself. After Benazir first stint in power, Struggle Group with a perspective that PPP would now on serve only ruling classes, left PPP and began campaigning for an independent workers party. After building a good trade union base, Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) was launched in 1997. LPP wants a democratic socialist Pakistan and is a Marxist organisation that draws inspiration from, among others, Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

We have a membership of over 3,000. One of the eight big trade union federations (NTUF) in Pakistan is LPP's sympathetic body. The NTUF (National Trade Union Federation) represents over hundred thousand industrial workers. We run a Urdu weekly (www.jeddojuhd.com), only left weekly published in Pakistan. Our woman members set up Women Working Help Line (WWHL) that has a membership of almost two thousands. Our youth front has some modest success in last two years while our student base remains almost non-existent.

Ron: What city are you writing from? Have there been protesters in the streets in that city?

Farooq: I am underground since the imposition of Emergency. Mostly, I have been in Lahore and certain towns in northern Punjab.

Ron: What is the make up of the protesters in Pakistan right now? The US newspapers describe the majority of the protesters as being lawyers and NGO activists. Is this so? What are the demands of the protests?

Farooq: Initially, it was advocates (lawyers), left and human rights activists. But the situation has changed in last three days as Benazir Bhutto has declared her opposition. Yesterday, PPP workers fought pitched battles with police in Rawalpindi. PPP claims that 5000 of its workers were arrested across Pakistan. Also, government has arrested members of Justice Party of former cricket-star Imran Khan and Muslim League of exiled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. However, Islamists parties are not either joining the movement or being targeted by the regime. Their opposition of regime remains restricted to press statement.

Ron: Do you foresee the protests continuing and perhaps growing in size?

Farooq: There is the potential. Big possibility. This past summer, it took sometime before masses took to roads. Masses hesitate at first but when they see a leadership fighting, they most likely join it. One reason is also media black out. TV channels are off air while print media is censored. Many don't know what's happening. Often, expat Pakistanis are more informed than us here.

Ron: What security forces are arresting the opposition? Is it the Army, the ISI, or other police?

Farooq: It is police. But there have been reports where known arrested activists have been handed over to ISI.

Ron: What role does Benazir Bhutto play in Pakistani politics? Does the Labour Party consider her role a positive one? Do they support her at all? What do you make of her arrest?

Farooq: The good news in last three days was the changing attitude of Benazir Bhutto towards present military regime. While in exile, she made a deal to share power with military regime. This deal was brokered by USA. Her return on October 18 was also a US-backed move. But while in Pakistan, there was suicidal attack on her rally leaving over 200 dead. There was a mass negative campaign by the chief minister of Punjab against Benazir Bhutto. Then Musharraf imposed the Emergency on 3rd November without her consent apparently. Most of the advocates arrested after Emergency were from her party. It was all two much. This built a pressure. In first three days, PPP activists were not arrested but it all changed with Benazir coming openly against the military regime on Emergency.

Her changing attitude was welcome by LPP in press. I, on LPP's behalf, announced in the media that LPP would join the Long March planned for 13th November by PPP from Lahore to Islamabad. Although we were very critical of polices she pursued in last few months that is to say her power sharing formula with Musharraf regime, her soft corner for the regime.

Her recent dealings have also given currency to conspiracy theories. Many say that her opposition is just fake and all is done in collaboration with the regime in order to restore Benazir'' image as militant leader. LPP don't agree with such so-called conspiracies theories about Benazir and Musharraf being friends. Benazir opposition of the regime has meant arrests of thousands of PPP activists and their houses raided all across Pakistan.

Ron: I understand the situation constantly changes, but do you believe the elections will be held in February 2008? If they are, do you think they will be free and fair? Why or why not?

Farooq: In view of the unfolding movement, and international pressure, yes we can hope for that. But fair and free elections are out of question. Democracy movement will have to fight a long war before we are able to have a democracy strong enough that ensures a free election.

Ron: What, in your opinion, is the cause of the unrest in Pakistan? How much of a role do religious extremists play? How much of a role does the Army play? How is this martial law similar to previous episodes of martial law in Pakistani history?

Farooq: In the first place, it is the mass impoverishment of masses under Musharraf regime. Struggle for bread and butter has become even hard. Utility bills, price hike and jobless are biggest issues. This is the root cause of unrest. Also, military has become a military-industrial complex that is acting like a mafia. There is resentment against that. Then you have US presence in the region leading to instability in Pakistan. Musharraf's pro-US policies are universally unpopular.

Musharraf's military rule is unlike Zia dictatorship in its mask. Musharraf claims enlightenment and moderation. Zia Islamised Pakistan. But both these dictatorship, like earlier military regimes have been pro-US.

On internal front, all have been repressive when faced with opposition. Every time military takes over, the military increases its industrial base, thus leading to more corruption.

Ron: What do you think will be the result of the Emergency rule? How long do you think it will be in place?

Farooq: General Musharaff would not have thought of the political scenario that has emerged the imposition of Emergency on 3rd November. His hopes for normalcy have been dashed despite a vicious repression against the advocates and political activists. More unpleasant surprises will come in future for the military regime that was used to a rather stable political control until now.

After advocates, now students are emerging on the political opposition to the military regime. Demonstrations took place on 7th November 2007 in certain public and private universities in the main cities of Pakistan. "Student power rises from slumber" was the headline of daily The News International on 8th November.

The media organization of the bosses and employees are also joining the mass movement after unprecedented repression against the electronic and print media by the regime.

It was a black Monday on 5th November for the stock exchanges in Pakistan. The stock exchange crash resulted in a net loss of four billion dollars in one day, unprecedented in last 17 years.

His imperialist backers like US, UK and European Union have been forced to condemn Emergency at least in word for the first time since 9/11. Any gross violation of human rights in Pakistan since 9/11, was always an internal matter for the US imperialism. Even Australian imperialism is condemning the sorry state of affairs of Pakistan and terming Musharraf "a dictator" for the first time, a fact Pakistani people knew for eight years. LPP perspective is that such an isolated regime can not last long. The opposition movement is on and is growing.

Ron: Is there any other information or thoughts you wish to provide the readers?

Farooq: The opposition to military regime will be strengthened by the active solidarity of our friends and comrades outside Pakistan. The pickets of the Pakistan embassies all over the world will be one the most effective way of opposition. It is time to show international solidarity.

Ron: Thanks you for your time.

Farooq: Thanks a lot for letting LPP express itself on an important left site like Counterpunch.

Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs' essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch's collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net

 

Labour Party Pakistan will fight along other political parties and civil society organizations for an immediate end to Musharraf’s rule. Its candidates for national and provincial assemblies have taken back their nomination papers.

The remaking of the movement

Farooq Tariq

There are daily demonstrations against the military dictatorship all over Pakistan. Students, lawyers, journalists and others from the civil society are in the lead this time.

It is yet small in numbers but it is growing every day. The numbers are increasing and so is the militancy of the demonstrations, picket lines and rallies. The movement is in the remaking once again.

This is happening just after two weeks of the large scale repression, arrests and detentions of the over 10,000 activists from different political parties and advocates. Most of those arrested are released but the main leadership of the Advocate movement is still under detention. Most of the judges who refused to take oath under the new constitutional order are under threat of thrown out of their official residences. But the 24 hours picket lines by the activists not seen earlier in the movement at Lahore and Islamabad have made the task of the police more difficult.

There are many new faces in the movement; mainly young students, advocates and social activists. This is a new layer that is remaking the movement and it is spreading day by day.

Journalists, advocates, students and radical social organizations representatives are uniting in one or another form to organize the movement. They are taking new initiatives. SMS, mobile telephone calls and emails have become the main source of communications of the event organized by different groups. Resistance is organized on very short notice.

When a judge of Lahore High Court Shahid Siddique was under threat of evacuation: in half an hour, many dozens activists started a picket line of the house on 3rd December. Now this has translated into 24 hour picket line at the front gates of the judge’s house. Hundreds of activists have visited the house and the judge has mad very radical statements.

Thousands of students, journalists, advocates and social activists are demonstrating on daily basis in Islamabad. Police is using baton charges to disperse them on regular basis.

There are daily protests by the journalists all over Pakistan against the restriction on the media. One of the most popular private television channel GEO is still not been allowed on air in Pakistan. The Sind High Court dismissed a petition of this TV channel after hearing six times saying that they can not hear this case. These are the hand-picked judges of Musharaf who are denying justice. So are the judges at Supreme Court who are giving a go-ahead to this military dictatorship.

The boycott campaign against the holding of general elections under the emergency is growing as well. More and more political parties are boycotting the elections on the basis that it will be rigged at a level never seen before. There is no counter-balance or a place to go against any sort of rigging during the elections.

The Left Alliance of seven political parties and groups has also announced (a decision) to boycott the general elections. Labour Party Pakistan candidates who have submitted the nomination papers are taking back their nomination papers on the instruction of this Left alliance, AJT.

At an all-parties conference on 5th December at Lahore Press Club, almost all except Pakistan Peoples Party were in favor of rejecting the elections. The representatives of journalists, lawyers, doctors, civil society organizations and students argued in favor of boycott to further the movement against the military dictatorship.

The movement is in remaking; so is the level of repression by the military regime. A new wave of arrests has started already in Islamabad. This is despite the assurances of the military dictatorship that no more arrests will be made on political grounds. But the repression is generating new militancy among different groups to come on the street.

The Musharaf regime is in real crisis. Its entire plan for future prolongation of its rule is facing serious difficulties. More and more people are speaking openly against the military regimes. The trade unions in one district have come forward as well against the military regime and bad social conditions. The others are in preparations. Several public opinion surveys have described the growing discontent among the ordinary citizens of Pakistan against general Musharaf.

The ordinary people have not yet come to the street in bulk. But all the signs are there. The demonstrations are small but very vocal and growing day by day. Musharaf’s regime can not last very long despite the fact that American imperialism is trying to rescue him for the time being. It is a weak military dictatorship and that is fact becoming known to many day by day. Youth are in the forefront this time, a guarantee for success, According to Lenin, “he who has the youth, has the future.

 

 

Labor Relief Campaign
    
Tariq Mehmood LPP activist Arrest in Gojra 
 

The Life in Underground November 2007: On 3rd November 2007, when General Musharaf declared an emergency and suspended the constitution, I was in Toba Tek Singh, a city around four hours from... more

Nationwide Protest Against Military Here we go again: Another round of struggle against military dictatorship will start on 1st of September. The Lahore Bar Association has decided to come out again to demand an immediate end of military dictatorship of General Musharaf...more

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