Building the Labour Party Pakistan:
By Farooq Tariq
perspectives of the LPP have been put to the test several times in a
rapidly changing political situation. From day one we opposed General
Musharaf military dictatorship. We oppose both American imperialism and
religious fanaticism while some feel they must support one side or the
Almost all of the
present LPP leadership, including women leaders, were jailed under the
Musharaf regime for demanding democratic rights or in the struggle for
workers’ and peasants’ rights. The LLP has worked to maintain its
political space and refused to be driven underground.
Unlike the traditional
Left parties, who set up organizations controlled by the party, since
its inception the Labour Party Pakistan has put special emphasis on
helping to develop independent social, labour and peasant organizations
and other social movements. For example, there is no trade union wing of
LPP. Instead we supported the development of the National Trade Union
Federation, formed in 1998, and also aided the Pakistan Workers
Confederation from its beginning in 1994.
Likewise the LPP has
no peasant party wing. It helped a peasant movement, Anjaman Mozareen
Punjab at Military Farms, and in 2003 facilitated bringing together more
than 22 peasant organizations. This Pakistan Peasant Coordination
Committee united under a common platform.
In 2000 the LPP helped to develop the
Women Workers Help Line. As an independent women’s organization, the
WWHL has become the first organization many working-class women join. (www.wwhl.org.pk)
LPP also helped to
develop a youth organization, the Progressive Youth Front, in 2003. It
is making steady inroads among the youth. The LPP devoted energy to help
the National Student Federation form in 2000. We continue to help this
traditional Left-wing group develop into a major student organization.
The LPP strategy of
working with the social movements has been one of its distinctive
characteristics. During a discussion in 1992 among the Struggle Group, a
predecessor of LPP, the decision was made to help social movements
develop, even to the point of starting and nurturing social
organizations. We opened schools for working children and with the help
of the Swedish Teacher Union, we expanded this network. Other Swedish
trade unions and progressive organizations helped us start several
projects. These ranged from organizing new trade unions to establishing
a trade unions’ resource center, making a video documentary on trade
unions, as well as campaigns for peace and democracy. This work was
coordinated by the Education Foundation, which today has become the
Labour Education Foundation. Since 2000 the LEF has established itself
as an independent social organization and played a vital role in
developing the trade union movement in Pakistan.
Back in 1992 The
Struggle group joined Joint Action Committee For Peoples Rights Lahore (JAC)
at its founding and that relationship has continued when the LPP was
formed. Although the LLP was criticized by many on the Left in the
mid-1990s as an “NGO party,” the LLP chose not to respond directly to
this attack with the expectation that our work in practice would be the
The LLP strategy of
building networks and alliances includes Left unity in Pakistan. We were
part of the Awami Itehad in 1997 and later of Awami Jahoori Tehreek
(2006). Today we are part of a coordination committee for progressive
LPP supporters have
worked to develop several other networks with other left groups and
social movements. These have included the Anti-War Committee Pakistan
(1991) and the Anti-Privatization Alliance (2005). Since 1996 we have
held the Faiz Ahmad Faiz Amn Mela annually. Faiz Ahmad Faiz , the
revolutionary poet had inspired millions in the Indian subcontinent and
worldwide, one of the most respected poet of Urdu. He devoted his life
to strengthen Left and the peace movement.
We believe it is
important to learn to work together in a country where there are many
who actively oppose a socialist perspective and some who refuse to even
listen. It is important to be, at the same time, very firm in one’s
ideology and very flexible tactically. This means we express our
opinion, even when disagreeing with others, but work to maintain cordial
Magnifying Our Voice
Within 24 hours of
launching the Labour Party Pakistan on Facebook, we received responses
from over 200 friends. Just launched on 19 January 2010, our LPP
Facebook page has more friends joining the group every day.
LPP has also build a
Yahoo email group called Socialist Pakistan News, mostly known as SPN.
With over 5400 members, it is the largest of any Pakistani political
email group. Launched in 2004, it has become a source of information,
views and debates among the progressive forces not only in Pakistan but
While in 2002 the LPP website (www.laborpakistan.org)
was the most read political website in Pakistan, it could not maintain
the momentum. However it still has a solid readership and is a good
source of information about trade unions, the peasant movement and
Since 1997 LPP supporters have regularly
printed a weekly magazine Mazdoor
For the prior 17 years appeared as a monthly. The weekly has a small
subscription-based print edition within Pakistan and is widely read
in an on-line edition within Pakistan and across the globe.
International Solidarity Essential
LPP is very keen to
participate in international and regional movements and alliances. It
has been part of the anti-globalization movement and has helped to
organize some of the largest anti-imperialist demonstrations and rallies
from a progressive point of view in Pakistan. Our supporters have
participated in all the World Social Forums since 2004 when WSF Mumbai
was held. This work included the Pakistan Social Forum, and led the way,
in 2006, for the World Social Forum Karachi.
During its initial year of existence, the
LPP was part of an International called the Committee for Workers
International (CWI), but left within the year. Since then it has
established close links with several international trends, groups and
movements including the Democratic Socialist Party Australia, the
Scottish Socialist Party, the Fourth International (FI), as well as both
the LIT and UIT in Latin America. With others who left the CWI, the LLP
formed a Socialist discussion group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have also
established close links with Swedish trade unions and lately with the
Social Democratic Party Sweden Goteburg and Kalmar districts. The LPP
became a permanent observer of the FI in 2004.
Preparations for 5th Congress:
The LPP has a proud
record of its democratic internal life. We have held all our congress in
a timely manner. The 5thCongress will take place 27-29
January 2010. For the first time the LPP will conclude the congress with
a mass rally. Two labour and peasant movements have joined together to
organize this event; we anticipate an attendance of 30,000. If that
happens, it will be the largest gathering of Left forces in Punjab
within recent times.
On 29th January
an international workers peasant’s conference is planned at famous Dhobi
Ghat Ground Faisalabad. These events are taking place at a time when the
parties of the rich have abandoned the working people of Pakistan. They
have been left on the mercy of the sheer exploitation of so called free
market and the imperialist aggression. Prices are going up and there is
no wage increase.
The religious and
right wing parties are giving full political support to all the violent
actions of the religious fanatics on the name of fighting “imperialism”.
The daily drone attacks by Americans are giving some political
justifications to the fanatics to carry on. The space for progressive
politics has been saturated by the conflict of right wing parties of the
rich and the religious fundamentalism.
The LPP congress and
the convening of the mass conference of workers and peasants is an
effort to snatch the lost space.
The conference on 29th January
is been organized jointly by Labour Qaumi Movement and Anjaman Mozareen
Punjab, the two most militant and mass organizations of the workers and
peasants. There is no parallel to the struggle of these two movements in
different districts of Punjab.
The main leaders of
different Left and social organizations and movements are speaking at
One of the main
highlight of the conference will be mass participation of working class
women. Workers and peasants are bringing their families to the event.
The main aim of the
three days event is to build a progressive space in Pakistani politics.
It is new beginning. This is our answer to the rise of religious
mobilizations of the working class will strengthen their voice and
empower them to challenge for their rights.
We all are making
financial contribution to these events by all mean. Day and night is
been spent by many to build the event. However,
we are in desperate need of raising at least 500,000 Rupees ($6000)
during the next one week.
We have no rich
backers. We need your support now. We could have raised this amount
earlier. However, the children and the families of the four comrades who
died on 13 December 2020 in a road accident became a priority of ours.
We have raised nearly one million Rupees and an appeal to raise three
million is still on its way.
This is an emergency
call to all our friends and supports to come to help us. We have all the
hope of raising this amount within this week.
Please send your
amount on line if you are in Pakistan to
Labour Party Pakistan
Account number 2679-3
Beadon Road Branch
From outside Pakistan
Account Title: Labour
Bank: BANK ALFALAH LTD.,
LDA PLAZA Branch, KASHMIR ROAD, LAHORE, PAKISTAN
Or please send through any
mean you consider is ok.
Nisar Shah, Farooq Tariq,
Labour Party Pakistan
Yousaf Baluch, Nasir
Chairman National Trade
Azra Shad, Bushra Khaliq,
Women Workers Help Line
Khalid Mehmood, Niaz Khan
Progressive Youth Front
Mian Abdul Qayum, Aslam
Labour Qaumi Movement
Nadeem Ashraf, Mehr Abdul
Anjaman Mozareen Punjab
Please indicate your
or call 0300 8411845