Labour Party Pakistan starts Inkaar Tehreek (No
People of Lahore not to pay the new bus fares
raining, LPP activists gathered in front of a private bus stand
at Railway Station Lahore area to protest the recent raise in
Lahore bus fares. They appealed to the people of Lahore not to
pay the revised bus fares. They demanded an immediate withdrawal
of the increased oil prices. Many travelers joined the very live
demonstration and agreed with the demand....
The emergence of New Left in Pakistan
By: Farooq Tariq
The four articles on the different aspects of the Left in Pakistan
appearing on editorial pages of Daily Dawn is generating a lot of
discussion among the different Left and Right trends in Pakistan. This
discussion represents welcome progress. The arguments by Mohammed Ali
Siddique have been refuted by Asha Amir Ali, Dr Arif Azad and Haider
Nizamani, and rightly so. The idea
that Mr. Tony Blair's ideas could help any left party is amazing. He
adopted all neoliberal politics and economics as he could get away with.
Especially he espoused the idea that industry did not matter, that the
country could make a living through Finance. This led directly to the
credit crash of 2008/9. Some of these commentators ignore huge events if
the existence of these events gets in the way of their opinions.
According to Wikipedia, the Left is defined as:
“Traditionally, the Left includes: progressives, social liberals,
communists and anarchists while the right includes: conservatives,
reactionaries, monarchists, nationalists and fascists. The terms left
and right are often used to spin a particular point of view, rather than
as simple descriptors. In modern political rhetoric, those on the Left
typically emphasize their support of working people and accuse the Right
of supporting the interests of the upper class, whereas those on the
Right usually emphasize their support of individualism and accuse the
Left of supporting collectivism. Thus, arguments about the way the words
should be used often displace arguments about policy by raising
emotional prejudice against a preconceived notion of what left and right
The emergence of Pakistan People’s Party in the late '60s was mainly
based on slogans, policies, tactics and programme adopted by most of the
Left parties internationally. Being on the Left was the fashion. (This
was the time when the traditional Left in Pakistan was divided among
pro-Moscow and pro-Peking groups. Differences split groups into
Stalinists, Maoists or Trotskyists.)
The ideas of People's Democratic Revolution or National Democratic
Revolutions were heatedly debated. This placed the historic role of
modernizing society on the progressive or nationalist bourgeoisie. But
both then and now the bourgeoisie in Pakistan are interconnected to
international imperialism. They were too weak to play a progressive
The traditional Left was bitterly divided over such political
perspectives and consequently sidelined. Thus the Pakistan People’s
Party took up the political space the Left should have occupied. General
Zia's military rule, combined with the collapse of the Soviet Union,
Eastern Europe and lately of China as “Socialist,” has clarified many of
these issues. Many illusions around the independent role of Pakistan
bourgeoisie and their political representatives have been shattered. The
Left now generally agrees that there is no progressive element among the
Pakistani ruling class that can end feudalism, democratize the society,
create a national identity or help in the society's industrialization.
The last two decades have almost eliminated all the historical divisions
among the Left. Debates are more around the nature of the fight back
rather than on the nature of the coming socialist revolution. There is
more unity among the Left forces in Pakistan today than at any other
Anti-imperialism and anti-religious fundamentalisms are two main pillars
of Left unity in Pakistan. A Left that justifies any alliance with
either of these issues cannot go very far.
The paradox of history is that those who were considered Left at one
time in Pakistan have adopted all the policies and practices of the
Right. This is also a very welcoming development. Among other Left
forces the Pakistan People’s Party is no longer considered part of the
The mainstream media have concentrated more on prominent Left
personalities and have not given due attention to the rising Left forces
and their role in developing mass movements of the workers, peasants and
also of lawyers.
* The most daring and militant movement in the history of peasantry in
Pakistan is the Anjaman Mozareen Punjab of Okara and other districts.
The Labour Party Pakistan and other Left forces have played a decisive
role in developing, sustaining and continuing this militant peasant
movement. Women have also played a leading role in this movement. The
peasants have occupied 68000 acres of land since 2001. Despite all the
repression, they have not paid any amount! They have become the owners
of the land without possessing papers or registering.
* The recent textile and power loom workers struggle for better wages
and conditions in Faisalabad is another important example.
* On the eve of the Sixth Congress of Labour Party Pakistan, on 29
January 2010, the famous Dhobi Ghat ground of Faisalabad saw of the
historic gathering of over 10,000 workers and peasants.
* The 44-day Awami Tehreek Long March in Sindh is another shining
example of the development of Left forces in Pakistan. Thousands of
Sindhies men and women walked all the way to Karachi, garlanded
everywhere as heroes of this Long March.
* The merging of several Left groups and parties in the newly formed
Workers Party of Pakistan is another sign of the growth of left forces
* The 2006 World Social Forum in Karachi marked an important moment in
which the Pakistani Left was linked to the global justice movement.
Anti-globalizations is an important part of the Pakistani Left's
* There is also a new radicalization among the youth. This is mainly
under the influence of the lawyer’s movement. While the '90s generation
missed the ideas of the Left, this new generation is reading the Marxist
A new and united Left is emerging. It united in opposition to the
neoliberal agenda, to religious fundamentalism and to imperialism. It
combines social and political activists in actions and forums. This rise
of social movements along with the class movement is building a strong
new Left in Pakistan.
We all see the sign of recovery. Traditionally Left forces are good in
the streets and not in the parliamentary field. This shortcoming is
currently one of the main Left discussions. A united Left list in the
upcoming local elections can pave the way for greater Left unity and
more successes in the parliament.
The Left can move ahead by developing the mass movement of the workers,
peasants, minorities, and women and by defending the rights of the
different nationalities. The ideas must be a vehicle for actions.