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PTUDC meeting in Peshawar – by Farhad Kayani


In an area heavily dominated by the presence of Taliban forces, the Marxists in Pakistan organized a meeting of the PTUDC, with the participation of several important trade union leaders, with guest speaker Lal Khan, the editor of the Asian Marxist Review, speaking on the world crisis of capitalism and how it affects the South Asian subcontinent.

Pushhtoonkhwa is a region severely affected by the ongoing war between the different factions of Pakistani state. The workers of this region are being savagely butchered by both the Taliban and the state forces. There was a huge military operation in the Swat-Malakand which resulted in one of the greatest human migrations of recent history. Just as that operation was declared officially “completed” another front was opened in the Waziristan area which has produced a human catastrophe of an unprecedented scale. Still there is a curfew in Bannu and many other cities.

Peshawar is the capital of Pushtoonkhwa province and is no stranger to this violence and suffering. In the past few months the city has been ravaged by a series of suicide attacks which have claimed hundreds of innocent lives. The people of Peshawar are in a constant state of fear and uncertainty with security check posts around every corner.

But the resolve of the comrades in Peshawar is unshaken by these conditions; rather it has strengthened their revolutionary commitment and their determination to abolish this capitalist system which is the root cause of this destruction. This unshaken will was shown in the organization of a meeting of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign on 14th February in Peshawar. Around 85 revolutionaries, trade union and PPP activists, workers, college and University students and unemployed youth were present in the meeting. Two female comrades were also present, which is extraordinary since due to the fear of the Taliban it is has become very difficult for women to come out.

The meeting was chaired by Comrade Fazal-e-Qadir of the PTUDC-Peshawar and also General Secretary Railways Labour Union Peshawar Division. Among the participants were comrade Ghufran Ahad, the recently elected president of the Malakand (Taliban Territory) Lawyers’ Association, Aamir Hashmi president of the PTUDC-Pushtoonkhwa and Divisional president of the Railways Labour Union, comrades Mumtaz and Ijaz from the Pakistan People’s Lawyers’ Forum, Ayub Shah, City District President of the PPP, Naeem Bakhsh, PPP Peshawar City, Noor Malik Yousafzai, central joint secretary of the Railways Labour Union, Ghareeb Nawaz, deputy chairman Labour Union, Muhammad Riaz Kashmiri, Farmanullah, Sabaz Ali, Rafeeq from the Labour union, comrade Rashid and many others. The editor of the Asian Marxist Review, comrade Lal Khan was the main speaker at the occasion.

In his lead off Lal Khan explained the dismal state of the world economy. He explained the attacks on the working class in the USA and Europe and the fact that the working class is being made to pay for the crimes of the bosses all over the world. Explaining the regional situation he discussed the impoverishment of the masses in India and South Asia where more and more people are being pushed below the poverty line every day. He explained the crisis of the global economy, its political manifestations and effects on the consciousness of the working class. A great number of questions on varied subjects were asked during the questions session. In their contributions comrade Ghufran, Tariq and Jameel explained that the only way to end this barbarism and economic misery was that of revolutionary Socialism.

In the sum up comrade Lal Khan discussed the fact that the Pushtoons are being falsely labelled as fundamentalists by the bourgeoisie media, whereas in fact they have a revolutionary history including the Saur revolution in Afghanistan which abolished interests on loans, the sale of women and gave free education and healthcare to the people. He explained the role of Stalinism in Afghanistan and the imperialist backed Jihad with the help of the Pakistani intelligence agencies. He discussed the criminal partition of India in 1947 and the Sailors’ Mutiny which did not get the backing of the CPI (Communist Party of India) and ultimately was drowned in blood and became a major cause of the partition of subcontinent. He briefed about the revolutionary movement of 1968-69 and the history of the PPP, along with the role of the current PPP government which is acting as an agent of imperialism. The comrade explained that the future of the workers of this region and all over the world is linked to a Socialist revolution which will make this planet a place fit for humans. The upcoming congress of the Pakistani Marxists in March will be a milestone in that journey and will show the workers and youth of Pakistan and the world over that a socialist revolution is possible and once it starts in Pakistan it will not respect the artificial boundaries of the Durand line and the Redcliff line.