Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 15:04:59 +0000
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Socialist Appeal <socappeal@EASYNET.CO.UK>
Subject: Pakistan: military rule once again (by Lal Khan)
PAKISTAN......MILITARY RULE ONCE AGAIN
Military rule once again
ByLal Khan, Editor of Jeddo Judh
19 October 1999
Lal Khan, editor of Jeddo Judh (Class Struggle) writes about the
recent military coup in Pakistan for "In Defence of Marxism"
On October 12th Pakistan's army struck once again to take the reins
of power directly into its hands. This is the fourth successful coup
staged by the army in 52 years of Pakistan's chequered history.
However this coup is more of an accidental character. Although it had
been planned for some time, its actual carrying out depended on
events beyond the control of the executioners. In fact it was a
Due to the intense crisis of the regime, Nawaz Sharif was trying to
amass more and more power into his hands. During his second tenure in
office as Prime Minister Sharif had already dismissed the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court, the President of Pakistan and the Chief
of the Armed Forces.
After the fiasco in Kargill (Kashmir) where the army was forced to
beat a humiliating retreat by Sharif, under pressure from US
imperialism, there was severe resentment within the army. The army
chief Pervaiz Musharaf faced severe criticism from the lower officers
when he visited the garrisons. Sharif and the army chiefs were
makings scapegoats out of each other. Things were heating up and
pressure from below in the army was beginning to take its toll on
Rumours of the coup had been raging for some weeks, yet the military
elite was feeling too weak and debilitated to act. Sensing the danger
Sharif intensified his indulgence in the affairs of the army. He
tried to reinforce the basic theme his father had tutored him in:
"Never believe in or trust any one unless he has put the money
(bribe) in his pocket and smiled".
He had already elevated a family friend General Ziauddin Ahmed to the
coveted post of the head of the notorious I.S.I. (Inter Services
Intelligence) agency. This institution played a major role in the
counter revolution in Afghanistan during the 80's. It has also been
the main precursor in organising Islamic fundamentalism, insurgencies
in Kashmir, Chechnya, Assam and elsewhere. It also plays a major role
in domestic politics controlling sectarian organisations,
fundamentalist groups and infiltrating political parties. This agency
and other state secret services often instigate bloodshed, violence,
sectarian clashes and other conflicts to destabilise and even
overthrow unwanted governments.
When Benazir Bhutto's brother Murtaza was assassinated in September
1996, she was the prime minister in power, yet she put the blame on
these "Rouge Agencies". Sharif was trying to tame these rouge
agencies and the rouge army. This was beyond him. Too much was at
stake. The last and the most formidable cornerstone of the state was
crumbling. The stick and carrot policy could no longer be applied.
Coup and counter-coup
As the crisis worsened, Sharif was conspiring to remove General
Musharaf, but the military chief struck the first blow by forcibly
retiring a key Sharif ally and a highly proficient and despotic
officer, General Tariq Pervaiz, the corps commander at Quetta. This
created panic in the Sharif camp. The top brass of the army was
clearly split and for the first time this came out into the open.
According to protocol General Musharaf was to visit Sri Lanka to
attend its 50th anniversary parade and celebrations. Both sides
intensified their intrigues and the conspiracy was in full swing
before Musharaf's departure for Colombo. They were on a collision
course. An open clash had become inevitable.
On 12th of October the PIA commercial flight carrying General
Musharaf back home was refused landing permission at Karachi airport.
The plane hovered over Karachi for 48 minutes. The authorities in the
control tower, being directly instructed by Sharif by telephone from
the Prime Minister's house, told the pilot to take the plane to Dubai
or to some airport in India. But when the pilot complained that there
was only six minutes of fuel left he was asked to land at some remote
airport in Sindh from where Musharaf could be arrested with relative
ease. However, general Musharaf took control of the wireless system
in the cockpit and ordered his generals to launch a counter
operation, the plans for which had been prepared in advance.
A few hours before this episode Sharif had announced the dismissal of
Musharaf as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and
as the head of the army and had nominated General Ziauddin Ahmed as
his replacement. This was beamed on the television screens. However
when the new military boss tried to speak to the corps commanders by
phone there was a menacing silence at the other end of the line. The
curtains for Sharif were drawn and it was just a matter of time
before he fell.
Sharif went to the television station to speak live to the "Nation".
But the Islamabad TV studios had already been occupied by the troops
of the 111th Brigade. All the important buildings and installations
of the capital were cordoned off by the Rawalpindi based 10th corps.
Sharif's military secretary Brig. Javed Malik tried to threaten the
Major commanding the soldiers in the TV station but it was to no
The rival factions of the army came very close an armed conflict, but
this was averted at the last minute. Sharif was arrested and taken
into 'protective custody' and whisked away in a military vehicle.
This was the end of Sharif's sad saga.
Meanwhile the pro-Musharaf troops stormed the Karachi airport
building and rescued General Musharaf's family which had been in
police captivity for a few hours. They also arrested the police and
pro-Sharif army officers and top Ministers and bureaucrats who were
at the airport controlling the operation.
The plane landed and General Musharaf took command after a situation
where the army had come very close to a bloody internal conflict.
Loyalties changed in seconds, even those generals who had received
hefty briefcases from Sharif's cronies not so long ago swore to
defend the integrity, sovereignty and unity of the sacrosanct armed
forces of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The coup was complete. Or
Social, economic and political turmoil
This coup came within the context of severe social, economic and
political turmoil. The economy is on the verge of bankruptcy,
sectarian violence is claiming hundreds of lives, the number of
suicides across the country is growing dramatically. Unemployment,
corruption, crime, disease, illiteracy, hunger, poverty and misery
stalks the land. During the 11 year democratic interlude the
so-called civilian politicians played havoc with the economy and the
assets of the state. They plundered and looted the exchequer and the
resources of the country. New records of corruption were set and
Pakistan was declared the second most corrupt country in the world by
the Berlin based Transparency Monitoring Institute.
Yet in all these eleven years the army never really relinquished
power. It was always there in the background looking over the
shoulders of the civilian rulers. The army officers enjoyed all the
perks and privileges and the civilian rulers were subservient to them
in a thousand ways. During these years of civilian rule not a single
government was able to complete its tenure. Seven governments changed
during this interregnum of a botched democracy.
It is ironic that this "democracy" came into being after a previous
eleven years of vicious military dictatorship. The first military
dictatorship of General Ayub Khan was imposed through a coup on 27th
October 1958, again, eleven years after Pakistan's "independence"
from the British Raj in 1947. That military coup came in the
aftermath of a corrupt, chaotic and anarchic rule of the feudal and
capitalist politicians, who couldn't even formulate a constitution in
all those years.
The Ayub Khan dictatorship survived till march 1969 when it was
removed by another declaration of martial law by Gen. Yahya Khan. The
prolongation of the Ayub dictatorship was mainly due to high economic
growth rates and rapid industrialisation, which was the result of the
spin-off effect of the boom in the West during the 50's and the 60's.
However this industrial growth never managed to develop society and
raise the living standards as a whole.
1968-69: power was in the hands of the masses
Paradoxically, this uneven and combined nature of development created
a fresh and virgin proletariat. In 1968-69 this proletariat struck. A
movement of the students erupted which culminated in a revolutionary
situation. Power had passed from the echelons of the rulership into
the streets, factories, shanty towns, villages and towns. The working
masses actually felt power in their hands and there was the fragrance
of the revolution in the air.
Unfortunately due to the lack of a Bolshevik party and a Marxist
leadership the revolution was diverted along nationalist lines and
led to the war of Bengal in 1971. After the humiliating defeat of the
Pakistan army in the war, again a revolutionary situation broke out.
However, this time reforms were used to derail the revolution. The
installation of the first elected government into power was the
by-product of the revolution. This new P.P.P. government was headed
by Ayub Khan's ex foreign minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He had
understood the real character of the 1968-69 revolution and
accordingly developed a radical Socialist programme during that
delicate and exceptional revolutionary period. This made him a legend
which persists till today.
However, once in power, and in the clutches of the bourgeois state he
had no option but to salvage the rotten system. Under pressure from
below he carried through massive nationalisations and the most
radical reforms in the history of Pakistan. But behind this facade of
reform he was carrying out a democratic counter revolution to avert
an impending socialist revolution in Pakistan. His reforms become
counter reforms in a short period. Inflation and price hikes lead to
crisis which was further aggravated by the 1974 world recession.
The 1977 coup
The discontent of the masses was exasperated by the rightward
capitulation of Bhutto. A right wing reactionary movement was
initiated at the behest of the CIA and this culminated in the
military coup of 4th July 1977 lead by General Zia ul Haq. Bhutto was
interned, imprisoned and later assassinated on the gallows of the
vicious dictator in April 1979.
This was the beginning of one of the most tyrannical epochs of
Pakistan's tragic history. Thousands of workers, peasants, youth,
students and political workers were tortured, lashed, imprisoned and
hanged in the jails of the military rule. The dictatorship carried
out mass genocide of the movements which rose against it. In the 1983
movement in Sindh 1063 people were killed by the army alone. All this
brutality was not only tolerated but was actively encouraged and
supported by U.S. imperialism.
The Zia dictatorship was also used as a bulwark of reaction by the
Americans in the whole region. The counter revolution in Afghanistan
was the biggest covert operation ever carried out by the CIA in its
entire history. The military regime in Pakistan was its modus
operandi in this barbarous act. Four million Afghans were displaced
and hundreds of thousands killed in this imperialist sponsored
Islamic Jihad (holy war). The U.S. spent $7 billion in direct cash on
this operation. Arms and other logistic support were provided by the
ISI and the Pakistan army. The manufacture and smuggling of heroin
was encouraged by the CIA, to fund the reactionary insurgency. They
also provided the technical skills and know-how for converting raw
opium into refined white powder (heroin). All this was being
conducted under the auspices of the Pakistan army.
This indulgence in civil society and big money made a significant
impact on the discipline and character of the army. The generals and
senior officers became millionaires overnight. The so-called black
money ballooned and it started having its political and social
impacts on society. The phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism gained
new force from the flow of this black money and through U.S.
patronage. The Zia dictatorship was based on very strong
fundamentalist overtones. It used Islam to gain a social base amongst
primitive sections of society.
Its prolongation was also based on other factors. Mainly a relatively
high growth rate of an average of 7.2% per annum, high levels of
remittances ($3.2 billion per year) from Pakistani workers abroad,
support of imperialism for its own strategic reasons and above all
the pathetic role of the 'Democratic opposition leaders'.
As the saying goes "Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first
make mad". Zia became over-obsessed with power and he started having
the hallucination of being a reincarnated Caliph. He wanted to go to
Kabul to say prayers in the main mosque, and proclaim a pan-Islamic
state. He was going too far even for his own mentors. In fact he was
even defying the Americans in his quixotic ventures and
extravagances. Ultimately he was killed in a plane crash orchestrated
by the CIA, in August 1988.
1986: the masses welcome Benazir...
However, towards the end of his rule a movement was building up. It
was actually the huge welcome for Benazir Bhutto on 10th of April
1986 which had really sealed General Zia's fate. The high growth of
the economy in the 80's had actually strengthened the working class.
The rising movement of this confident and invigorated proletariat
could have been very dangerous for imperialism and the toady
compradore capitalist/ feudal set up in Pakistan.
So on the one hand the ruling elite got rid of Zia and on the other
hand they brought in Benazir, prepared and indoctrinated in the
ethics of bourgeois democracy and social democratic ideology, to stem
the tide, water down the movement and divert the revolutionary
upsurge. The tradition prevailed once again. The masses rallied
around the banner of the PPP and more than 10 million thronged the
streets and squares of Pakistan to welcome Ms Bhutto, chanting the
slogan 'Benazir has come - she has brought the revolution'.
But Benazir did what she was sent to do. She saved the rulers, the
military, the state and capitalism with its exploitation. She was
able to vent the wrath of the masses with another democratic counter
revolution. History was repeating itself both as a tragedy and a
farce. The hopes of the teeming millions were dashed and the old
order re-established itself under the guise of this democratic facade.
...but their conditions worsen
The ensuing democratic period was another nightmare for the masses.
The living standards went on falling and the socio-economic
conditions worsened. For example, the expenditure on health,
education and welfare during the years of the military dictatorship
in the 80's was 8.4% of GDP, while in the 90's in the so-called
"democratic era" this expenditure went down to 2.15% of GDP. We see a
similar deterioration in other social and economic sectors.
This was accompanied by a constant social turmoil and political
conflagration. Governments changed like musical chairs. The last
regime of Nawaz Sharif came to power after the February '97
elections. He got a thumping two thirds majority in parliament, but
only 17% of the electorate actually went to the polls.
With his very heavy mandate he started further burdening the already
impoverished masses. Under the dictates of the IMF and the world bank
he carried out the most reactionary policies of privatisation,
downsizing and massive cuts in welfare and other state subsidies. The
rise of unemployment by one million yearly became an enormous burden
on the workers and trade union movement. Drug addiction and crime
soared amongst the youth.
To curb the ensuing turbulence Sharif amassed more and more powers
and even abolished the powers of the civilian president to remove the
government under article 58/2-B of the constitution. His cronies
started a massive plundering of the state funds. His predecessor
Benazir had embarked on a similar course, but her and her husband's
corruption was amateurish compared to the shrewd daylight robbery of
the Sharifs and their cronies.
The bad loans of the bank defaulters had reached a staggering Rs.497
billion by the end of Sharif's rule. More than 5000 medium and large
scale factory units have closed down due to the tariff policies
imposed by the IMF and the WTO. Growth rates have been falling
drastically in the last period with an average of 2.8% for the last
decade. Now the growth rate in manufacturing industry has gone into
the negative, -1.8%. In the agrarian sector the growth is a meagre
The already belated, compradore, weak and lumpenised bourgeoisie has
now turned openly to drug smuggling, plundering of the state owned
banks and total tax evasion. Only one per cent of the population pays
taxes here and a majority of those are state employees. The informal
(black) economy is almost twice that of the formal (white) economy.
The country has a total debt of $82 billion which consumes 56% of GDP
in servicing alone. Around 40% is spent on the military, nuclear
bombs and other destructive scrap.
There is hardly anything left for the state to spend on development
or social welfare. Pakistan's GNP is $67 billion while less that
thirty individuals, both civilian and military, have stashed away
more than $80 billion in the western banks. In its last stint in
power of 960 days the Sharif family (one of the largest industrial
tycoon families of Pakistan) wound up 80% of their business in
Pakistan and bought shares in South Korean multinationals. Such was
the confidence of the Pakistani bourgeoisie in its system, its
rulership and the future of this semi-capitalist/semi-feudal state
and society under its rule.
The literacy rate is officially 26%, infant mortality rates are one
of the highest in the world. More than 40% of the population lives
below the official poverty line. The stagnation in society and the
lack of a movement has created unprecedented suffocation,
frustration, misery and violent attitudes and psychology in society.
Hordes of lumpen gangs roam the country in the form of various
versions of Islamic fundamentalist organisations. Crime and robbery
are conducted under the surveillance of the police. Dozens of youth
are killed in police 'encounters'. Law and order is collapsing and
insecurity of human life is at its peak. The dominant reactionary
tendencies of Islamic fundamentalism are intruding in personal life
so viciously that privacy of life has become a myth. It is probably
one of the least gender sensitive societies in the world. Women are
subject to several forms of economic, social and cultural
exploitation. The curse of child labour is widespread and it can't be
eliminated within the existing system as millions of families survive
on the basis of this social stigma.
The conditions in the countryside are even worse. There are still
massive landed estates which are owned by a reactionary feudal
aristocracy. The middle and small peasants are close to bankruptcy,
as the prices of their yields, especially cotton and rice, are lower
than their costs. The landless peasants and bonded labourers still
live an animal existence of the dark ages. Before its fall the Sharif
government was confronted by a wave of peasant movements which in
some regions was being lead by the Marxists. This could have rapidly
evoked a movement in the cities where the situation was already very
tense to say the least. The present military coup has temporarily cut
across that development although it may come back very soon. As there
is not an iota of a possibility that the agrarian problem could be
solved within the existing system.
Re-emergence of the national question
Once again the unrest among the oppressed nationalities is creating
centrifugal currents in society. This is further adding fuel to the
fires of destabilisation of the state and ravaging society into
ethnic and nationalistic conflicts. The Pakistani/Punjabi ruling
classes have been carrying out national repression of the Sindhi,
Balouch and other oppressed nationalities along with exploitation and
oppression on the basis of gender, race, religion and class. They
have failed to complete the formation of a nation state or a nation
as such. However, the reality on the ground is that the national
liberation of the oppressed nationalities is not possible on a
national basis and under the capitalist system. Only through the
class solidarity of the workers of all nationalities and religions
and a struggle on a class basis through a social and economic
transformation of society can the cultural and other rights of the
oppressed nationalities be guaranteed. A voluntary socialist
federation of the subcontinent is an inevitable prerequisite to
achieve this goal.
The demise of the paralysed, debilitated, anaemic and subservient
"democratic" regime has once again demonstrated the incapacity and
inability of such a set up to solve the problems under capitalism and
the crushing domination of the world market, IMF, multinationals and
the oligarchy of finance capital, in Pakistan. Simply there are no
economic resources to sustain this political superstructure. They are
being sucked up by the massive corruption of the so-called national
bourgeoisie, the landlords (who have pledged their huge landed
estates with the banks and run off with loads of capital to far away
lands, and are some of the biggest loan defaulters), the generals in
and out of uniform, the chief justices, the bourgeois politicians and
the top bureaucrats.
On the other hand with the intensifying crisis of world capitalism
the imperialists want to suck every last drop of blood to keep their
profits up and their system moving. In reality parliamentary politics
had become a profitable business for the ruling elite. Being
incapable of running industry and developing the economy and society
they were leeching the state to swell their loot. It was a democracy
where 100% of the electorate was allowed to vote but only a very tiny
minority had the possibility of standing in elections, as only
billionaires had the capital to bear the costs of an election
campaign in this system. In reality the dictatorship of finance
capital (black and white) continued even in the so-called democratic
No one was ready to defend Sharif
The masses could see that and bore the brunt of this democratic orgy.
Hence at the demise of madam democracy and the corrupt capitalist
Sharif regime not a tear was shed, not a wail was heard and not a
gesture of protest was seen. The people were unperturbed, they felt a
sort of a meek relief yet there were no real hopes in the new
military regime. There was a generalised feeling of bewilderment and
concern, still unspoken. This also proves that the Muslim League is
less of a party and more of an offshoot of the state, which it uses
to erect democratic facades.
The reaction of the predominant political leaders has been pathetic.
The fundamentalists are crying for blood. They accept the army to
impose what they can't do themselves due to their meagre social base.
The so-called democrats (bourgeois politicians) have more or less
welcomed the coup. A large number of them are lining up to get a post
in the "interim set-up". Their greed for power has become obscene. As
Santayana once said, 'Those who do not learn from history tend to
The reaction of Benazir and the PPP leadership is shameful. While
superfluously opposing a dictatorship their was a clear welcoming
tone for the military coup d'E9tat. History has turned full circle
and yet they are expecting this military regime to hold elections and
hand her power. It is like a sarcastic theatre, where they are again
willing to go through that traumatic experience. The people fought
against the dictatorships with blood sweat and tears, and their
leaders led them into the dream of peace, prosperity and
tranquillity. Yet when they woke it was the reality of pain, hunger,
bloodshed and misery. If democracy was the solution then why the need
for a dictatorship? And if the dictators could salvage societies and
cleanse them from corruption then why do the struggles for democracy
erupt against the dictators?
The reaction of imperialism is equally absurd. The Americans used to
rely on military dictators to keep their supremacy in the third
world, in the 50's, 60's and 70's. They had some bad experiences,
from Panama to Pakistan. Hence they reverted to weak democratic
regimes which were easier to control and change with relative ease.
But even these democratic regimes became so corrupt that they often
threatened to undermine the whole economic system. The main objective
of the foreign policy of imperialism and its keeper, the UNO, is to
preserve the interests of multinationals and imperialist finance
capital. They are not really interested in human rights, child
labour, women's rights etc. These are mere gimmicks which are
indirectly played to set the policies of various regimes in proper
Imperialism will compromise with the Pakistani military
The initial denouncement and the subsequent wavering of U.S. and
British imperialism is mainly to control this new dictatorship so
that it gives top priority to the interests of imperialism. In spite
of the threats of sanctions and other demagogic rhetoric of the
Americans they will come to some sort of a compromise with this
regime. The British have taken even a softer stance because the
Sharif government was in conflict with two British power producing
But the actual question is the character and perspectives of the new
regime. All the initial actions and display of this regime show it to
be a weak, confused and a perturbed set-up. The indecisiveness is
evident in the delay and contradictions in policy announcements.
Indubitably it is a dictatorship which is trying desperately to mould
its form, to make it more acceptable to imperialism. It tried to
dispel any impression of its fundamentalist leanings, when the
recitation of the Quran before General Musharaf's maiden speech on
television was done by a clean shaved mullah.
But its weakness is its most dangerous aspect. It could resort to
bloody repression if faced with even a semblance of a resistance
movement. It is trying to install a mixture of ex or serving military
high ranking officers, technocrats and some "respected" and "clean"
(bourgeois) politicians. They have refrained from proclaiming martial
law, which all the previous dictators did after taking power. Yet the
ordinances proclaimed are as despotic as the martial law ordinances
of the past. Musharaf has chosen a new and rather unorthodox name for
his rulership - Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
rather that Chief Martial Law Administrator. This alters nothing.
This regime is the beginning of a new dictatorial rule and is a
setback for the working masses of Pakistan.
The main dilemma facing the regime is that of how it is to cope with
the intricacies and complexities of the constitution of the Pakistani
ruling class. They have dismissed the national and provincial
governments at all levels, suspended the parliament and the
constitution has been set in abeyance. In reality according to
article 6 of the constitution the punishment for the abrogation of
the constitution is the death penalty. By removing a democratically
elected government through a military coup, they have abrogated the
constitution. But who cares? According to the old Greek philosopher
Solon, "The law is like a spider's web, big things tear through it,
small ones get entangled".
There is no dearth of legal experts and constitutional witch doctors
who are always there to oblige the rulers. They will tailor the
constitution or find some clauses which will justify the actions and
satisfy the whims of the mighty. This could start up a frivolous
constitutional debate especially amongst the 'left' and democratic
political circles and the media. But in reality it will be a
meaningless exercise. The new military regime has taken power, that
The question is to what extent it can control the internal dissent
within the army, which was so glaringly exposed during this coup, and
to what extent this regime can salvage the bankrupt economy and the
anarchic society. Like most despotic regimes, this one is also
harping on corruption. They have short listed the names of 500 bank
defaulters mainly from the previous regime, but it also contains the
name of Benazir and her spouse. Orders of their arrest have been
issued and it has been announced that they would only be released if
they give back their ill-gotten loot. How far they are going to be
successful is another story, although this has got a positive
response in some sections of society. It is absurd to even imagine
that this rotten and corrupt state apparatus can extract anything
from these drug barons and robbers of the ruling elite. They will
make a few scapegoats and play this around for propaganda purposes.
But it would be a fallacy to imagine that they could salvage the
economy, fill the deficit, pay up the balance of payments and bridge
the budgetary gap with these methods. In any case such
anti-corruption fits of despotic rulers are like doses of heroin
which further decimate the body of the economy.
Military rule will not solve anything
They have distanced themselves from the fundamentalists and are
trying to accomplish the dictates of imperialism, mainly forcing the
defaulters to pay up and trying to channel the black economy into the
main stream economy to provide further market consumption for the
multinationals. In spite of the U.S. demagogy it seems that this coup
had some green light from the Pentagon. It seems that the
imperialists are resorting to more forceful measures to attack the
corrupt ruling classes and the drug barons to exude their wealth, to
kick start the economy. They will fail. The existence of the present
state apparatus is subservient to these scoundrels. The biggest bank
defaulters and the godfathers of the black economy are from the army
itself, whether in or out of uniform. This can also boomerang on this
dictatorship, and can end up in another coup with an even greater
commitment to fight corruption.
The hesitation of the army to take such an adventurous step was
totally justified. The mess is too dirty and complex. They have
seemingly no resistance, yet they are too weak and incapacitated to
carry out anything concrete. This means that they might not have a
honeymoon period for long. Not only will they be under a constant
threat from within the army, but the possibility of a mass upsurge
looms large. Nothing is going to be solved. The coup had an image of
being anti-American and nationalist, but the moment the military
rulers entered the echelons of power the music changed.
In a capitalist set-up there is no escape from imperialism, there is
no survival possible without accepting the dictates of the world
economy. Sharif was trying to portray himself as an
anti-fundamentalist zealot and both the Sharif brothers were giving
anti-Taliban statements, but it was too late.
The Americans had come to the conclusion that he was too weak and was
a burden. Hence all the pro-American pleas of Sharif went unheard.
The CIA could not be ignorant of the events taking place, they
distanced themselves and let things proceed on course. They knew that
the chain of command and the ideological basis of the Pakistan army
were construed by the British in such a manner that they could not go
beyond the dimensions of imperialist rule. The reluctance of the army
(the only proficient institution left - according to General
Musharaf) to take the helm is a clear indication of the death pangs
of the Pakistani state.
The masses will rise again
Society is in a distress beyond repair. Corruption is horrendous.
Life is a misery. Democracy has failed. This dictatorship is no
answer. Even the minimal rights the oppressed had, have been taken
away. This dictatorship must be opposed and condemned by the labour
movement and the P.P.P. Ultimately it is going to crush the working
classes and the youth to develop 'investor confidence' and the
interests of finance capital. The whole gimmickry of getting the
defaulters to pay up is a deception. Its main aim is to crush the
proletariat, to bring it into submission, to further the interests of
domestic and foreign capital. But it won't last long. Its days are
numbered. The illusion of it bringing back the PPP into power through
'free' ,' fair' and 'genuine' elections is a dangerous delusion. This
can wreck the movement. The misery is too intense, the pain is too
deep, the exploitation has become too intolerable and the endurance
is coming to an end.
The masses will rise, they have no other option. The P.P.P. will have
to come out with its founding manifesto, which says 'that democracy
without any socio-economic equality is a farce and insult to the
people'. The founding documents of the PPP begin with the sentence
"the ultimate objective of the party's policy is the attainment of a
classless society, which is only possible through Socialism in our
If the PPP doesn't adhere to its basic programme it will pronounce
its own demise. But the masses have to live and survive. The present
regime will prove to the people that it is a change without a change.
This realisation might be decisive for the new dictatorship as well
as for the existence of the system. The bewildered masses are going
to break out of this phase. They are going to enter the realm of
history to change their destiny. Once they do that the PPP leadership
will have to succumb to their wishes, otherwise they will be thrown
to the sidelines. They will sculpture a new leadership from the
movement, which can and will guide them to their destiny - a
Socialist Revolution. The basis of that leadership is already laid in
By LAL KHAN
17th October 1999
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