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Message-ID: <199910191357.JAA19184@suntan.ccs.yorku.ca>
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)


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" (http://www.marxist.com)

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 counter coup.

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 Musharaf.

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 avail.

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 was it?

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 0.35%.

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 interregnum.

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 repeat it'.

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 'order'.

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 multinationals.

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 is concrete.

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 times".

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 Pakistan.

17th October 1999

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