Tuesday, 15 May 2007
Pakistan - a state at war with itself The situation in Pakistan is marked by the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan, the insurgency in Balochistan, the nationalist movement in Sindh, the rise of fundamentalist terror, suicidal attacks, bomb blasts, female Islamic fanatical vigilantes challenging the writ of the state, cross-border terrorism in Kashmir, serious suicidal attempts on Musharraf's own life, the crisis of the judiciary and now the beginning of the civil war in Karachi and elsewhere. This is to name just a few events in the ongoing turmoil in
After the derailment of the 1968-69 Revolution in
Faced with a rising mass revolt Zia used religious fundamentalism to prolong his reign of terror. In this he was fully supported by the Americans. In this period the CIA was involved in the counter-revolutiona ry "Jihad" against the left wing PDPA government in
In the 2002 elections the ISI had assured Musharraf of a friendly parliament and along with the newly fabricated Pakistan Muslim League (Q) they manufactured the Islamic Alliance MMA that was facilitated into getting into parliament. These mullahs later played a decisive role in getting the 17th amendment passed which legitimized Musharraf's presidency in military uniform. The military continued to patronize the religious right. This explains why veiled and armed women from the Jamia Hafsa can march into a children's library in
Apart from religious prejudices the Zia dictatorship and the ISI created other organizations along linguistic, ethnic and chauvinist lines to drive a wedge into the class unity of the proletariat. The most significant was the creation of the Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) based upon the Urdu speaking immigrants who had moved to
The MQM and the Jamat-i-Islami are in the forefront of fomenting this reactionary frenzy. MQM is a coalition partner of the present Musharraf dictatorship, the governor of Sindh and other important functionaries of the government also belong to the MQM. Over the weekend of May 12-13 more than 40 people were killed and hundreds injured, one television office was ransacked and the city was under the control of an armed mob belonging to the MQM. This is not the first time that the MQM has been involved in brutal killings and genocide.
This ethnic chauvinist organization has neo-fascist tendencies like the Islamic fundamentalists, and has a history of involvement in extortion, robberies, crime, plunder and assassination in its power belts. Incidentally Musharraf is also a Muhajir (immigrant from
But the problem for the state is that the Frankenstein monsters that it has created are now getting out of control. Not only is the orgy of violence carried out by the MQM creating a serious law and order problem, but the stooges of the state, the Islamic fundamentalists, MQM and other reactionary outfits are now involved in bloody clashes between each other. The Chief Justice and the Supreme Judiciary who endorsed Musharraf's rule and who have been acting as a safety valve for the regime, now have also fallen apart and the important pillars of the state are colliding with each other.
The campaign around the suspended Chief Justice has attained such significance because there is a burning resentment against the regime throughout society. The dominant political parties are not offering any alternative economic programme. Hence, the vacuum. But historically, due to the corrupt character of the Pakistani ruling classes, they have had to rely on the state more and more to cover up their crimes and corruption. In this process the state, and especially the army, interfered in the economy more and more. Now the largest business entrepreneurs and tycoons in the country are the army generals.
The black money made from the drug trade and arms smuggling, the operations during the Afghan Jihad of the 1980s and later, all brought in large sums of finance capital into different institutions of the state, especially the army and the ISI. These different sections of finance capital represented within the state's military and civilian bureaucracy are now in conflict with each other. These contradictions have now exploded with such intensity that they have brought the conflicts within the state out into the open.
The tragedy is that the PPP is not offering the masses a clear way out from this atrocious situation. It is ironic that while being the traditional party of the masses, its leadership is afraid of the mass movement and is avoiding coming out with the radical socialist programme that is enshrined in its founding documents. Hence the flux and stalemate.
Lenin once said "Politics is concentrated economics". The turmoil and convulsions that have gripped the Pakistani state, society and politics are in reality the reflection of the terrible conditions of the economy itself. The present regime has been able to amass the largest trade deficit and the biggest current account deficit in
In the last sixty years of
The nationalists in Sindh,
When the working class moves it will be a decisive moment for the Marxists who have become a considerable force even at the present time. If the PPP leadership is forced to come to power through a movement that overthrows the Musharraf regime such a movement would be pushed radically to the left from its inception and the Marxists can become a major force during the course of such a movement. A PPP regime on a left basis would come into conflict with the state right from the beginning. And such a conflict could only be resolved through a revolution or a counter-revolution.