Pakistan is once again in the grip of another political crisis. In last few days, political instability and chaos has increased. The media is full swing with discussions on the future of the present government of Nawaz Sharif. Even “democracy” is also under question. The situation has become tense, volatile and anarchic. The infighting in the ruling classes has put the whole “civilian dispensation” into question.
The working class, trade union movement and socialists can not watch these events as mere spectators. The undemocratic and reactionary right wing forces want to implement their reactionary agenda through this agitation. Democracy and civilian rule is in danger. This is a capitalist democracy and it is dominated by the capitalist and feudal lords and is not an ideal democratic system for the working masses. But this fact does not give justification to the undemocratic forces to invite the military to overthrow it.
The working class and poor in this country have fought courageously and given sacrifices for their democratic, trade union and political rights. As history shows, successive military regimes attacked the democratic and trade union rights of the working masses. These reactionary forces wanted to impose another martial law in the country. Democratic rights seem again under threat. The workers movement, socialists, left parties and peasantry need to rise and launch revolutionary struggle to bring social change and to abolish the existing rotten and repressive system.
PML-N and its allies are the ruling faction which came to power in last general elections on 11 May 2013. They consider themselves as the democratically elected legitimate rulers of this country. On the other hand, the Imran Khan-led PTI and its allies consider the last general elections as being rigged as they claim that they actually won.
Suddenly after one year, the PTI started to demand a rerun of the election and launched a protest movement. This is clearly a power struggle between two rival factions of the ruling class. The battle offers nothing to the working class and the poor. The PTI represents two sectors of society. On the one hand it enjoys the support of the rich and upper middle class urban elite in the poshest areas of the big cities and, on the other hand, it enjoys the support of the most conservative and extremely right wing religious layers of the rural population in KPK province. The overwhelming majority of the leaders of the PTI are big feudal lords, businessmen and industrialists.
The main leadership of the big capitalist and feudal parties of the country, including the PML-N, PPP and PTI all belong to the same capitalist and feudal elite. Nearly 200 families dominate parliamentary politics in Pakistan. Another 800 families play the role of junior partners to maintain dominance in their respective areas. The PTI is now the second most favored party of these 1000 powerful families in Punjab and KPK province, where the PML-N is still the favorite. The PPP is the third favorite in both provinces but still the no 1 choice in Sindh province.
The Imran Khan-led PTI organized a “freedom march” on Independence Day, 14 August. The march started from Lahore and marched to Islamabad supposedly to bring down the PML-N government to force new elections. Imran Khan has announced that they will mobilize one million people. A second march was conducted at the same time –which was announced by the Canadian based religious leader Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri to bring “green revolution” to the country and to establish a “true democratic order” under his leadership. Both Imran Khan and Qadri are claiming that they are fighting for the rights of people and will bring real change in the country. Imran Khan wanted to make a new Pakistan under his leadership and Qadri wanted to overthrow the government with a revolutionary march.
Both marches represent nothing for the working class and the poor. Both marches are not going to bring any fundamental change for the working masses. Both leaders and their respective parties are known allies of the establishment and thus true defenders of the status quo. Both are part of the ruling elite and represent its interests. Both parties and their allies pursue a right wing ideology and agenda.
Pakistan is among the very few countries in the world where the word “revolution” has lost its true meaning and understanding. The word revolution has been discredited to its core. This word has been so widely misused by the feudal and capitalist elite that it has lost its significance. Most of the corrupt and rotten politicians and religious leaders have all professed to want to bring so-called revolution in this country for the poor and downtrodden masses. Every major political leader is a self styled and self claimed revolutionary leader and agent of change. The matter of fact is that these same leaders have created the conditions in which the working class and the poor is suffering and living a miserable life. These so called revolutionary leaders are part of the problem not the solution. All these leaders will be the target of a genuine revolutionary movement of the working class and poor because of their reactionary anti working class role and class position.
There is no doubt that the working class and poor in this country need to make a revolution against the rotten and corrupt capitalist and feudal system. There is no doubt that both capitalist democracy and military dictatorships have failed to solve the problems faced by the working masses. The working class needs social change and workers democracy to enjoy social, economic and political freedom and rights. Without the socialist transformation of the society and the formation of a democratically elected workers’ government, the working class and poor in this country can not be freed from the exploitation, repression and injustice of this cruel and unjust system.
Life has become almost unbearable for the working class and the poor. The neo liberal economic onslaught since 1990s has made the poor poorer and the rich richer. The gap between rich and poor has increased to unprecedented levels. The present right wing government of Nawaz Sharif is viciously implementing neoliberal free market economic policies in the country and as a result the working masses continue to suffer and live miserable lives. As the result of these policies poverty, unemployment, inflation and hunger has increased. Healthcare, education, transport, housing and other services have become very expensive and gone out of the reach of working masses. The energy crisis has crossed all limits and badly affects everyday life.
The government is claiming that it has improved the economic indicators and that the economy has started to grow after almost 7 years. But social indicators are still showing the poor state of affairs. This improvement in the economy has not yet touched the lives of the working class and the poor. Like the previous years of economic growth, this will never reach the working masses. The economy is structured in a way by the ruling classes so that they always reap the fruits of growth. This growth never trickles down to the working masses.
Both Imran Khan and Qadri have no alternative economic programme and agenda. They have not explained how they will bring the promised change and revolution. Change will not come with vague and demagogic slogans and utopian thoughts. Radical change and genuine revolution against this rotten system will come with the clear socialist radical programme and a mass revolutionary movement of the working class under its own revolutionary leadership.
Socialism is the way forward. Nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy under the democratic control of the workers and a socialist planned economy will end exploitation, repression and social and economic injustice and inequality. A workers and peasants government under the democratic control of the working people will start to build the socialist transformation of society and bring an end to all forms of exploitation, repression and discrimination. This will also get rid of the religious extremism, militancy and violence and will bring peace in society.