Pakistan: Socialist Movement organises activity across Pakistan

Members of the Socialist Movement Pakistan (SMP) and the Pakistan Trade Union rights Campaign (PTURC) organised demonstrations and seminars in eighteen cities, while we participated in other Mayday activities in over twenty-one cities and towns.

Three thousand leaflets were produced and distributed nationally. A new Mayday issue of our paper, The Socialist was also produced for sale.

In Lahore, the SMP and PTURC organized a May Day rally from Badami Bagh to Azadi chowk, a route which took in all the main streets in this working class area, and the first time a Mayday demo had been organised in this area in 20 years. Two hundred and fifty workers, young people and women participated. The demonstrators carried red flags and banners. They also chanted the slogans calling for the overthrow of capitalism, the removal of foreign troops from Iraq, and for “bread not bombs”. Many of the women and the youth were wearing the red clothes. The rally went pass the main Streets of area. This was the first rally in this working class area after two decades. SMP members and participants were very enthused with the success of the rally.

Speakers at the rally at the end of our march the anti-working class policies of the government and stressed the need of workers unity and struggle against these policies. The rally was led by Rukhsana Manzoor, Moona Malik , Khalid Bhatti , Fazal Abbas Shah, Fazle Wahid , Mehmood Ahmad, Faisal Khan and others. They also spoke at the rally.

The following resolutions were passed by common acclaim by the demonstration:

  • We condemn the management of GAMA company, and fully support the struggle of Turkish immigrant workers for their rights in Ireland
  • We salute the role played by Joe Higgins, Member Parliament in Ireland and the Socialist Party in this struggle and struggles of the working class in Ireland.
  • We strongly oppose the privatisation of PTCL, WASA, Pakistan Steel mills and other public sector corporations.
  • Abolish the draconian Industrial relations ordinance 2002 and other anti worker laws.
  • End the military operation in Baluchistan and release all the political workers from prison.

International May Day greetings sent by CWI members who are leading trade unionists and public representatives from Britain and Ireland were also read out to loud applause from the audience. Members of the SMP were extremely happy with the size of the demonstration and with the response we got.

Eighty of our members and sympathisers also attended the main Mayday rally organised by the Muttahida Labour Federation and Workers Confederation (trade union federations in Pakistan). Ours was the largest political contingent in this rally of about 4000 workers. More than 200 papers were sold and we distributed our leaflet as well. Rukhsana Manzoor spoke from the platform of this rally.

In Karachi, the SMP organised the public meeting in Machar colony area, in which 400 workers participated. Zubair Rehman, a party member was the main speaker along with Manzoor Razi and others. Many papers were sold and leaflets distributed.

SMP members also participated in different activities organized by other trade unions. They intervened in the public meeting organized by the MLF in which Zubair also made a speech. SMP members also participated in a meeting organised by the power loom workers, and had an important impact through the political contributions they made at this meeting and the discussions they had afterwards.

SMP members also organised a seminar in Tando Jam, Sindh in which more than 80 participated. Our members also distributed our May day leaflet in the town.

SMP and PTURC members organised two other mayday rallies in Sindh in Radhan Station and Dadu. More than 450 participated in these events. It was the first time in living memory that a May day rally was organised in Radhan station. Demonstrators carried red flags and they chanted the slogans against price hike, unemployment, privatisation and capitalism.

In Shikar Pur we organised a seminar with 150 in attendance, while in Faisalabad, Pakistan’s third largest city we also organised a meeting in which 100 people participated.

More than 140 workers from different trade unions attended a Mayday meeting we organised in Islamabad

Our members also participated in the central Mayday rally organised by the Workers’ confederation where one of our members Azad Qadri was part of the platform.

SMP and PTURC also organized activities in cities like Multan, Sialkot, Muzafar Gar, Jatoi, Layyah, Mardan, Swat, Dir, Peshawar, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Narowal , Jhang,Larkana, Hyderabad, Quetta, and Nowshera.

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May 2005