Pakistan: Emergency demands massive response

Workers in Europe donate

[See also TURCP website for eye-wittness reports, appeal, letters and details of how to send donations.]

The government in Pakistan is proving itself less and less effective in the face of what is still a mounting crisis for working and poor people. The efforts of the Socialist Movement of Pakistan (CWI in Pakistan) to organise assistance to trade unionists and their families through the Workers’ Relief Committee goes on unabated. At the same time they are demanding that all aid should be under the control of accountable representatives of the workers and poor through committees at all levels.

Khalid Bhatti, general secretary of SMP, reported today, that there are 400 activists and local leaders of the Progressive Workers’ Federation now known to be suffering along with their families from the flood devastation. 200 have so far been reached and given relief goods collected by the movement.

Workers’ relief committees have now been set up in a number of districts to oversee the distribution of aid.

The response to the appeal from the Progressive Workers Federation and the TURCP (trade union rights campaign – Pakistan) carried on this web-site on 12 August has reflected the strong feelings of workers and young people – expressed in their trade union meetings, youth activities and on the streets. Last week the Trade Union Rights Pakistan emergency fund received €1,000 from the Socialist Party in Ireland. This is the initial amount being collected by the Party and an additional €200 donation was received from Karen Allen in Mulhuddart. In England, £500 was agreed as a donation from one Unite (trade union branch) in the North-East of the country. Individual donations – ranging from £200 and €200 to smaller amounts – have also come in from Germany, England, Sweden and Austria, where important campaigns have been launched. The potential for collections to take place during other party activities is shown in the report below.

Appeals in areas of large Pakistani communities are needed, especially stressing the political role the socialists in Pakistan can play. The PSM fights, through the Progressive Workers’ Federation encompassing more than half a million members, on the basic issues of wages and conditions, including in the current telecommunications strike in the country. But it goes further; it speaks of what comes after the flood emergency.

The PSM campaigns on the need to finish with the rotten Pakistani People’s Party government, and to fight for an end to corruption and capitalism in Pakistan. Under the most difficult of circumstances, the Pakistani Socialist Movement is bringing out its newspaper and political material posing the alternative of a mass movement to bring to power a truly democratic government under the control of workers and poor people. Meetings on these issues are important to step up international support and fund-raising.

Please step up your assistance for this vital work.

Pakistani RS member campaigning in Stockholm

Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) collects to aid efforts of activists in Pakistan

Collections for the Progressive Workers Federation (PWF) and Trade Union Rights Campaign (TURCP) for solidarity work after the catastrophe in Pakistan has now started in Sweden. The first two days – Thursday and Friday – brought a total of 5,500 SEK (Swedish Kronor) – the equivalent of €550.

Alongside the party’s election campaign activities, collections were held at street meetings in Luleå and Haninge (south Stockholm), resulting in 1,495 and 1,863 SEK respectively. In Luleå, Johanna Evans spoke on the situation in Pakistan at an impromptu meeting on the main shopping street. “The natural catastrophe has been drastically worsened by the authorites and by the capitalist system,” she said, referring to the insufficient rescue work and huge price hikes in the country. In addition, a collection was held at a public meeting on the life of Leon Trotsky in Gothenburg, and raised 320 SEK. One individual contribution of 2,000 SEK came from an RS member.

See TURCP website for eye-wittness reports, appeal, letters and details of how to send donations.

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