PAKISTAN: Labour Party calls for Socialist Alliance

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BY FAROOQ TARIQ

LAHORE — The national committee of the Labour Party Pakistan, meeting March 16-17, decided that the party should help form a united socialist electoral alliance in Pakistan.

Left-wing political parties, trade unions and social organisations will be asked to unite on a single platform to fight the next general elections. The alliance will also be a vehicle for struggle to fight against capitalist exploitation and neo-liberal policies dictated by the IMF and World Bank.

General Pervez Musharraf's military regime would like to install a puppet civil government through the elections to be held in October. Several initiatives have already been taken by the regime to ensure the victory of those politicians who are closely linked with the regime.

Musharraf would like to continue as president of Pakistan and would like to gain some sort of popular approval through a referendum that could be held before the elections.

It seems that no political party will be able to have a clear-cut majority in the future parliament but if the religious fundamentalists contest the elections they may have "balance of power". For that reason, the military regime is continuing its de facto alliance with the religious parties.

The religious fundamentalists will carry out their activities in one or other form despite the recent so-called crackdown by the military regime. The regime would also like to preserve the political card of religious fundamentalism.

The crackdown has driven the military wing of the fundamentalists underground. While there is little chance of the religious fundamentalists gaining political power, they will remain a considerable force in Pakistani politics.

The economic crisis of the Pakistan economy will continue despite all the promises of the Western aid to the military regime. In implementing the conditions for loans demanded by the IMF and World Bank, Musharraf's regime is bringing more poverty and more unemployment for the masses of Pakistan.

Under these circumstances, the LPP felt that all the left forces should be united in one alliance to put forward an independent electoral alternative for the working class against the parties of the rich and the religious fanatics.

From Green Left Weekly, March 27, 2002.
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