PAKISTAN: LPP vows to build anti-war movement

April 2, 2003


LAHORE — The revolutionary socialists of the Labour Party Pakistan held their second congress here on March 22-23. LPP delegates agreed to increase their efforts to build the anti-war movement and recognised the need to take up the challenge posed by the growing tide of religious fanaticism in Pakistan.

As part of the congress proceedings, an emergency demonstration was organised against the US aggression against Iraq. The LPP voted to organise anti-war demonstrations in more than 20 cities on April 6.

The party also voted to take new initiatives to fight the privatisation of state educational institutions. It agreed to step up assistance to peasant tenants fighting for ownership rights over government-owned farms in Punjab. The congress also discussed the LPP's activity in the trade unions.

There was a lively debate on the reasons of the growth of the religious fanaticism, the nature of the fundamentalist organisations and their relationship with the Pakistani state and imperialism. A view presented by a tiny minority was that there has been no growth in religious fanaticism. The majority argued that the growth of religious fanaticism is real and dangerous and that the LPP must build a broad-based progressive alliance to challenge this menace.

Leaders of the Progressive Youth Front outlined their organisation's courageous political fight against religious gangsters of the Islamic Students Association at Karachi University. The PYF has won tremendous respect not only in the university community but across Karachi. The LPP also decided that political organising among students and working-class youth must be a main priority for the party.

The leaders of Anjaman Mozarren Punjab (the Tenant Association of Punjab) thanked the LPP for the help it has provided tenant farmers struggling for land rights. They declared that the LPP was their party.

Azra Shad, the chairperson of the feminist organisation, Women Workers Help Line, presented a report on the LPP's work among women. The WWHL has been able to mobilise hundreds of working-class women against the war on Iraq. She also gave examples of how the WWHL had helped struggles to raise the meagre wages of women at factories in Lahore and other areas of Pakistan.

The congress was attended by 192 people, 162 of whom were delegates from 31 cities. A 40-member national committee was elected, representing all the provinces and areas of Pakistan. The national committee elected seven office-bearers of the central leadership.

Solidarity messages were received from the Revolutionary Communist League of France, Scottish Socialist Party of Scotland and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). A leader of Afghan Revolutionary Labour Organisation read a message of solidarity.

[Farooq Tariq is general-secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan.]

From Green Left Weekly, April 2, 2003.
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