Pakistan socialists condemn 'atomic fanaticism'

June 17, 1998


Pakistan socialists condemn 'atomic fanaticism'

[The following statement was issued at a media conference on June 5 in Lahore by the leaders of the Left Alliance of Pakistan, which includes the Labour Party of Pakistan, the Pakistan Socialist Party, the Pakistan Awami Jamhuri Party and the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party.]

The safety of the more than 1.5 billion people in the subcontinent has been put in danger as a result of the mad race for nuclear weapons technology by the ruling classes of India and Pakistan.

In India, nuclear weapons are in the hands of the religious-fascist fanatics of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and in Pakistan they are controlled by a government under great pressure from religious fundamentalists.

Both governments will not spare any time in using these dangerous weapons if their rule, prestige and so-called "national and religious priorities" are in danger.

South Asia is in deep economic crisis because of the policies of the World Bank and IMF. Despite this, the ruling classes of South Asia have been defending trade and economic pacts like the WTO [World Trade Organisation]. In the past 50 years, these pacts have become a danger to the political and economic independence of the region. The local market is controlled by the international monopolies because of these pacts.

Instead of fighting these institutions, our rulers are promoting atomic fanaticism and indirectly promoting the influence of imperialist forces. They are promoting national chauvinism to prolong their rule and increase the exploitation of the masses.

The Pakistani rulers' justification for the nuclear weapon explosions is the farcical excuse of defence of the country. They should know that the Soviet Union could not maintain itself despite all its weapons. Only the people's economic and social stability can guarantee the defence of the country, not weapons.

The poor masses of both countries will be subject to increased hunger, unemployment, poverty and social degradation. In this region, over 78% live in poverty. As a result of this mad race for nuclear weapons, the people of both countries will face more hardship. The Indian government has increased its defence budget by 14%. The Pakistan government has declared a state of emergency and taken back any civil rights the masses had in the past.

There are more economic measures the governments will take to increase the burden on the masses, including cuts in workers' wages. The Pakistan government has cancelled the May national holiday.

We condemn the atomic explosions by the rulers of Pakistan and India.

We demand an immediate lifting of the state of emergency.

We demand that India and Pakistan accept the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. India and Pakistan should sit at the negotiating table to sort out a solution to the Kashmir conflict.

We demand a 50% cut in military expenditure.

We demand that India and Pakistan sign a treaty not to attack each other.

We demand an end to atomic arms throughout the world.

Shoaib Bhatti, secretary of Left Alliance.

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