Large swathes of Pakistan are in the stranglehold of a caricatured feudalism, writes Farooq Tariq.
In the dead of night on July 17, police vans snaked their way into Chak 4-L village in Okara City in Punjab province. At about 2am, several dozen police officers forced entry into the house of Mehr Abdul Jabbar, younger brother of jailed peasant leader Mehr Abdul Sattar. They broke down the front door and opened fire indiscriminately, shattering cupboards and other household items. They departed 15 minutes later but left behind a cloud of uncertainty and fear that spread among the villagers jolted awake by the gunfire.
A massive wave of repression against the militant but peaceful peasant movement — the Anjuman Mozareen Punjab (AMP) — is underway. Most of its leadership have been arrested on false charges under anti-terrorist laws. Dozens are missing while more than 50 remain behind bars. All have been declared “terrorists” by the Okara district police, working hand in hand with the Military Farms administration, which mainly serves military officers.
Okara, April 17. A gathering of thousands of peasants in the Okara District of Punjab, to mark International Peasants Day on April 17, went ahead despite a violent crackdown by the police, paramilitaries and the army. The gathering was organised by the Tenants Association of Punjab (AMP) and supported by the Awami Workers Party (AWP).