Pakistan

Sydney University campus came alive with political discussion, talks and workshops for three days during the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, held over May 13–15.

The conference had more than 30 sessions and 50 speakers, including international special guests Marta Harnecker, Michael Lebowitz and Ian Angus. Local and international activists shared their experiences of struggle and discussed the necessity of building alternatives to capitalism today. Up to 400 conference-goers faced the task of choosing from a range of stimulating sessions on offer.

Hashim bin Rashid, 25, the general secretary of the Lahore branch of the Awami Workers Party — recently formed out of the merger of three left parties in Pakistan — will be the international guest speaker at the Socialist Alliance ninth national conference to be held in Geelong Trades Hall, over January 18-20.

He replaces Alia Amirali who was not given a visa by Australian authorities in time to travel to the conference.

US relations with Pakistan have deteriorated as the US continues to extend its war in neighbouring Afghanistan across the border. The US blames the use of sanctuaries in Pakistan by insurgents for the failure of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan to achieve its aims.

Pakistan closed its border with Afghanistan after the September 30 shooting of three Pakistani soldiers by US soldiers in a helicopter. The US soldiers had crossed the border looking for insurgents.

The campaign to end Australia’s involvement in the unjust war in Afghanistan has picked up momentum in the last few months in Melbourne.

In December, a number of peace activists decided to organise regular anti-war activities, to tell people the truth about the foreign occupation force and call for Australian troops to be withdrawn.

Since then, three vigils have been held across Melbourne. Activists handed out hundreds of leaflets called “Eight reasons to get out of Afghanistan”.

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