Pak-Afghan left parties: Firm stand against meddling

spa and lpp conference

LAHORE, Oct 7: Left-wing parties from Pakistan and Afghanistan concluded a two-day conference here on Sunday with the pledge to renew efforts for a joint struggle against the forces of imperialism and religious fundamentalism.

Speaking at a press briefing at the end of the conference, leaders of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan, the Labour Party Pakistan, the Workers Party Pakistan, the Awami Party Pakistan and the National Students Federation averred that joint struggle against imperialism and fundamentalism was essential so as “to build a genuinely democratic, secular and socialist alternative for the long-suffering working people of the region.”

The leaders included Hafizullah Rasikh and Saman Zadi of Solidarity Party, Hasan Nasir and Jamil Umar of Awami Party, Aasim Sajjad Akhtar of Workers Party, Farooq Sulehria of Viewpoint Online, Arif Afghani of Afghan Labour Revolutionary Organization, Alia Ali and Irfan Choudry of the NSF.

They rejected the hollow claims of both antagonists of the so-called ‘war on terror’. The leftist leaders said the pitiful situation of women in particular in both countries was a testament to the effects of imperialism and religious fundamentalism.

They said the ideology of the ‘Taliban’ had been exposed around the world as ‘misogynistic’ and brutal. The Nato occupation of Afghanistan and the less direct ‘humanitarian interventions’ in Pakistan had produced only islands of progress that are blown out of proportion by the western media in particular, they said.

For example, they said, the relative freedoms available to women in Kabul were totally absent in most of the outlying provinces.

In the final analysis, western imperialist powers were not opposed to fundamentalism but only to those fundamentalists who did not accede to imperialist imperatives, they added.

The leftist leaders also pointed out tremendous power exercised by fundamentalists within formal political institutions such as parliament. “Laws that are not acceptable to fundamentalists can neither be promulgated nor repealed in both the countries, no matter how popular they may be,” they deplored.

“This confirms that religious fundamentalists continue to enjoy state patronage in the two countries, and in a more indirect sense also imperialist patronage since both Afghanistan and Pakistan states are well entrenched within the imperialist orbit,” they said.

They said the two evils espoused a rhetoric built around the slogan of clash of civilisations, which divides ordinary people along cultural and religious lines whereas the left sought to unite all oppressed people in the region and indeed the world.

They stressed that ultimately a joint struggle must be waged against the capitalist system “which reproduces oppression and divisions that have destroyed both Afghanistan and Pakistan along with many other war-torn regions.”

In closing, they said, peace, democracy and progress in the region required the end of the Nato occupation of Afghanistan and the less direct interventionism of Saudi Arabia in both countries.

SOURCE: Dawn 8 October, 2012

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