Posted by: daniellesabai | 2010/04/28

Pakistan: A Workers Election Campaign against Feudal and Capitalists in Faisalabad

Farooq Tariq

Industrial workers are on the road in a Faisalabad suburb Punjab Assembly constituency. They are using one car, over a dozen motor cycles, many on cycles and on foot to campaign for Mian Abdul Qayum. He is contesting for a seat in Punjab Assembly vacated by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz . The PMLN candidate had used a fake degree to prove that he has cleared graduation, a condition to contest election in 2008 general elections. When challenged in Supreme Court of Pakistan last month about his degree, Ajmal Asif , member Punjab Assembly (MPA) opted to resign.

This fraudulent person is once again contesting election on the nomination of PMLN, a party who claimed to be championed of Jihad against corruption and for an independent judiciary.

Mian Abdul Qayum is a workers leader of power looms and textile workers in Faisalabad, the third largest city of Pakistan. A member of Federal Committee of Labour Party Pakistan, Mian Abdul Qayum is been nominated by LPP to contest this bye election.

Overall, 17 candidates are in the contest including Pakistan Peoples Party, National Muslim League and several independent candidates. The total registered votes in the constituency are 119,439. During the general election of 2008, 61 percent went to the poles to cast their votes. The winning candidate was Mohammed Asif Ajmal of Pakistan Muslim League Q, (Musharaf supported). He got 29413 votes. He later shifted his affiliation to PMLN. Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Rana Aftab lost the seat in a close contest by just 400 votes. He is currently president of PPP in Punjab and was elected three times form this constituency earlier. Rana Aftab is again contesting this time again.

There are 42 villages and 10 union councils in this PP 63 constituency of Punjab Assembly. Around 14000 industrial workers are believed to be working in different textile and power looms factories in this constituency. Labour Qaumi Movement, a labour organization started work in this area in 2007 and has led many struggles of the workers for decent wage, conditions, social security cards and an end of bonded labour successfully. Mian Abdul Qayum is chairman of this LQM and a leading member of LPP.

The LPP candidate is contesting on a revolutionary programme. The main campaign is around two issues, the price hike and load shedding of electricity. The campaign is centered on a class appeal of workers fighting the feudal lords, gangsters and capitalists. There is long history of enmity of two different tribes in this constituency. The PMLN candidate represents one tribe and the candidate of National Muslim League, who is also a former Member of Parliament represent the other group. They both have killed dozens of persons in the ongoing feud between the two groups.

Women workers are in the lead of this campaign to get one worker elected to a parliament dominated by feudal lords, capitalists and their representatives. A group of 10 women are working round the clock to knock every door to present a leaflet and a poster of Mian Abdul Qayum. The leaflet contains the programme and demands a minimum wage of 15000, a minimum 8000 rupees unemployment benefit for all adult unemployed, no to imperialist aggression and bombing in tribal areas of Pakistan, social security cards for every industrial worker, end of discrimination against women workers and for a united fight of workers and peasants against the PMLN and PPP leaders.

During the first 10 days of the campaign, 10 public meetings, 35 corner meetings and a door to door campaign of all 42 villages of the constituency has been organized. In contrast to rich parties’ leaders, LPP candidate is moving around in the company of one car and scores of motorbikes and cycles. The PPP and PMLN candidates are normally with over 70 big cars and vans protected by a large number of policemen and with their own armed security guards.

Despite all this, two public meetings on 25th April in the village Daroran showed the contrast. One was organized by PMLN and the other by LPP. There were more villagers in LPP public meeting and most of them were the poor of the village. In another public meeting at Chaenchal Singh Wale village on the same day late at night, several hundred people refused to go away despite the rain and listened the plea of Mian Abdul Qayum to take a revolutionary step by electing him.

The campaign of PPP candidate Rana Aftab Ahmed is centered around the cast system and he is appealing to Rana Baradari to elect him. He is also promising to provide gas in each village. The campaign of PMLN candidate is fully supported by Punjab government with official transport, police and other functionaries. Both ruling parties have brought ministers in the campaign.

The LPP campaign is without any resources and transport. After working 12 hours in the factories, workers come to campaign for Mian Abdul Qayum till 12 in the night. It is a hell lot of sacrifice by the workers for a workers leader.

We need your support. Our initial finance appeal has brought some results. We need to go on. We need much more. We want you to do more. We need to build a Socialist alternative free of the influence of the capitalist class.

The normal comments about our campaign are that we are in the fight. Some says that we are in the third position after PMLN and PPP candidates. But we have decided that workers votes will not be spoiled by voting to an enemy class. It does not matter how many votes we get, it does matter that we are standing and hopefully, we will have reasonable votes for the first time in LPP history. Over 10,000 workers in the last 10 days have attended our public and corner meetings.

PPP candidate says if I loose, it will be because of LPP, the PMLN candidate says the same. We dam care about what they say. We are clear if any one of them get elected, workers will loose. We are contacting Left wing parties, groups, social organizations and radical individuals and youth to support us. We hope that they will support us.

We need your support. Please come forward in whatever way you could support. Above all, we need your money, for a cause that unites us nationally and internationally. It is workers fight in Pakistan to unite the workers internationally.

Please find below an appeal we sent you on 10 April 2010 for more information:
Pakistan: Help us to put forward a credible alternative to the politics of the rich – An Appeal to all friends in Social and political circles


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