What's left of Pakistan's left?
For those in Pakistan who want to explore a non neo-liberal, non-right wing option, the Left is there in some form.
Publisher: Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières
Date Written: 23/06/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22210
Menon recounts her discovery of the emerging political Left in Pakistan and reflects on its future. Awami Workers Party featured.
Imagine a trade union in a military unit in Pakistan. Yet that was one of the first unions that Abid Hassan Minto formed when he joined the Communist Party in Pakistan in 1949. It was a workers' association at the Military Engineering Service; the other one was in a multinational oil company at Attock. Such a thing would be unthinkable now, grinned Minto, the president of the Awami Workers Party (AWP), which was formed after a merger of three parties in 2012 (Labour, Awami and Workers' parties). There was a buzz about the new unity of the Left parties then. This was a renewed attempt to forge a clearly defined Left in Pakistan, said Minto, a sprightly 80 in 2013 when I met him.
The Communist Party was scattered after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, as also due to the resurgence of the global corporate system in the shape of the New World. The disarray of the Left was everywhere, and in Pakistan, the trade union movement was weak and it splintered into many factions. The grouping of parties was based on individuals. For Minto, the key question was what kind of politics the Left had to come up with to deal with new challenges in Pakistan where many things hadnt changed at all.