By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
6 November 2007
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) condemns the declaration of emergency rule by Pakistan’s military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf and the further entrenchment of barefaced fascist dictatorship against the people of Pakistan. We support the just struggle of the people of Pakistan for national and social liberation against the Musharraf fascist regime and its US imperialist master.
Gen. Musharraf has faced strong opposition the past months with a broad array of forces ranged against him. He has been able to weather past challenges to his rule only because of his control over the military and because of US support. George W. Bush considers Musharraf a key ally in the US global “war on terror” and continues to praise him as his partner in spreading “freedom”.
Pakistan’s 610,000-member military is the eighth largest in the world. It has an annual expenditure of $2.435 billion, nearly 3% of Pakistan’s GDP. In the three years after 9/11, US military aid to Pakistan soared to $4.2 billion, compared to $9.1 million in the three years before the attacks. The total value of all American aid, including military, economic, and development assistance, to Pakistan since 9/11 is estimated at more than $10 billion. Pakistan now ranks third after Israel and Egypt among the biggest recipients of US aid.
The Bush-Musharraf tandem has meant the malicious use of the anti-terrorism slogan in order to justify the worst kinds of terrorism: the US-NATO war of aggression in Afghanistan and substantial parts of Pakistan and the state terrorism of the Musharraf regime against the Pakistani people.
Gen. Musharraf has allowed the U.S. to use Pakistan’s bases in anti-terrorism operations and to attack Pakistani communities, shared intelligence, helped identify and arrest suspected terrorists, and tightened the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan by deploying up to 80,000 Pakistani troops.
Among the broad masses of the people, there is widespread sentiment against and opposition to Musharraf’s puppetry to US imperialism particularly in connection with the US “war on terror”. This has served to stimulate the rise of a broad range of opposition forces, including the Islamic, the bourgeois democratic and the revolutionary.
Since the 1999 coup that put him in power, Musharraf has ruled with an iron fist. He has constantly tormented the bourgeois opposition. He has put many of them behind bars without charges where they are maltreated and tortured. Journalists critical of the government have been harassed, threatened, arrested and detained. The government has banned and disrupted anti-government rallies and demonstrations since October 2000.
More than one-third of the Pakistani population of 160 million live below the poverty line -13 percent survive on less than $1 a day. Many people in the rural areas are impoverished peasants living in mud houses. Because of their dire economic situation and the political repression, the masses have grown very restive. The social unrest has emboldened the broad range of opposition to challenge his authoritarian rule.
In March 2007, Musharraf removed chief justice Iftakar Mohammed Chaudhry from office. He took punitive action against Chaudhry for deciding to hear cases involving disappearances of people detained by the notorious intelligence agencies, as well as constitutional challenges to Musharraf’s rule. Street demonstrations protesting Chaudry’s ouster led to Chaudhry’s reinstatement in July.
Wishing to reverse the ever worsening internal political turmoil in the whole of Pakistan, coincident with the resurgence of the Taliban and the anti-imperialist forces in the Afghan-Pakistani border areas, the US has pushed the formula of keeping Musharraf as “civilian” president, making him resign from the position of chief of staff of the armed forces, holding parliamentary elections in January next year and making Benazir Bhutto his prime minister.
But like any puppet Musharraf has relative autonomy from his imperialist master and wants to secure his autocratic power against his actual and potential rivals and uses to his advantage the increasingly difficult position of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan and its desperate need for a brutal puppet like him. It is all a matter of hypocrisy for the US government to pretend being for a democratic Pakistan while in fact the US needs state terrorism in Pakistan to support the US war of aggression, especially in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan.
The declaration of emergency rule shows Musharraf’s determination to keep his despotic power at all costs. The illusion of democracy that the US wishes to conjure in Pakistan is dispelled by continuing martial rule, the suspension of the constitution and the replacement of the Supreme Court by a set of Musharaff appointees.These aggravate the political oppression and economic exploitation of the broad masses of the people. But these also result in favorable conditions for the people’s struggle for national and social revolution and the rise of revolutionary forces against US imperialism and the local reactionary forces.
All freedom-loving peoples of the world must condemn the unbridled state terrorism and barefaced fascist dictatorship of Musharraf as well as the continuing policy of the US to prop up the widely detested Musharraf regime and condone all its fascist crimes in line with the overriding US policy of aggression and plunder in South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
The people of Pakistan deserve all possible moral and political support for their just revolutionary resistance for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the Musharraf fascist regime.###