The ideas of genuine Marxism have been vindicated with the election of Manzoor Ahmed to the Pakistani Parliament in yesterday's elections. During this election campaign many thousands of workers came into contact with the ideas of Marxism for the first time. On one of Manzoor's election posters the main slogan was "Irreconcilable Struggle Until Socialist Revolution". So no one can have any doubt what the people of Kasur were voting for! When the result was announced in the early hours of the morning huge numbers of Manzoor's supporters came out spontaneously to celebrate his victory.
"Irreconcilable Struggle Until Socialist Revolution"
The ideas of genuine Marxism have been vindicated with the election of Manzoor Ahmed to the Pakistani Parliament in yesterday's elections. These ideas represent the only real solution to the problems facing the masses in Pakistan. This is the first opportunity workers have had to actually express their opinion of these ideas at the ballot box. During this election campaign many thousands of workers came into contact with the ideas of Marxism for the first time.
On one of Manzoor's election posters the main slogan was "Irreconcilable Struggle Until Socialist Revolution". So no one can have any doubt what the people of Kasur were voting for! When the result was announced in the early hours of the morning huge numbers of Manzoor's supporters came out spontaneously to celebrate his victory.
The bourgeois media prefer to highlight the advances of the Islamic fundamentalists in some areas of Pakistan in yesterday's elections. They prefer to give the impression that everything is moving to the right and towards barbaric reaction. But in the constituency of NA-139 Kasur II we have a completely different picture.
Manzoor Ahmed, the Marxist candidate, stood on the ticket of the Pakistan People's Party against Sheikh Waseem from the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Mehmood Kasuri from the PML (Quid-e-Azam) and an independent candidate Nelofher Mehdi.
The main competition, however, was between Manzoor Ahmed and Sheikh Waseem. Manzoor Ahmed has won in spite of the government media and machinery fully supporting and propping up Mehmood Kasuri because he is from so-called 'King's party'. [We will give the full figures in a later report].
Manzoor Ahmed's victory is even more amazing if we consider that in spite of all the talk about free and fair elections, the Musharraf regime gave every possible support to the candidates of the Grand National Alliance [the main parties of this alliance include the PML(Q), the Millat party, the People's Party-Jatoi group and some other nationalist parties]. It is a tradition in Pakistan for the wealthy bourgeois to rig elections if they do not go their way. Obviously support for Manzoor was so big that this time no amount of rigging could stop him getting elected.
Manzoor Ahmed's election campaign started off with big meetings and it grew day by day. In the last three weeks of the campaign these meetings grew to gigantic proportions. Massive public meetings were held all over the constituency. Manzoor spoke to over 100 public meetings with the attendance of thousands of people. The last 20 meetings saw the attendance of more than 10,000 people.
In all these meetings Manzoor Ahmed defended a revolutionary and class position. As Manzoor's campaign built up, the mood of the people gradually began to change in the constituency. They could see that this was no ordinary election campaign. Here was a man prepared to stand up for the millions of downtrodden poor of Pakistan. Here was a man who was standing up for the working class of Pakistan. The people regarded this election as their own election, an election where the proletariat was pitted against the capitalists.
The candidates who stood against Manzoor clearly had more financial resources, and support from the state itself. But as the campaign gained momentum ordinary people started funding Manzoor's campaign. They could see that they had a vested interest in getting this workers' candidate into parliament. A lot of election offices were opened voluntarily by the local residents of Kasur II for Manzoor. People were coming up to Manzoor after his speeches at every public meeting and giving him money towards his campaign costs. Many anonymous individuals, people that Manzoor had never met before, came forward with big and small contributions.
Importantly many youth flocked to Manzoor's campaign and are actively getting involved in the struggle as a result.
Women in Pakistan are particularly oppressed. Again Manzoor's campaign had a big impact among this layer of society. Many female supporters of Manzoor's campaign worked hard in door to door canvassing, talking to the women of Kasur.
They organised a special public meeting for women where over 500 attended. This was the first ever women's meeting in the history of Kasur! This meeting alone underlines the impact of Manzoor's campaign. In Pakistan women are not supposed to get involved in political activity or go to such meetings.
It was a well-organised meeting. The main speakers were Nusrat Surfaraz, president of the PPP women's wing in the Kasur district, comrade Shabana the women's organiser of Tabqati Jedojuhad, comrade Sadaf Zahra, the President of the women's wing of the People's Youth Organisation in Lahore and comrade Manzoor Ahmed himself, the candidate.
All the speakers put forward a class position and the mood of the audience was so enthusiastic that many of the women in the audience came forward to speak from the platform to give their full support. Women were coming up in whole groups as the meeting was finishing.
The victory of Manzoor Ahmed is not only a victory for the workers of Kasur, of the workers of Pakistan, it is a victory for all those workers and youth who are struggling to change society all over the world. It must give confidence to all genuine socialists in every corner of the world. It shows that with a genuine Marxist programme the masses can be won to the ideas of Socialist Revolution.
This victory is going to enormously strengthen the Marxist Tendency in Pakistan gathered around the journal, 'The Struggle', (of which Manzoor Ahmed is the editor). In the midst of the barbarism that can be seen all over Pakistan a beacon has been lit that the masses can turn to. An important step has been taken today in the construction of a mass Marxist force in Pakistan. The building of this force is the only way in which the workers of Pakistan can finally put an end to the misery of capitalism and landlordism.
We congratulate comrade Manzoor and all the comrades who worked so hard in Pakistan to achieve this result. Forward to the Socialist transformation of Pakistan and the whole of the Indian subcontinent!