Pakistan: Marxists elected President of Punjab People’s Student Federation

Over the weekend the Punjab People’s Student Federation (PSF) held a convention under the title “Bhuttoism—Socialism”, officially organised to mark the 57th birthday anniversary of Benazir Bhutto. The convention, representing a large number of campuses across the Punjab, elected Zohaib Butt, a Marxist and supporter of The Struggle, as its President.

On June 19 the Punjab PSF [People’s Student Federation] held a Convention to mark the 57th birthday anniversary of Benazir Bhutto. Students from all over the Punjab participated in large numbers. The convention was titled “Bhuttoism—Socialism”. A PSF Manifesto and constitution was also published for the convention which was written by Zohaib Butt.

At the start of the program Dr. Tahir Bashir and Shaikhupura District President Yousaf Altaf recited their revolutionary poems.

Amongst the guests were the President of the Punjab People’s Youth Organization Mian Ayub, the President of the Lahore Pakistan People’s Party Women’s Wing and member of the Provincial Assembly Sajida Mir, former secretary general of the Punjab PPP Ghulam Abbas, the National General Secretary of the Pakistan People’s Lawyers’ Forum Ilyas Khan and member of the Sindh PPP Council Riaz Lund. Paras Jan was the stage secretary.

Also present were a long list of representatives of various educational institutions and campuses, among them the information secretary of the Punjab PSF Muazzam Bhatti, PSF Lahore Division President Ijaz Gill, PSF Sahiwal Division President Asif Baloch, PSF Shaikupura District President Yousaf Altaf, PSF Okara District President Shakir Gujjar, PSF Okara District Vice President Zafar Kalya, PSF Tehsil Dipalpur President Waheed Begoka, PSF Lahore Division Vice President Chaudhry Zaheer, PSF Pakpattan President Qasid Shah, PSF Sahiwal District President Zohaib Jutt, PSF Tehsil Pattoki President Mujtaba Bhatti, PSF Education University Okara Campus President Khawar Iqbal, PSF Degree College Kasur President Malik Mudassar, Senior Vice President PSF Rahim Yar Khan Khalid Ayub Chachar, PSF Rahim Yar Khan District General Secretary Zafar Aaheer, PSF Tehsil Sadiqabad President Tayyab Khokhar, PSF Multan City President Asim Khan, Albur Jutt President PSF Technical College Multan, MIMS College Multan PSF President Chaudhry Zain, Right College Multan PSF President Behroz Chaudhry, PSF Bahawalpur District President Ashfaq Basra, Tehsil President Yazman Mandi Hafiz Tariq, Ahmedpur East City President Muhammad Asif, DG Khan District President Shehzad Shaikh, Degree College Chowk Sarwar Shaheed Sadiqabad PSF President Meher Ali, PSF Khwaja Fareed College Rahim Yar Khan President Raees Shahid Raza.

Malangi from the Islamabad PSF and Qarni from the Rawalpindi PSF also participated along with their delegations. The Provincial Ticket Holder from Lahore Nadeem Pahat, the President of the Gujranwala Division of the People’s Youth Irshadullah Sindhu, Gujranwala City Information Secretary of the People’s Youth Dr. Sheer Muhammad Ali Ansari and Revolutionary Council Leader from the Agriculture University in Faisalabad Umer Rasheed also participated along with their accompanying delegations.

In the convention following resolutions were passed unanimously: 1. Abolition of train and bus fares for students. 2. End to privatization of Educational Institutions and formation of Governing bodies. 3. Free education at all levels. 4. Student Union elections to be held in every institution. 5. Employment to be provided to all unemployed youth or unemployment allowance to be given.

The former PSF Leader and former Sec. Gen. Of the PPP Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas said that the PSF was the force that had stood against the dictatorships and paid the price in the form of imprisonments, lashes, and its brave members faced the gallows and sacrificed their lives. Today the majority of the PPP’s leaders in power are a product of the Military Dictatorships and Religious fundamentalism. PPP Ministers are visiting the shrines of fundamentalist leaders and institutions of clan based organisations. The People’s Party does not belong to any religion, race or a clan, it belongs to the poor and the working class and this class has always made sacrifices for the party. The ruling class was able to kill Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto because the top layer of the party’s leadership has been taken over by the capitalists and feudal lords. The leadership of the PPP should say the same things in the high offices of power which they say to the people. As long as the PPP does not return to its founding Manifesto it will not be able to deliver anything to the masses and that founding manifesto of the PPP is based on Socialism.

Mian Ayub said in his speech that the youth and students have always played an important role in the PPP. 70% of those who went to welcome Benazir Bhutto on October 18, 2007 were youth and saved her life by sacrificing theirs at the time of the bomb blast.

Sajida Mir said that the capitalists and feudals in the PPP are trying to expel the genuine political heirs of Bhutto and workers from the party. The party will have to be cleared of this filth of capitalists and feudal lords in order to complete the mission of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, i.e. Revolutionary Socialism. The Youth is the leadership of the future and will advance the fundamental philosophy of the PPP. She said that the founding manifesto of the PPP is based on Socialism which is the only way for the future.

Former leader of the PSF and general Secretary of the Pakistan People’s Lawyers’ Forum and deputy attorney general of Pakistan Ilyas Khan said that PPP was formed to carry out a socialist revolution. But today they talk about democracy when the poor youth and workers are committing suicides to escape poverty. There are lucrative positions available for the children of Ministers but the sons and daughters of the poor are going door to door in their futile efforts to find jobs. Bhutto was killed not because he advocated democracy but because he raised the slogan of “Roti, Kapra aur Makan” (Bread, clothing and shelter) and Socialism. Not a single problem can be solved by Capitalism now and the only solution is Socialism.

PPP Sindh council member and ticket holder from NA-257 Riaz Lund said that the PPP is a party of workers, peasants and the youth. The capitalists and the feudal lords have taken over the leadership. We have to remove them and bring a new young leadership which can complete the mission of a Socialist Revolution.

The newly elected president of the PSF Zohaib Butt said in his address that the PSF will not hesitate to shed the last drop of blood in order to achieve the demands made in the resolutions. No fear, no offer can deviate us from our path. We have come out to complete the mission of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, which was to accomplish a Socialist Revolution. PSF will avenge the murder of its leaders by transforming society. He said that a series of “Benazir’s Revenge Conventions” will be held all across the Punjab and will hold conventions in every district, Tehsil, every school, college and university. He said that in the PSF Manifesto we have written that the murders of leaders can only be avenged by uprooting this system and providing free health care, free education, and bread, clothing and shelter to everyone. This is only possible through socialism as mentioned in the founding document of the Party. He said that the remnants of Zia’s and Musharraf’s dictatorships do not want this and have held the party hostage. We have won the first battle in the struggle to take our party back and now shall advance even more forcefully and cleanse the party of this filth of capitalists. He demanded that the party leadership should break the coalition with the fascist MQM, fundamentalist JUI and Nawaz league which is an agent of the capitalists, and adopt the founding principles of socialism and end the subjugation to the IMF, World Bank and imperialism.

Lahore Division President Ijaz Gill said that we don’t accept the leadership which guards the interests of the capitalists and the feudals. He wowed to fight till the end for the rights of the youth and the workers. Sahiwal Division President Asif Baloch said that today the PSF has resurrected the philosophy of Bhuttoism, which is in reality revolutionary socialism.

PSF leader from Attock, Dr. Changez Malik said that the youth of PSF will advance the struggle which Bhutto started. Capitalism has nothing to give to the people and the only option left for humanity is Socialism.

Frantic efforts had been made by the PPP right-wing bureaucracy to stop and sabotage this convention. Phone calls were made from the President’s House in Islamabad and the Governor’s House in Lahore by the cronies of the leadership including some ex ministers, who threatened the youth if they attended this convention. But they miserably failed and the convention was a great success.

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