Struggle History

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Historical perspective of Ittehad e Asateda

After the second World War the world became bipolar. The capitalist block was led by USA and the Socialist block by USSR. Military alliances like NATO, SEATO, CENTO, were led by USA, while the Russians led the WARSA Pact. Both blocks competed with each other in gaining and retaining influence in the rest of the world.

On one plane it was a confrontation between two world views. The Americans advocated unlimited private ownership of the means of production . Education, health, housing and jobs were the responsibility of the individual. The state was supposed to be business friendly. Electoral democracy and fundamental rights were its hallmark. On the other hand the Soviet Russia advocated economic and social justice, abolition of private property, equality of all citizens. Food, housing, clothing, jobs, health and education to be the responsibility of the state. All the means of production to be collectively owned and managed by the state.

Afro-Asian countries of colonial background were poverty stricken. The broad masses of these countries were all out for the narrative of the state-sponsorship of job security, food clothing, housing, health and education. But the propertied as well as bureaucratic elites of these countries favoured the American narrative. Pakistani ruling elite joined the American camp. It became a member of SEATO as well as CENTO, the military alliances as well as the Colombo Plan and other US aid economic programmes. In order to stem Left drift in these counties, religious parties were launched all around. In Europe Christian Democratic parties, In Egypt and Middle East, Ikhwan ul Musalmeen, In South East Asia Masjumi Party,and Nahdutul Islam Party, In South Asia Jamate Islami, In East Asia The Budhist Parties were floated. These parties promoted the politics of religious identity and countered the class politics, favoured by the Russians. A CENTO directive to the member countries, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan prompted them to promote religious organizations amongst the students and teachers at educational campuses.

As the Pakistani civilian structure was considered rickety, military dictatorship was established under Gen. Ayub Khan. Ayub Khan ruled Pakistan for almost a decade but fiasco of India Pakistan war of 1965, and the lopsided development in East and West Pakistan culminated in anti-Ayub democratic movement. Ayub was replaced by Yahya Khan who presided over the dismemberment of Pakistan as a result of the general election results in which East Pakistan won majority seats in national assembly, but was denied the right to form the government. A protest agitation turned into a civil war and the Indian intervention resulted in the defeat of Pakistan army. Nearly one Lakh soldiers were made prisoners of war and remained in Indian captivity for a long time. East Pakistan became Bangla Desh and Western part was named Pakistan. The army lost face and had to withdraw. The majority party that was PPP took over. Bhutto was elected Prime Minister and the civilian constitutional set up was re-established with the national and provincial assemblies and the senate.

Bhtto government nationalized industry, banks, insurance companies, private educational institutions. It introduced land reforms, labour union rights, restored sudent unions. It adopted an independent foreign policy. Established and strengthened relations with China, softened with Russia. It developed a nuclear programme and established rapport with the Muslim countries. It confined the military to the barracks. These policies upset the local elites as well as the Americans.

Security advisor to US president Carter, Brzenski, the master strategist, hatched a plan to “make Vietnam” of the Russians by sucking them in Afghanistan and engage and bleed them there while developing an infrastructure of anti Russian forces in the Soviet sphere of Central Europe and Kremlin itself. While Afghanistan was to be the theater of operations Pakistan was to be the support and supply base for the Afghan Jehad.

Bhutto government was toppled under the façade of a movement for Nizame Mustafa by the joint opposition, spearheaded by the religious right. Martial law was imposed by the army led by Gen Ziaul-Haq. Bhutto was charged for a murder and sentenced to death and hanged.

Civil liberties were abolished. Political parties were banned. The activists were arrested, imprisoned and tortured. Military courts held arbitrary trials. Strict censorship was imposed on the media, both print and electronic. Public flogging became a norm. Religious Madaris were patronized and zealots were nurtured, groomed and launched for Afghan Jehad. The Russians were pinned down and bled. Narcotic trade became a lucrative business for financing the Jehad. The Mujahedeen were recruited from all over the Muslim world, brought to Pakistan, trained, armed and then sent to Afghanistan. The local educational campuses were handed over to Jamaat e Islami goons. Liberal and democratic minded teachers were targeted, harassed and persecuted. They were transferred from their home towns to far flung and remote areas. Their representative unions were made dysfunctional and fake Jamaat e Islami contraptions were floated and patronized. The syllabi were changed and campuses were under the gun tottering Jmamaat goons. The teachers were threatened by the administration under the instructions of Martial Law authorities as well as the Jamaat stalwarts on the campuses. From top to bottom a fascist oppressive structure was imposed. The persecuted college teachers decided to unite and organized themselves to put up a resistance. They had to meet at private places as the campuses and open spaces were too dangerous.