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The remaking of the movement

Monday 17 December 2007, by Farooq Tariq

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There are daily demonstrations against the military dictatorship all over Pakistan. Students, lawyers, journalists and others from the civil society are in the lead this time.

It is yet small in numbers but it is growing every day. The numbers are increasing and so is the militancy of the demonstrations, picket lines and rallies. The movement is in the remaking once again.

This is happening just after two weeks of the large scale repression, arrests and detentions of the over 10,000 activists from different political parties and advocates. Most of those arrested are released but the main leadership of the Advocate movement is still under detention. Most of the judges who refused to take oath under the new constitutional order are under threat of thrown out of their official residences. But the 24 hours picket lines by the activists not seen earlier in the movement at Lahore and Islamabad have made the task of the police more difficult.

There are many new faces in the movement; mainly young students, advocates and social activists. This is a new layer that is remaking the movement and it is spreading day by day.

Journalists, advocates, students and radical social organizations representatives are uniting in one or another form to organize the movement. They are taking new initiatives. SMS, mobile telephone calls and emails have become the main source of communications of the event organized by different groups. Resistance is organized on very short notice.

When a judge of Lahore High Court Shahid Siddique was under threat of evacuation: in half an hour, many dozens activists started a picket line of the house on 3rd December. Now this has translated into 24 hour picket line at the front gates of the judge’s house. Hundreds of activists have visited the house and the judge has mad very radical statements.

Thousands of students, journalists, advocates and social activists are demonstrating on daily basis in Islamabad. Police is using baton charges to disperse them on regular basis.

There are daily protests by the journalists all over Pakistan against the restriction on the media. One of the most popular private television channel GEO is still not been allowed on air in Pakistan. The Sind High Court dismissed a petition of this TV channel after hearing six times saying that they can not hear this case. These are the hand-picked judges of Musharaf who are denying justice. So are the judges at Supreme Court who are giving a go-ahead to this military dictatorship.

The boycott campaign against the holding of general elections under the emergency is growing as well. More and more political parties are boycotting the elections on the basis that it will be rigged at a level never seen before. There is no counter-balance or a place to go against any sort of rigging during the elections.

The Left Alliance of seven political parties and groups has also announced (a decision) to boycott the general elections. Labour Party Pakistan candidates who have submitted the nomination papers are taking back their nomination papers on the instruction of this Left alliance, AJT.

At an all-parties conference on 5th December at Lahore Press Club, almost all except Pakistan Peoples Party were in favor of rejecting the elections. The representatives of journalists, lawyers, doctors, civil society organizations and students argued in favor of boycott to further the movement against the military dictatorship.

The movement is in remaking; so is the level of repression by the military regime. A new wave of arrests has started already in Islamabad. This is despite the assurances of the military dictatorship that no more arrests will be made on political grounds. But the repression is generating new militancy among different groups to come on the street.

The Musharaf regime is in real crisis. Its entire plan for future prolongation of its rule is facing serious difficulties. More and more people are speaking openly against the military regimes. The trade unions in one district have come forward as well against the military regime and bad social conditions. The others are in preparations. Several public opinion surveys have described the growing discontent among the ordinary citizens of Pakistan against general Musharaf.

The ordinary people have not yet come to the street in bulk. But all the signs are there. The demonstrations are small but very vocal and growing day by day. Musharaf’s regime can not last very long despite the fact that American imperialism is trying to rescue him for the time being. It is a weak military dictatorship and that is fact becoming known to many day by day. Youth are in the forefront this time, a guarantee for success, According to Lenin, “he who has the youth, has the future”.