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Urgent financial appeal for Kashmir general election

Monday 6 June 2011, by Farooq Tariq, Nisar Shah

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Kashmir Labour Party, a sister organization of LPP in Kashmir, is going to contest from four seats in the general election of AJK Assembly 2011 to be held on 26th June. The nomination papers of all 4 candidates have been accepted. All the four electoral constituencies have over 90,000 voters and substantial surrounding hilly areas of Kashmir.

Four candidates from Kashmir Labour Party are taking part in Kashmir general elections and their nomination papers have been accepted, they are

1. Raja Muhmmad Sarfraz Khan (Advocate) from LA 20 Poonch 4

2. Raja Mohammad Bashrat Khan (Advocate) from LA-14 Bagh 2

3. Choudhry Mohd Mumtaz Ahmed (Advocate) from LA-15 Bagh 3

4. Nisar Shah (Advocate) from LA -35 Jammu 6

All these candidates are from a working class background. They have been active in Kashmir from their student days, mainly in Jammu Kashmir national Student Federation. All of them have been very active during the lawyers movement against the dictatorship of general Musharaf. Nisar Shah was arrested twice and spent 22 days in Adaliala Jail Rawalpindi. While the others have been subject to police brutalities and played an important role after the imposition of emergency in Novemebr 2007.

They need your support

Azad Jammu Kashmir Assembly is a semi autonomous body working under control of the Government of Pakistan. The 49 members’ assembly (8 special seats 41 direct) has a power to elect its own Prime Minister and President; however, the Pakistan Federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs has real power to run the government. Despite this fact that Azad Kashmir called an independent part of Indian occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir but the real situation is totally different, the area is totally under control of State of Pakistan and its intelligence agencies. In these circumstances, when politics is just become a slave of specific class/people in the society, Kashmir Labour Party decided not to be silent spectator of the situation and will not let the rulers to bulldoze the fundamental economic, political and social rights of Kashmiri People.

Labour Party Pakistan has decided to support and strengthen its sister organization Kashmir Labour Party (KLP) with the spirit of internationalism. Labour Party Pakistan always supported the right of self determination Kashmir’s as an independent nation and national state.

The foundation of Kashmir Labour Party is reflection of LPP ideological stand on issue of national question. We stand for the right of self determination of Kashmiri people and for an independent Kashmir, free both from Pakistan and Indian rulings class. That is why KLP is an independent body and not a wing of LPP in Kashmir.

Kashmir Labour Party is a registered political party in Azad Kashmir and it contested the last general elections in 2006 from one constituency of AJK Assembly and got around 2.5 % vote, now after five years of pain staking slowly building the party, we are again back to take part in an election where we should be able to bring our message to a wider section of working class in Kashmir. All candidates of Kashmir Labour Party are young and energetic under 40 just in the start of their political carrier and vowed to promote the progressive, democratic political thinking and culture in the region.

We would like all our supporters to contact us to help build our candidates campaign in Kashmir elections. A decent vote for KLP will lay down the basis for a stronger Socialist movement in Kashmir that can fight for national liberation and against the religious fanatics.

We are fighting with very little resources as compared to the conservative exploitive forces who have build up their resources with the help of religion and the state loot and plaunder.

Our candidates are young and energetic and are well equipped with determination to fight back for a just and equitable society free from national and calls exploitation.

Our candidates have good credibility because of their role in providing consistent support to the earthquake victims of 2005. They have also been part of the campaign to force the government to provide adequate support to the earthquake.

Our opponents

There are four major capitalist and religious parties taking part in the elections of Kashmir. They are Muslim Conference, Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Jamaat islami. They all have been in power in Kashmir through allioances or on their own with the help of Pakistan military and civilian estrablishment.

Their candidates have already spent huge amount for buying party nominations and only the wealthiest candidate have succeeded in getting the party tickets. The candidates, who have bought their nominations through money and corrupt practices, will do the same if they are elected. All these right wing and religious parties are promoting Jihad culture, corruption, tribalism, regionalism, nepotism and vote buying culture.

The major Nationalist political parties boycotted the election because of the condition to submit an oath as a believer of Kashmir affiliation with Pakistan; The KLP candidates had to do it and we did it under protest and keeping in the view that elections must be fought to bring our message to wider layers of the population. Now, two left wing political parties Kashmir Labour Party and United Kashmir Peoples National Parties are in field, UKPNP known as anti establishment party and its main leadership is living in exile.

KLP is linked with the small trade union movement in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The trades unions in Kashmir are mainly in public sector and are under immense pressure to support the official candidates or lose their jobs. Still we hope to make an important inroads among these organized sector.

KLP is the youngest party in Kashmir. It has very limited resources. We need your financial assistance to have good election campaign and to strengthen our elections message.

On the other hand the potential for the campaign is obvious - we had barely started when we attracted attention from the international newspaper Express Tribune who quote extensively from Farooq Tariq. They also spoke to one of the candidates who explained that the KLP wants to offer a socialist programme as an alternative to the poverty-ridden people.

Further he said: " Our main strategy during the election campaign will be to expose the menance of fundamentalism and obscurantism. A decent vote for the KLP will lay down the basis for a stronger socialist movement in Kashmir that can strengthen the liberation movement and weaken the fanatics. "

Please help if you can. LPP appeals to all its members, supporters and sympathizers to come forward to help a party in Kashmir that can make a difference in these elections.

We need your support to finance our election campaign through leaflets, posters and rallies and demonstrations.