Burhan and Riaz Ahmed
International Socailists of Pakistan
History made an entire cross section of civil society of Pakistan learned and transformed from its own struggle against rules from above. Long march ended today at 6 am with thousands of agitators sending a strong message to those in corridor of power that they know how to mobilize nationwide and the next time the rulers will not have a chance.
We are in Rawalpindi rite now. Last nite we went to Isd. A Huge no. of people in Rawalpindi/Isd are disappointed at decesion to cancel Dharna. We asked 50 people and 80% of them disagreed with Aitzaz MAny young lawyers and civil society members were Dumbstruck. They were ready for further action but were let down by the leadership. when Aitzaz started his speech many students and activists felt that the Dharna would be canceled and then they started agitating.
People present there were not consulted at all before the cancellation. If cancellation was done because of logistical reasons then proper arrangements could have been done and funds could have been raised to help those willing to sit in front of the parliament. It was done in an undemocratic fashion.
this doesnot suggest by any means a betrayal nor this can be reduced to the vacillation of the middle class. But one very important reason for such a decesion could be the fact that around 6 am, 80% of the people present were lawyers.
when we left Pindi for Isd, it was phenomenal. There was huge public support. various people (old, young) responded to the slogans that we were shouting from the roof of our bus. From central Punjab onwards, mainly youngsters openly abused Musharraf, in very foul language. From Pindi, when the convoy started, it was 8km long. Till Zero Point, nearly 1.5 to 2 lac people stood on the sides to greet the procession. From Aabpara onwards we had to walk towards the main stage. it was nearly a 4km walk. while we were walking nearly 20,000 people were walking ahead of us.
At the main area there were not less than 1 lac people. might be more but not less. Overwhelmingly majority of people were either from middle class or were lawyers. The general feeling there was that something BIG is happening or rather has happened. And this feeling was that (at least in the Short run) politics will not be done in the ways of the past.
The Karachi delegation of IS thankful to Mr. Rasheed Rizvi, Noman Qadir and salahuddin Ahmed for taking care during the journey coordination, accommodation and insuring that we are treated well by the host bar associations.
Over all international socialist’s comrades sold 390 socialist Urdu magazine and 415ooklets, over ten thousand leaflets stopover of IS bus and bar council rally through out in the long march. On June 13 39 socialist and 82 booklets were distributed over two thousand leaflets. On June 14 during the Dharna 32 socialist were sold and 1500 leaflets distributed.
Earlier only lawyers’ protests were seen as respectful, but after this civi; society shall also gain respect and will be seen as “agents of change”. Another transformation was that such huge no. of people can be gathered by a national call. It’s now imperative that a national conference of activists belonging to various shads in the movement. We call to discuss the next call for long march mobilization to strengthen the movement from the below.
Long march has become a mile stone for generations to come, it has shown that we can mobilize and organize but still it also shows that the movement, its leadership, has to look towards the forces that would like forge a compromise of national capital with the international capital. A number of time during the long march the lawyers leadership has to look towards political support of Nawaz Sharif, Jamat Islami and Tehrik Insaaf so as to mobilize masses, it’s these forces of the national capital who can’t fight imperialism on their own but they always like the professionals and the working classes to fight their war of liberation. The professionals and working classes will surely learn from this historic mobilization.
Burhan and Riaz Ahmed.