International Finance Appeal
Help fight against Taliban and military
This is a formal appeal by the Labor
Relief Campaign to help in the fight against Taliban and
military operations. The purpose is to provide immediate
help to some of the more than 1.5 million internally
displaced people from the Malakand Division of the North
West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan. This
displacement has resulted from the fight between the
Taliban and the Pakistani government. We also aim to
publish Mazdoor Jeddojuhd in the Pushto language
more frequently. At present it is published weekly in
Urdu and monthly in Pushto. We want to counter the ideas
both of religious fanatics and state repression. We aim
to aid the labour and social movements in the province
by publishing their activities and views, bringing them
together to form new networks.
The Taliban have taken over parts of
Pakistan. They have threatened to occupy other parts as
well. To pacify them, the government went into an accord
with the Taliban this April, imposing a so-called Nizam
Adl (system of justice) in Malakanad. The Taliban then
imposed medieval laws in the areas under their control,
targetingh women and minorities. This accord also
provided the Taliban with the opportunity to move into
Then the government went to another the
opposite extreme and launched a military operation. This
then resulted in an unprecedented influx of refugees
into different part of the country. The army says that
the operation is meant to wipe out religious fanatics
and it will take time. But the religious fanatics are
holding on and in fact are spreading all over Pakistan.
A military solution cannot eliminate the
fanatics. On the contrary, it will help them to spread
their ideas. The Taliban lost power in Afghanistan after
NATO forces occupied in 2001. However, with a few years
they re-emerged in Pakistan and later re-emerged in
Afghanistan. The situation is very complex.
The military operation in Swat covers up
the reality that the Pakistan military considers the
Taliban an asset and is not willing to sacrifice that
asset to please the USA. While army is flushing the
Taliban out of Swat, the Jihadi-infrastructure (training
camps, seminaries, newspapers, charities; the fronts for
the Taliban) remain intact in other parts of the
The scale of the insurgency is
exacerbated by the 1.5 million people now living and
festering in underfunded refugee camps or inadequate and
temporary housing, devoid of gainful employment. This
displacement does not engender confidence in the
capacity of the Pakistani state to solve their problems.
Another major problem is the U.S. drone
attacks. Over 700 people have been killed since 2006,
with 164 killed in 14 attacks under Obama's watch. These
drone attacks are further fueling anti-U.S. sentiments.
The US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan is
detrimental to the overall stability of the NWFP.
Our Perspective & Strategy
The fight against religious extremism can
only be successful when the basic problems of the
working class in social, political and economic fields
are solved. In addition to developing a system of free
education with a secular syllabus for all, this means an
end to feudalism, implementation of land reform and an
end to the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. Our strategy
is to fight the fanatics with local defense committees.
Both the Taliban and the military are
destructive. We must support neither military action nor
the Taliban. Our position is more radical than simply
working for humanitarian help for the internally
displaced persons (IDPs), although this work is
absolutely essential. It is more than condemning, on the
basis of sovereignty, the drone attacks and the civilian
casualties that result from them. We are unequivocally
opposed to the war because a military campaign like this
will guarantee the violation of human rights for
generations to come.
One of the main aspects of our campaign
is to intensify the ideological campaign against the
growing influence of Taliban. Our strategy is to build
and strengthen the labour and social organization in the
areas dominated by the Taliban. Since 2004 we have been
able to build significant forces of labour, women and
peasants in progressive organizations. A proper office,
set up in 2004 in Murdan, has played a pivotal role in
organizing progressive activities, primarily of women,
in different parts of NWFP. Several new trade unions and
peasant organizations have been set up and many more
were brought together to help each other and unite
around one common platform.
In the beginning the most significant
development was the printing of Mazdoor Jeddojuhd
in Pushto, the local language in the NWFP. The paper
began on a voluntary basis with over 200 poets, writers,
trade union, social and women activists lending their
support. This is the first progressive Pushto paper of
the trade unions and progressive writers. Five editions
have been printed and are available on line (www.jeddojuhud.com).
This is one concrete way to counter the
religious fanatics in the language the majority of the
Pukhtoon working class can read.
It is imperative
to increase the number of Pushto editions.
The Taliban has become a great danger to
our existence and must be opposed. Although some
progressive currents have called them anti-imperialists,
they are like neo-fascists. Now the general public is
turning against the Taliban. The swing in the public's
perception was catalyzed by a video showing the Taliban
whipping a girl, shocking Pakistanis. However Taliban
spokesperson Muslim Khan defended the punishment and
asserted that the girl should have been stoned.
What is Labor Relief Campaign (LRC)?
After the devastating earthquake in
Kashmir and other areas in October 2005, five
organizations including Women Workers Help Line, Labour
Education Foundation, Labour Party Pakistan, National
Trade Union Federation and Progressive Youth Front took
up an initiative to deal with the emergency that left
over 100,000 dead and many more injured and displaced.
Within two months, the LRC raised over half a million
U.S. dollars from inside and outside Pakistan. This
money provided immediate relief to the affected people.
Immediately after the military operation
began in the first week of May 2009, once again the LRC
initiated a campaign to help the internally displaced.
LRC relief camps have been set up and volunteers raised
a significant amount of money. The LRC bought and
distributed goods from 16-18 May 2009 at different
refugee camps in the NWFP.
We believe it is essential to develop a
short-term, as well as a long-term, radical plan to
confront religious fundamentalism. The following are a
few points we are promoting through our literature:
LRC demands separation of the state from religion.
believe that at least 10 percent of national budget
needs to be allocated to education. We must end state
subsidies to the madrassas and nationalize all the major
private /religious educational institutions, integrating
them into a revamped public education system open to
LRC demands a radical land reform program, effective
should be a radical reduction in the army budget, an end
to the nuclear program, and a redistribution of army
LRC stands for a comprehensive legal and constitutional
reform package that includes the decolonization of FATA,
protection of minorities/ women, the convening of a
committee (comprised particularly of minorities and
women) to draft new educational curriculum, and the
convening of an assembly to write a new,
minority-friendly, secular constitution.
The LRC demands the
announcement of a living wage policy.
LRC demands an end to the occupation of Afghanistan by
NATO and American forces and U.S. withdrawal from Iraq
and other areas of the world.
The Labour Relief Campaign requests that
social organizations, individuals, trade unions and
political activists and parties come forward to help
this important campaign. Please donate to the campaign
by affiliating with LRC. To affiliate, a minimum
donation of US $300 is recommended.
Below are details of the account for
sending money to the LRC. We will update you with all
the relevant information on the campaign as well as on
subsequent political developments.
Title: Labour Education Foundation
advise and pay to Citi Bank, New York, USA Swift CITI US
33 for onward transfer to BANK ALFALAH LTD., KARACHI,
PAKISTAN A/C No. 36087144 and for final transfer to BANK
ALFALAH LTD., LDA PLAZA, KASHMIR ROAD, LAHORE, PAKISTAN
Swift: ALFHPKKALDA for A/C No. 01801876 OF LABOUR
Women Workers Help Line
National Trade Union Federation Pakistan
Progressive Youth Front