The established parties are all parties of the ruling class. As it is always the case with robbers they fight between themselves about the share of the spoils. That’s why Zia executed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979 and Musharraf disposed Nawrez Sharif in 1999 and sent him into exile and the later and Benazir Bhutto did with Musharraf in 2007.
But in essence they serve the same class: the ruling class of landlords, industrial and financial barons. This is not only true for the PML(Q) and the PML(N) but also for the PPP. Yes, it proclaimed in the past socialism and democracy as its goals. But we know: not everyone who pretends to be a righteous Muslim is an honest man in real life. And so it is also the case that not everybody who swears on socialism and democracy is necessarily a socialist and democrat. In fact the PPP is led since its beginning by one of the biggest landlord families in Sind. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was no socialist in any way! He just covered his bourgeois regime with phrases about the “socialist revolution”. At the same time he oppressed the working class, the reactionary war against the Bengal people striving for independence and sent in the years 1973-77 80.000 soldiers to slaughter the national liberation struggle of the Baloch people. And the PPP leader Benazir Bhutto imposed an open neoliberal policy in the 1990s against the working class and the peasants.
Shamefully various petty-bourgeois left-wing forces help the PPP to get a progressive cover. They present the PPP government as a lesser evil (like the Communist Party or various left-wing intellectual). Some even support them “critically” (like the Awami Party). Other, pseudo-Trotskyist organizations, support the ruling PPP – the party of the Sind big landlords and capitalists – as party activists and as office holder (like ex-MP Manzoor Ahmad and leader of the PPP’s Labour Bureau from the “Revolutionary Struggle” tendency). Or they act as critically but loyal PPP inner-party opposition (like Lal Khan’s “The Struggle”/IMT) which tries to foster relations with critical sectors of the bourgeois PPP by praising the party’s past tradition of authoritarian ruler.
Instead of praising the PPP’s past program and manifesto like the CWI and the IMT do, Marxists have the duty to unmask the PPP’s Pakistani chauvinism and the bourgeois class interest which is covered by some sweetish demagogic phrases about „Islamic socialism“ and democracy. The PPP is and always was a bourgeois-populist party.
The present rise of Imran Kahn and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) reflects the huge distrust of the masses in the established political parties. The only “strength” of Khan’s PTI is the public hatred of his opponents and the unknown record of the party. However behind Khan’s populism is ordinary bourgeois politics in the interest of the ruling class. This is why many politicians of the old parties don’t find it difficult to jump wagon and joins Khan’s party. They know they can continue with him the same old politics.
The Islamists parties usually represent the class position of very conservative sectors of the bourgeoisie and of backward and desperate sectors of the petty-bourgeoisie.
Unfortunately the Pakistani left is strongly marked by reformism and centrism. The Workers Party has links with some trade union leaders but rather weak roots amongst the workers. Its policy is characterised by reformism which it inherited from its Stalinist and social democratic founding organisations. The Awami Party is even more right-wing reformist. It is totally focused on standing for elections and supports the imperialist war on terror.
The Labour Party follows a left reformist policy which it covers with socialist rhetoric. But in various working class struggles they orientate mainly to build closer relations with trade union bureaucrats instead of organising the workers against the union leaders. They are also looking for alliances with bourgeois, liberal forces and NGO’s.
The Struggle Group (IMT) follows its unprincipled deep entryism in the openly corrupt capitalist PPP since decades. They believe that the Pakistani working class does not need their own, independent party. Instead, according to them the PPP is already the party of the workers and the task is only to replace its leadership by socialists. While they completely misjudge the progressive potential of the PPP they ignored real progressive mass movements like the lawyers movement and played a disastrous role in the PTCL workers struggle.
While in the concrete struggle practical agreements with various forces about common actions in the defence of a strike, of a national resistance act or actions of landless peasants are inevitable and necessary, political alliances with bourgeois parties are illegitimate for Marxists. This is why the Labour Party of Pakistan’s joining of the All-Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) together with the right-wing fundamentalist Jamat-i-Islami and Imran Khan’s PTI was a renunciation of class independence and a politics of popular-frontism, i.e. of class collaboration with sectors of the bourgeoisie.
As a result of the failure of the various reformist and centrist parties and the populist deception of the PPP the working class in Pakistan lacks their own party. The RWO emphasizes that the working class needs a revolutionary party. As a step into such a direction we support practical initiatives from sectors of the working class – in the unions, in other mass organizations etc. – to build a new, independent working class party. While we would advocate a revolutionary program we would not make acceptance of it to a pre-condition from participation. We would rather work inside such a new workers party as a revolutionary wing. We would however openly fight for our program under all circumstances and try to win the majority of the party for it.