Pakistan is the product of the conquest and suppression by the British colonial empire. Because of imperialism’s Durand agreement in 1893 the Pashtun people and the Balochi people got divided between what is today Afghanistan and Pakistan (and Iran in the case of the Balochis). It is because of imperialism’s policy of “divide et impera” (3) that when they could not resist the anti-colonial liberation struggle of the masses on the Indian sub-continent that the British ruling class instigated the partition. The aspiring new ruling classes of the Hindu and Muslim capitalists and landlords criminally supported this partition in 1947. The masses suffered the terrible consequences: up to a million people died and up to 15 million people had to flee and leave their homeland forever. This reactionary partition was not a division into “two nations” – the Muslims and the Hindus – as the reactionary Muslims League of Mohammad Ali Jinnah claimed. Let us remark as a side note that the idea of a “Muslim nation” in itself is a caricature of the Korans belief in the global unity of the ummah and not an ethnic-national group. Already after 1948 many millions of Muslims on the sub-continent lived outside of Pakistan. In fact the partition did not unite the Muslims but divided them between two states! (like the Kashmiris, the Punjabis etc.)
Shamefully the Communist Party of India (with Stalin’s support) played a treacherous role in this reactionary partition of the subcontinent. Its leadership claimed that the bourgeois Congress Party represents a “democratic movement” and publicly proclaimed to “extend full co-operation” with the Congress Party and the Muslim League. It called the workers and peasants to stop their struggles “because the new government was to be given an opportunity to fulfill their promise”. They subscribed before the partition to the reactionary theory of “two nations” (the Muslims and the Hindus), joined both the Congress Party and the Muslim League with the call “to unite the left wing of those parties”. Similarly they betrayed decisive (pre-)revolutionary situations when the Indian working class and peasantry rose up against the British Empire. The CPI denounced the “Quit India” mass uprising in August 1942 as a provocation of a fascist “Fifth Column”. It slandered the mutiny of the sailors of the Royal Indian Navy in February 1946 which turned into armed struggles and general strikes as “mob violence”. This was a particular serious crime since this uprising united worker from the different communities (Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs) and had the potential to overthrow the colonial administration. And it contained the Tebhaga movement of the share-cropping peasants which stated in Bengal in 1946. All this was done with the support by the Stalin-led bureaucracy with the justification of the necessary subordination of the interests of the working class and poor peasants under the interests of the “national”, “democratic” or “progressive” capitalists.
In fact the Muslim landlords, capitalists and state bureaucrats just looked for a pretext to create their state and exploit the toilers with the support of imperialism.
The Pakistani state never was the state of a single nation. In reality it became a state dominated by the Punjabi- despite the fact that the Punjabis constitute just 42% of the country’s population. They made their language – Urdu – the official state language despite the fact that when Pakistan state was founded, not more than 10% of the population spoke Urdu.
As a result Pakistan is a prison-house for the oppressed nationalities. This state did not liberate the Muslims but oppresses most of them. This is why the Balochis sought independence from the beginning. This is why the Bengals in what was Eastern Pakistan resented their discrimination and achieved finally independence in 1971 through a liberation war. This is why many other nationalities (especially Sindi, Saraki and even the Urdu speaking)resent the Punjabi-dominance amongst the military officer caste, the state apparatus, the rich and super-rich.
The Pakistani state was an artificial creation in the interest of British imperialism and a small domestic elite. Democrats and socialists have no interest in keeping this state within its present boundaries. We want to smash this prison house for the oppressed peoples. We want to achieve international unity starting with a voluntary federation of the people on the South Asian sub-continent and beyond. This can only be achieved via a socialist revolution and the building of a socialist society. Because as the partition in 1947 showed, as long as capitalist classes exist they will look for national division to rule their own state and to exploit the people. Only when we abolish the capitalist class there can be a unity of the different nations.
A pre-condition for such a voluntary federation is winning the trust and building the unity of the oppressed peoples. Therefore there can be no internationalism without the consistent struggle for self-determination of the oppressed peoples. “But this could lead to secession!”, some frightened liberals and reformists will say. So what? Are we afraid of secession? Not at all! We don’t want to keep a state that does not have the trust and support of the people living in it. Only voluntary unity is a stable and long-term unity of the peoples!
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