Letter from Pakistan

I had been producing a weekly podcast of reports from Venezuela by Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter throughout last year. Jim after returning to Australia is now in Pakistan and this is his letter back on the situation there on the left.

Just an update on the fantastic trip so far. First, the Labour Party Pakistan have been so strong and inspiring in their defence of their right to demonstrate against the military dictatorship. It was an exciting experience to march alongside them here in Lahore in the face of police harassment and threats, as part of the national mobilisation around the suspension of the chief justice of the High Court on March 26.

The protests, by the LPP and other opposition parties, have not yet provoked a broad mass movement, but the regime is looking vulnerable. To have lawyers as the leading activists of a democratic protest movement is indeed a novelty!

The next test will be on April 3, when the CJ faces court over the reference by the Musharraf regime. It will be a bigger national mobilisation than March 26, and will find out where the challenge to the regime is really at. The LPP comrades have been wonderfully welcoming and hospitable. So far I have done about six interviews or have other material for Green Left articles when I return.

It is a real eye-opener to see how socialists can operate effectively under a repressive regime. Interviews include those with a leader of the railway union, a victimised factory worker, the secretary of the Women Workers' Help Line, LPP secretary Farooq Tariq, the leader of the Afghan Labour Revolutionary Organisation (ALRO), and others.By the end of the trip, I will have given about half-a-dozen presentations on Venezuela, most with the Powerpoint multimedia show, but not always. They have been very enthusiastically received. All comrades here are inspired by the revolution in Venezuela, and keen to find out more information....

Jim.

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