ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Aasim Sajjad AkhtarSubscribe to Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

The Antinomies behind the Peshawar Killings

The ruthless attack on schoolchildren in Peshawar has precipitated a clamour for stronger military action against the "terrorists", and the Pakistani army and government have responded by stepping up the Zarb-e-Azb operation and hanging a handful of incarcerated convicts. This article uncovers the tangled yet well-known roots of violence in Pakistan today to illustrate how the military-dominated State's designated ideology and political machinations have brought the country to this pass. The strengthening of democracy is the only way to prevent such incidents from recurring, but the Peshawar attacks have been used precisely to weaken democratic institutions vis-á-vis the military establishment.

From Below

S Akbar Zaidi has to be congratulated for initiating the quite formidable task of “rethinking Pakistan’s political economy” in the face of both global stereotyping and the poor state of social sciences within the country. My PhD dissertation, with which Zaidi engages in detail, was a modest attempt...

21st Century Socialism in Pakistan?

Three Marxist political parties in Pakistan are coming together to merge into one party of the left. In retreat for many decades, this is an important fi rst step for the revival of left-wing politics in Pakistan and strengthening the democratic politics of the country.A participant in this unity move explains the context and the challenges for the new united party of the left in Pakistan.

Peering into Pakistan

The political economy of war and neo-liberalism, and a deeply embedded system of patronage need to be understood to explain why Pakistan is a hotbed of religious militancy, why a seemingly divided and militarised State remains powerful, and why substantive political transformation is unlikely in the short run.

Who Will Put Out the Fire?

What the so-called global "war on terror" has done is to spread strife on a global scale. It has facilitated a suppression of rights, led to civil conflict and only benefited the global arms industry.

What Is Really Happening in Pakistan?

Throughout the cold war, the Pakistani left and ethno-nationalists struggled together against the dominant military establishment backed by American imperialism. As the New Great Game unfolds in the region, the need to revive this historic alliance is greater than ever, but, in the short run, the prospects of such a revival seem remote.

Deeply Implicated in Pakistan

The overwhelming emphasis on Pakistan in the "war on terror" is disingenuous. What is called "global terrorism" is not a phenomenon that exists in thin air, it is fuelled by the imperial hubris of Washington and its allies; it cannot be defeated by the use of unbridled force. It is an exercise in deception to suggest that the spread of the Taliban (or Al Qaida, for that matter) has nothing to do with the "war on terror".

The New Great Game in Afghanistan and Pakistan

The Pakistani establishment's engagement and covert alliance with the jihadis and imperialist intervention led by the United States guided by the so-called "war on terror" have resulted in the present quagmire in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. An anti-imperialist response that does not reduce itself to mere anti-Americanism, as articulated by Islamist forces, is necessary to halt the rapid unravelling of the crisis engulfing these two countries.

Balochistan versus Pakistan

The conflict between Balochistan and the federal government of Pakistan has been amongst the most persistent of the many centre-province contradictions that have persisted in the country. The four-year insurgency of the 1970s was suppressed by army action. With the federal government attempting to reassert its authority by building new military cantonments and mega development projects across the province, militancy in Balochistan has resurfaced. This paper argues that the present stand-off, while still broadly informed by the traditional concerns of Baloch nationalism, must be considered a response to the state's commitment to intensive neoliberal accumulation. The purely reactionary nature of the insurgency explains its fragmentation.

Sixty Years On

Despite the fanfare around the growing people-to-people contact between the two countries, the political establishments in both India and Pakistan still hold on to the very ideologies that form the basis of the conflict. Any move to normalise relations crucially depends on examining these ideologies and generating strong pressure groups in both countries.

Making of a Disaster

While Katrina showed that disaster response is not necessarily any better in the imperialist countries than in the post-colonial world, natural disasters metamorphose into even worse man-made events in the developing countries. The acute dependency of the majority of the worldâ??s working people on the rich industrialised countries is further reinforced when disasters strike. The most recent example of this was the Pakistani earthquake. Not only was the relief work turned into business, the sovereignty of the state was severely eroded.

Workers of the World Unite?

The recent visit by leaders of India's two major communist parties to Pakistan was greatly welcomed by the marginalised left forces in that country. However, the visit could do little to boost the morale of left and other progressive forces in Pakistan; as both leaders were constrained by the fact that their parties, the CPI and the CPI-M, form part of India's ruling United Progressive Alliance government, that is currently pursuing a policy of increased cooperation with Pakistan's military-dominated government.
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