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Another Attack on Hashtnagar, Pakistan

28. June 2002

by Communist Workers and Peasants Party

June 27th, 2002, thousands of policemen and frontier constabulary invaded Hashtnagar, the liberated area of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (Communist Workers Peasants Party). Their aim was to displace and eject the peasants of Hashtnagar from their lands. The policemen and frontier constablary clashed in a direct confrontation with the peasants and the conflict raged for more than eight hours. Three policement are reported to have been injured. So far there have been no reported injuries to peasants. The police have lodged a First Investigation Report against the peasant leaders and called for their arrest. An FIR has also been regestered against the General Secretary of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party and the principal leader of Hashtnagar, Afzal Khamosh. It has been reported that Afzal Khamosh and the other peasant leaders have gone into hiding and are evading arrest.

This ejectments was instigated at the behest of the former feudal lords of Hashtnagar, many of whom have stong connections to Pakistani establishment and the Army. In this particular engagement, Rab Nawaz, a retired army general whose land was redistributed by the peasant committees in the 1970´s, was instrumental in initiating the attack on the peasants. But the peasants from the liberated area of Hashtnagar were defiant and refused to surrender even an inch of land to the feudal lords or the authorities.

This has not been the first unprovoked attack against the CMKP and the peasants of Hashtnagar. Earlier this year (January 2002) 3,500 officers of the police and Frontier Constabulary attacked the village of Charasada. The peasants were organized but unarmed. The policemen, on the other hand, were armed with guns, tear-gas shells, armoured vehicles and jeeps. During this attack on the liberated zone, the corrupt and oppressive police force brought tractors to raze the crops of the peasants. But the peasants fought back and succeeded in burning down all three tractors and also a jeep. The police fired in retaliation, which resulted in dozens of injuries. However, peasants and party cadres surrounded the armoured police vans and broke their windows. This engagement also lasted a good 7 hours and one Superintendent Police (SP), two Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP), and several Station House Officers (SHOs) were injured. At an earlier confrontation, when the police succeeded in arresting some of the peasant leaders, peasants attacked police convoys and took a few police officers hostage in retaliation for the arrest of their leaders. An exchange was made, and the courageous peasant forced the release of their leaders.

Background of Hashtnagar

In the history of the peasant movement of Pakistan, the most successful and militant agrarian movement took place in Hashtnangar, an area close to the Pak-Afghan border in the province of NWFP. In the 1970´s, under the organization of the Mazdoor Kissan Party (MKP), the peasants liberated this area from oppressive feudal lords and redistributed the land through their own peasant committees. The popular support for this movement was so substantial that the state could not crush this movement even with the force of arms. Hashtnagar remains a liberated area today in spite of several armed and unarmed attempts by the feudal lords to eject the peasants. Hundreds of people have lost their lives in thirty years of conflict, but the peasants refuse to surrender their rights.

New Peasant Awareness

The peasants of Hashtnagar are not alone in this struggle against the establishment. The Punjab Tenant Association (Anjaman Mozareen Punjab) is also fighting for the rights of one million tenants. In the last two months alone over a dozen of their workers and leaders have died struggling for their rights. Recently 27 of their peasant leaders were arrested but when 30,000 peasants surrounded the police station, they were able to force to police to release their leaders. This one of the fastest growing movements in Pakistan and is rapidly radicalizing the peasants of Punjab.

Musharraf´s Hands are Bloody in the Genocidal Murder of the Afghan People

The people of Pakistan and of the world must question the track record of this military dictatorship. Why does the dictatorship invite the US imperialists onto its soil? Why does the dictatorship allow the US and UK army to utilise Pakistani airports and military bases? Why does the dictatorship help the US and UK governments in committing genocide against innocent Afghan people? Why does this dictatorship not raise a single protest when villages are incinerated with cluster bombs, fire bombs, cruise missiles fired from aeroplanes that even anti-aircraft guns cannot reach? Why does the dictatorship not raise even a feeble protest against the massacre of the poorest and most defenseless people in the world?

Appeal for International Solidarity

The environment all over Pakistan and especially in Hashtnagar is extremely tense at the moment. The peasants of Hashtnagar and the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party have a glorious past of resisting violence perpetrated by the feudal lords and the military dictatorship. And we have every intention of continuing our struggle against every difficulty, every obstacle, every hardship. We appeal to you for international solidarity and support. Defend the CMKP, defend our General Secretary Afzal Khamosh, defend all the revolutionary leaders of the workers and peasants. Help us by publicising far and wide the glorious struggle of the workers and peasants of Pakistan. Help us by writing back with messages of solidarity and support.