Sunday, July 30, 2017

Pakistan Railway drivers’ strike

By Lal Khan

Under capitalism there is no room for any reforms or progress. For the salvation of the oppressed masses its overthrow is inevitable.
As the political and judicial conflicts between the different sections of the moneyed classes and the state are unravel dangerously out of control, the corporate media has tried to distract attention and engage the working masses in these frivolous. However, the stirrings of the workers struggles often erupt albeit sporadically tearing apart the iron wall of
concealment, sweeping away the non-issues in politics tantalising society.
One of the latest movements was the Railway drivers’ strike that brought the whole railroad network to a standstill for more than 48 hours. At the midnight of Saturday July 22, the Railway drivers struck in an industrial action with trains remaining stranded throughout night as a result of the strike. This courageous struggle paralysed the entire railroad system stopping the operations of Tezgam, Karakoram Express, Fareed Express, Khyber Mail, Allama Iqbal, Millat Express and Pakistan Express at Rohri, Mehrabpur, Khairpur and other stations. Shalimar Express, Karachi Express, night coach and other trains were stopped at the Lahore central station.
Hundreds of drivers of Pakistan Railways went on strike for the fulfillment of their demands including increase in pay scales, mileage allowance, and reinstatement of suspended colleagues. The Loco Running Staff Association (LRSA) resolved that the drivers would not withdraw from the struggle unless their demands were accepted.
The manipulative bosses and bureaucrats of the Pakistan Railways were furious. Six drivers from Rawalpindi and eight from Karachi had been arrested on the very first day. These driver were charged with the nefarious ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Act by the state authorities. The Railway administration even went to the extent of saying that halting the train operations was an act of ‘terrorism’. Initial negotiations between the strike leaders and the railway officials failed. The Railways ministry brought in retired and unskilled contractual drivers as strikebreakers. Strike leaders invited for negotiations were arrested instead.
Another militant struggle of the Railway workers was the 1928 South Indian railway strike. It was a general strike by the South Indian Railway Workers Union against plans of the South Indian Railway Company to lay off over 3,100 workers to reduce costs and boost profits of the company. The strike lasted from June 29 to August 2, 1928, and severely affected the transportation of people and goods across the region bringing South India to a standstill. More than 5000 striking workers in Mayavaram lay on the tracks blocking trains and halting railroad network.
After the creation of Pakistan, the most significant struggle of the railwaymen was the Railway strike of 1st February 1967. This ‘wheel jam’ strike paralysed Pakistan Western Railway. The transportation of all commodities except food grains, petroleum and oil and some essential supplies were suspended by the striking workers After the creation of Pakistan, the most significant struggle of the railwaymen was the Railway strike of 1st February 1967. This ‘wheel jam’ strike paralysed Pakistan Western Railway. The transportation of all commodities except food grains, petroleum and oil and some essential supplies were suspended by the striking workers; and long queues of passengers were seen at all railway stations getting refunded for tickets which could not be availed.
The railway workers included cabin men, point men, firemen, cleaners and from every department of the railways. The workers of the Mughalpura (Lahore) Workshop started the strike on Monday afternoon Jan 30 1967. Loco Shop workers joined next. The rest of the class four employees joined in the next day. Khyber Mail reached Lahore from Peshawar just before 9 a.m. but could not move onward to Karachi. Tezgam coming from Karachi stopped at Changa Manga; Tezgam from Rawalpindi was stranded at Lala Musa and an Express train from Sargodha was stopped at Badami Bagh, Lahore.
Awami Express could not reach Lahore Central station and was stopped at Lahore Cantonment. Thousands of workers had gathered at Lahore station, raising slogans. In Karachi, the only main passenger train that left was the Lahore bound Karachi Express. This 13-day strike of 1967 was prelude to the revolutionary upheaval one year later in November 1968. This was the most radical mass movement that brought the real possibility of a socialist revolution in Pakistan so close.
In the last few weeks there have been strikes by the oil tankers, doctors, teachers, nurses and the railway drivers. It is clear that just underneath the surface of society, the working class and the oppressed masses are seething with a revolt against this exploitative and brutal system. The Railways drivers strike was called-off due to its isolation. The reluctance of workers from other railway departments, public and private industrial and services sectors to join the strike, vicious repression of the state reflecting the character of the present period resulted in this retreat. But that’s not the end of the railway workers struggles. Rather it indicates the looming storms ahead.
The sporadic strikes at present can become a spark kindling a greater mass revolt shocking ‘talented’ analysts. The ruling classes are carrying out the most vicious anti workers policies of privatisations, downsizing, restructuring and contractual labour. The workers patience is at the brink of an explosion. There is hardly any voice of the workers in the media. But once the movement erupts, the objective situation will change drastically. Under capitalism there is no room for any reforms or progress. For the salvation of the oppressed masses its overthrow is inevitable.

Pakistan's Northwest Region Continues its Struggle against Terror Financing

Madeeha Anwar
Pakistan’s restive northwest province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has issued directives to its administrative and security departments to make serious efforts to cut off the money supply of banned terror groups. The provincial departments have been instructed to devise a strategy to crack down and to closely monitor the proscribed groups and individuals involved in raising funds illegally for welfare or religious purposes, Pakistani media reported. Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, Pakistan Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, Pakistan Despite its continued efforts against terrorism, terror financing remains a challenge for Pakistan due to political resistance, sympathizers and money trails that are hard to track, analysts say. “Pakistan will have to come up with a strategy to freeze assets of terror groups, make it difficult for terrorists to gather funds, but to also spot those who’ve adopted new identities and have re-established their networks,” A. Z. Hilali, head of political science department at the Peshawar University told VOA. Suspect groups identified .

The official document circulated by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government emphasized banned groups are not allowed to gather money “under any circumstances” and security forces and the administration should ensure people and groups raising money for mosques, charity or madrassas (religious seminaries) are lawfully doing so. In 2015, Pakistan banned around 200 terror groups after establishing their involvement in sectarian and terrorism related activities against the state.
Pakistan had also frozen around $3 million worth of assets of 5,000 suspected terrorists last year. "We will make every possible effort to implement National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terror financing in our province,” Shaukat Yousafzai, spokesperson for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government told VOA.
"We're the biggest victim of terrorism and we do not want them [terrorists] to succeed. We’ll also work to start awareness programs so that banned groups can be prohibited from gathering funds from the masses,” Yousafzai said.
A report issued by the Financial Monitoring Unit of Pakistan in March estimated the annual operational budget of terrorist organizations is $48,000 to $240,000.
The terror groups in Pakistan generate hefty amounts through charity and welfare work, receive huge foreign donations and use the "hawala system," an alternative finance system, used for money laundering, experts say.
National plan
Pakistan’s National Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy aimed at eliminating extremism mentions the state should “choke financing for terrorist and terrorist organizations.”
Hilali says there is a need to introduce legislation to prohibit collection of funds from the general public. “Terrorists collect large sums of money especially during the holy month of Ramadan under the guise of Zakat [mandatory Islamic charity].”
“The madrassas [religious seminaries] also play an important role and we are aware that a few of them remained involved in collecting funds on behalf of banned terror outfits in the past,” Hilali added.
Security analysts also stress that the government should regulate and register all the religious seminaries across the country and should practice caution before making donations to religious organizations and seminaries. In 2016, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government received scathing criticism when it allocated a grant of $3 million to Darul Uloom Haqqania, a religious seminary that is interpreted by some critics as the “University of Jihad.” The Haqqani network, considered a terrorist group by Afghanistan and the United States, continues to fight Afghan and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of providing support to the Haqqani network. The U.S. State Department released its annual Country Report on Terrorism 2016 earlier this month. It criticized Pakistan and said it remained unsuccessful in stopping the activities of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Video - Pakistan - Bilawal calls for 'across the board accountability'

Text of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speech at the inauguration ceremony of NICVD Larkana

Bismillah ir Rehman ir Rahim
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Assalam Alaikum
It gives me great pleasure to be here today. As I was travelling to Larkano for the inauguration of National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) here, I realized that there was little else that I would rather do. I am so pleased that Larkano was chosen as a home for this state of the art facility, given how close it is to my heart individually, and how important it is to the Pakistan Peoples Party. Larkano has given more sacrifices and shed more blood than should have been required. The people of this inimitable land seem to be born infused with the spirit of giving. That we are able to give back to this land that has given us so much, is a matter of great pride for me.
My grandfather Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, first began giving back to this land when he opened the Chandka medical college and hospital in 1973. At a time when such medical facilities existed only in large cities, this visionary breakthrough served the people of the greater Larkano region and adjoining areas of Punjab and Balochistan. We have taken forth his mission by increasing the capacity of the hospital through expansion and upgradation.
The Pakistan Peoples Party prides itself on always recognizing healthcare as one of its major priorities. In her message to young people, to whom the mantle of leadership would pass, my leader, my mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, tasked them to focus on education and on health. And taking her words as our guiding light, we have concentrated our efforts on these 2 sectors – I am happy to say that our hard work is showing great results. It was Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who saw the need for lady health workers, as a means for healthcare to reach every doorstep. This phenomenal programme allowed us to spread the web of healthcare more extensively than we thought possible. And the Sindh government took forth the programme by regularizing all the lady health workers.
We believe strongly that while infrastructure development needs to be a focus for the government, our true purpose must be human development. To this end, we have invested our efforts towards improving healthcare through various endeavors including but not limited to upgradation of hospitals and trauma centers; establishment of cardiac centers, expansion of women and children’s hospitals; provision of ambulances and other facilities; introducing safer transfusion methods and unequivocally supporting projects like the SIUT and NICVD. And it is so rewarding when we see our hard work paying off, like it is today.
NICVD has done great work by providing state of the art services to people of Larkano. Earlier, there was no such service between Karachi and Lahore, and people had to suffer as they travelled to Karachi along with their families – often spending money they could not afford. I have learnt that the facilities now being provided in Larkano are free for all patients.
I am told that currently this facility is providing primary angioplasty, pediatric cardiology and echo services and upon completion of the new building, a range of services will be provided, including cardiac surgery.
I must congratulate the team since 100 primary angioplasty procedures have already been done post the soft opening on 13th of May 2017. It goes a long way to show the grit and determination of this team, and of the person heading it, that positive results are already visible for all. I am confident that this number will now increase substantially, as the people of Larkano continue to benefit from NICVD.
It has come to my knowledge that a similar service is also being started in Tando Mohammad Khan, Sukkur, Sehwan, Nawabshah, Khairpur and Mirpurkhas. I must appreciate the Government of Sindh for taking the initiative of providing quality affordable healthcare to the people of these areas. I challenge the CM of Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan to show us a programme like this where state of the art cardiac facilities, including primary angioplasty, are provided free of cost, and at the doorstep, to everyone living in the province.
It is a source of great pride to know that NICVD has transformed itself in last two and half years, and today it stands as the world’s largest centre for heart attack angioplasty. This is no small feat, and has required utmost dedication and hard work. We must never forget that a healthy nation is a happy nation, and it is heartening to see the NICVD team working to ensure that.
The fact that NICVD provides several life saving treatment modalities, including much needed pediatric cardiac surgery free of cost is testament to the Sindh government’s whole-hearted commitment to serve the people indiscriminately. It is gratifying that the Sindh government is working tirelessly to fulfill the vision of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. We have seen the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto trauma centre in Karachi, the Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences, Ambulance service in Thatta and Sujawal, as but a few examples of the government’s efforts bearing fruit.
It is my dream also to serve the people of Pakistan, irrespective of caste, creed, color and financial standing. It is my dream that every individual in this country has access to state of the art medical care so that not one life is lost because they could not afford healthcare. It is my dream, nay, my belief, that together we can cultivate an egalitarian society, based on the principles of parity and equitable justice; tolerance and acceptance; service and sacrifice.
I once again want to say BRAVO to the government of Sindh, especially the Chief Minister, for this magnificent effort. I am confident that it will provide much needed relief to the people, and I hope that a similar effort is also launched in other specialties of medicine.
I must take this opportunity to talk about something that is surely weighing on the minds of the people of Pakistan today – the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The judgment by the Supreme Court requires adherence by us all. However, we must also strive to address the ailment and not the symptom. The Pakistan Peoples Party believes that accountability must be impartial and exhaustive, and seeks to do so by introducing legislation for across the board accountability. It is time for us all to put Pakistan first, and ourselves later. If that means sacrificing for the greater good, then be it. Sadly, Prime Minister Sharif did not share this sentiment. However, I must categorically say that his removal poses no threat to either the Parliament, or to the democracy for which we have made innumerable sacrifices.
I thank you for the opportunity to address you, and wish you good luck in this very worthy endeavor.”

بلاول بھٹو نےلاڑکانہ میں امراض قلب کے اسپتال کا افتتاح کردیا

چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے اندرون سندھ کے پہلے نیشنل انسٹی ٹیوٹ
آف کارڈیو ویسکیولر ڈیزیز کا افتتاح کیا ،35کروڑ روپے سے بننے والے اس سینٹر میں ابتدائی طور پر 12 کمرے تعمیر کئے گئے ہیں۔
لاڑکانہ میں امراض قلب کے اسپتال کے افتتاح کے موقع پر بلاول بھٹو نے کہا کہ پیپلزپارٹی سب کا بلاتفرق احتساب ہونا چاہیے،یہ وقت ذاتی مفاد کو پس پشت ڈال کر قومی مفاد کو ترجیح دینے کا ہے۔
بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا ہے کہ نواز شریف کی نااہلی سے جمہوریت یا پارلیمنٹ کو کوئی نقصان نہیں پہنچے گا،ہم احتساب کے عمل پر یقین رکھتے ہیں۔
سینٹر کے لئے انجیو گرافی ،انجیو پلاسٹی کے لئے کیتھ لیبارٹری ،وینٹی لیٹرز اور متعلقہ مشینری ،این آئی سی وی ڈی 2 ماہ پہلے فراہم کی گئی ہیں۔
اسپتال میں 3 ماہرین امراض قلب سمیت 25افراد پر مشتمل عملہ بھی متعین کردیا گیا ہے، اس سینٹرمیں اب تک 175مریضوں کی انجیو گرافی اور انجیوپلاسٹی مفت کی جاچکی ہے ،یہاں اندرون ملک سمیت سندھ اور بلوچستان کے مریضوں کا مفت علاج 
کیا جائے گا۔