Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Saudi Arabia in Pakistan

Comrade Junaid responds to the anonymous comrade:  "The comrade from Pakistan is spot on. The only point I'd add is that there needs to be some proper accounting for the Populist-Left government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto that was in power for most of the 1970s. While I agree with the Indian Marxist Aijaz Ahmad that the father Bhutto still remains "in a class of his own" (among the pathetic class of politicians Pakistan has been cursed with ), the fact remains that he created the conditions for a completely defeated left in the country. He brutally suppressed the ethnic nationalist movements, repressed any working class activity, silenced dissent in the PPP's own ranks, and generally became a megalomaniac. This in addition to his unforgivable role in the Pakistani military's vicious war on its Eastern wing (which became Bangladesh) and his calculated political use of religion at various moments. Good old lefty Bhutto was the one making the most noise about "Islamic unity" with his brotherly regimes in the Gulf, and prided himself on hosting the OIC summit in 1974. Bhutto created the conditions where the rightwing military dictator Zia ul-Haq could have a field day in ruling the country with a degree of repression (of a broken and disoriented left and civil society in general) raised to the next level.
While it is incredibly important to point out the history of powerful states' backing of reactionary religious forces to counter progressive alternatives, it is equally important for the left to recognize its own lousy record at times. Like other places in the Muslim world, Pakistan also had a supposed progressive regime (in the 1970s) that did a pretty good job in destroying in a lot of people's minds the promise of genuine social change and liberation."