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From: The Socialist issue 230, 16 November 2001: No To War

Search site for keywords: Kashmir - US - Imperialism - CWI - Afghanistan - Pakistan - War - Islamic - India - BJP

Kashmir: US Policy Is Destabilising Region

THE SAVAGE bombing of Afghanistan by US-led imperialism is politically destabilising the region and fuelling support for right-wing, religious parties as the following extracts of a report from a CWI member in Jammu and Kashmir shows.

PAKISTAN'S MUSHARRAF regime, by providing logistical facilities for US operations and the ground offensive by the Northern Alliance, has further strengthened the pro-Taliban Islamic, reactionary forces in the region - particularly in the North-West Frontier, FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas - including Northern Kashmir, Gilgit, etc) and Baluchistan provinces of Pakistan.

The shooting dead of four pro-Taliban supporters by police in Multan during a strike called by Islamic parties on 9 November, has made the situation even more tense.

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Ordinary people in POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) support Osama because they see him standing up to US imperialism and his posters are displayed in shops and are selling like hot-cakes. But this doesn't necessarily mean support for the right-wing Islamist 'jehdai' groups.

Although the 9 November strike call by DCAP, (Council for the Defence of Afghanistan and Pakistan) was a partial success, in POK the religious parties failed to mobilise any credible demonstration.

In the border town of Kotli (where there are number of training camps of different 'jehdai' groups), the main Islamic Party who are in the forefront in organising protests against US-led attacks, only managed to mobilise about 40 people.

A few days before the strike, there was a 2,000-strong anti-war demonstration held in Rawalpindi, by a coalition of trade unionists, NGO (Non-Governmental Organisations) and 'progressive-left' intellectuals, and a few Stalinist political groups, like the National Workers Party.

We have been campaigning for an independent demo under the platform of National Awami Party-Kotli, against the US imperialist led war, around the following slogans: 'Down with US Imperialist War!'; 'Stop killing workers, peasants and innocent people of Afghanistan!'; 'No more terrorism - No more war'; 'For an Afghan government of workers and peasants as part of a voluntary confederation of socialist states in the region'.

Indian Occupied Kashmir

Meanwhile in IOK (Indian Occupied Kashmir) there are clashes between the security forces and Islamic groups, where around 12 civilians a day have been killed.

Indian armed forces also attacked and destroyed eleven Pakistani army posts, in the Poonch and other sectors on the Line of Control (LOC, the disputed border between Indian and Pakistan occupied Kashmir). Civilians are unable to come out of their houses, during the day, and women and children suffer the most.

This was described by defence minister George Fernandez, as 'punitive actions' against terrorism. This heightened tension between the two nuclear rivals, India and Pakistan, has sent a wave of fear throughout people in the region.

The BJP-led Hindu nationalist government in India have capitalised over this situation by passing further 'anti-terrorism' legislation. The continuous war mongering by India's ruling classes, in the view of the forthcoming State election, is seen as a way for a BJP election success.

Having declared the Islamist groups Jaish-E-Mohammed, Harakat-Ul-Mujaideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba as terrorist organisations linked to Osama and Al-Qa'ida, US imperialism has provided further ammunition to the extreme right-wing Hindu nationalist organisations to pressure the BJP-led government to carry out military strikes against terrorist camps in POK.

This pressure has intensified following the recent Islamist suicide bombing attack on the IOK Legislature in Srinigar which killed 38 people and injured dozens of civilians.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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