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From: The Socialist issue 238, 25 January 2002: New Labour is Bad for Your Health

Search site for keywords: Kashmir - War - Pakistan - India - Government

India/Pakistan: War Clouds Hang Over The Masses

THE 13 December attack on the Indian parliament, alleged to be the work of the Islamic group Lishkar-e-Tayuba, backed by Pakistan, has triggered-off the largest military build-up between the two nuclear rivals, India and Pakistan, since their 1971 war.

By a Jammu and Kashmir CWI member

Both countries have massed their armed forces; over half-a-million Indian soldiers on the Indo-Pakistani borders, which has now become the biggest 'mine-zone' border in the world.

According to a recent Pakistani press report, the cost of deployment of Pakistan's armed forces on the Line of Control (LOC) is 2-3 billion rupees and another 5-7 billion rupees on the international borders; a sum which would cripple the already debt ridden economy of Pakistan. Indian workers and masses would be paying around 15 billion rupees alone for the deployment of Indian armed forces along the LOC. Over 100,000 people have been forced to migrate.

The Muslim Conference government Prime Minister [in Pakistani Occupied Kashmir - POK] says 28,000 people have been displaced; others say the real number is twice that figure and that since the 13 December attack, their houses have been mined.

Rents have soared up to 3,500 rupees. But no concrete steps have been taken by the government in POK to help thousands of families without shelter.

Recently, hundreds of villagers observed a strike a few days' back, against the Muslim Conference government, to demand that it provides housing, food and other basic needs.

Protests

ON 25 December, activists of the National Awami Party (NAP) and the National Student Federation (NSF) in Kotli, (POK) held an anti-war demonstration and a public rally in the district council hall.

Speaking at the rally, NAP president Anwar Khan appealed to the youth, workers and peasants of Kashmir, India and Pakistan to come forward and "struggle against the capitalist system and liberate the oppressed classes from the clutches of this exploitative system".

On 12 January NSF and activists of NAP, Kotli, again held a demo against the war. Around 50 youth participated.

The Muslim Conference government was criticised for not paying any heed to the plight of the displaced people from LOC.

And the use of the anti-working class Special Powers Act, which has already been used against teachers, including the district president of AJKTO (Azad (free) Kashmir Teachers Organisation-largest public sector union), was also condemned.

War threat

THE THREAT of a war has not receded after Musharraf announced the banning of five main jehadi and sectarian organisations (including Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Lishkar-e-Tayuba).

US secretary of state Colin Powell's tour of India and Pakistan has been described as a "peacekeeping mission" to reduce tensions in the Indo-Pakistan stand-off. However, the Musharraf regime has said, that "as long as that Indian capability remains there, Pakistan would be constrained to keep what it had deployed close to the border".

With equal belligerence, the Indian government has said that it would keep its armed forces on the borders until Pakistan stops "cross-border terrorism".

While their armies stay put on alert the clouds of war still hang over the workers and the poor masses.

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