Socio-Economic and Political Life of Pakistan

by Fasihuddin Solar

 

It is necessary to analyze the social and class structure of Pakistan to understand the interests of ruling and other classes. The economic, political and industrial development of Pakistan has many different features from other developing capitalist countries. Along with capitalism, there are remnants of feudalism and big landlordism. There is the pre-capitalist society and its many facets like patriarchy, tribalism, remnants of feudalism and big landlordism. Then there is the capitalist economy, in which we have the national capitalist, compradore capitalists and multinational corporations. All this has created different classes and several crusts which have entrenched so deeply in our society that the social structure of Pakistan has become very different from that in other countries, to the limit that the era of slavery ended just five or six decades back in Baluchistan, which is area-wise the largest province of Pakistan.

We must always keep in mind that in order to retain the system which is essential for economic exploitation, the imperialist forces are compelled to keep the pace of industrial development unequal in different parts of the same country. In Pakistan even today the pace of economic, social and industrial development is not the same in all the parts. It is because of this that there are different social relations in different parts of the country.

About 57.72% of the population is associated with agriculture. This is one of the reasons why semi-feudalism and big landlordism exist in our economic structure. Apart from the ruling classes - feudal, landlords and big capitalists - world imperialism is also interested in retaining this social system in Pakistan. In the absence of effective and progressive land reforms, the landlord class has become powerful and strong. Its interests are linked with the monopolies of imperialist countries. These monopolies help the landlord class retain their hold on society. The feudal clique thus retards the development of the democratic process in the country. The cadres linked to the landed interests are: the hereditary feudal class, civil and military officers who obtain lands as gifts, the people who have bought huge lands in the auctions from the money earned by bribes and smuggling, the lands swindled or bought from the small cultivators.

The feudal and the landlord class together with the military and the bureaucracy have developed interest in agricultural land. They also have a share in official power. Feudalism has slowed the pace of industrialization in the country and as a result neither the working class has increased nor have they been able to organize in any considerable way. The feudal class also does not allow the peasants to organize. They have such social and political control over the peasants making it impossible for them to get organized. Due to the political power of the feudal class and the interests of the civil and the military bureaucracy, whenever land reforms were promulgated, they were done so only on paper and were restricted to changing of names on the books.

The feudal class and the compradore capitalist do not oppose the spread of multinational capital in the country to protect the local market from their clutches. This compradore capitalist thrives on foreign capital in trade and industry, therefore it has become an ally of the feudal class in protecting imperialist interests. Then there is also the civil and military bureaucratic capital, which has interests in trade, industry and land. It has established itself in trade and industry through many foundations, such as the Shaheen Foundation, Fauji Foundation, National Logistics Cell, etc.

Liaquat Ali Khan accepted US military and economic ties with Pakistan. Agreement on arms aid was signed. US consented to give millions of dollars of technical aid to Pakistan in 1952. During this period the capitalist earned a lot of money from the Korean war boom which ended in 1953. The share of the bureaucracy also increased in this capital. The high level officers of the bureaucracy toured US to establish contacts. In 1953 the Governor General of Pakistan Ghulam Mohammad went on an official tour of the US along with General Ayub and further strengthened Pakistan’s servile relations with US imperialism.

When Pakistan came into being in 1947 through the British midwifed partition of India, the areas which broke away to from Pakistan were industrially more backward than the rest of India. Therefore, they were also economically and socially less developed. At that time, there were only 26 industrial units which employed up to 500 workers, and 50% of the investments in these units were foreign, i.e. British, and it amounted to Rs.100 billion plus. In the early years of Pakistan, the financial institutions like banks and insurance companies as well as two-thirds of foreign trade and virtually all sectors of internal trade were effectively controlled by British private capital through bank credits and profits from financing. These investments covered the more developed areas of Pakistan’s economy such as oil and fuel, jute, tea plantations and transport including inland water and maritime shipping.

The grip they had on Pakistan’s economy gave the British considerable influence on the Pakistan government and helped them to extract many more concessions for their capital investment than other developed capitalist countries. As a result of this privileged status, 90% of the foreign private investment in Pakistan up to the martial law of October 1958 was British, though since the time of partition, foreign private capital from other capitalist countries had been trying hard to gain entry into Pakistan’s economy. Non-British foreign investment was obstructed on the one hand by the Government of Pakistan, and on the other due to the firm hold of British capital on the economy. Political instability and uncertainty in the country also discouraged other prospective foreign investors.

There were two other reasons as well which kept the private investment of other foreign countries from entering Pakistan. First, cracks had appeared in the world colonial structure after the end of the Second World War. The British were forced to give up their colonial domination of the subcontinent. As more and more colonies became independent, a race began among the world’s developed capitalist countries to gain political and economic influence in the newly emerging independent countries. The foundations of the "neo-colonialist" order were being laid.

In the name of "economic aid", foreign government investments began to flow into these countries. Under the "Colombo Plan" in 1951, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand initiated it in this region, which played a major part in blocking private investment from capitalist countries. About the same time, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Khan Liaquat Ali Khan, instead of visiting the Soviet Union which had extended a formal invitation to him, chose to visit the United States, and during his visit, signed agreements yoking Pakistan militarily and economically to the American juggernaut. When he accepted "technical aid" worth millions of dollars, the United States entered the neo-colonialist race for control over Pakistan. As a result of a series of military aid and other agreements concluded between Pakistan and the United States between 1952 and 1956, the United States managed to elbow out the Colombo Plan countries and leave them far behind in this race. By the end of 1956, the official aid which Pakistan got from the United States was 75% of the total foreign aid.

Secondly, the Korean war which ended in 1953 came as a boom from the blue for Pakistan. The country’s foreign exchange earnings, largely from jute export, increased many times over and strengthened the position of the Pakistani rupee. The merchant-migrants from India made the best of this "Korean boom". In collaboration with foreign private investors they set up joint companies and expanded their trade and commercial investment in a big way.

Those years also saw the emergence of bureaucratic capital. It came through "income" from the issuance of permits and licenses and the sharing of profits from trade with Britain, Japan, India and other foreign countries. This bureaucratic capital very cleverly indemnified itself by merging with foreign private capital and setting up joint companies in collaboration with indigenous traders and industrialists who, in turn, used this collaboration to gain effective control of these companies. With the passage of time they tried to oust the foreign capital and that led to a major political change in 1969.

On 7th October 1958, taking advantage of the political instability caused by a series of palace intrigues and political manipulations by the ruling classes, the armed forces under General Ayub Khan seized power and subsequently introduced a new political system in the name of Basic Democracy. Ayub regime’s land reforms were no more than a paper exercise as the feudal lords very easily managed to retain their lands through false documentation with the help of the local bureaucrats. On the other hand, the Ayub era saw the steady concentration of economic power in the hands of the industrial and commercial classes. The new political system was needed to ensure this concentration of economic power. Under this system, political power too was sought to be vested in these classes.

Under this new political system, the people were deprived of political power. A bizarre structure of political power was put together, with the Federal Cabinet and the National Assembly dominated by the feudal lords, capitalists and bureaucrats occupying the top of the pyramid - all of them beholden to Ayub Khan and in his grip because they were not elected directly by the people. The people’s franchise was limited to electing 80,000 "Basic Democrats", drawn mainly from middle and lower middle classes who, in turn, elected the members of the provincial and National Assemblies. Depriving the people of direct political power was a logical necessity in order to ensure the concentration of political and economic power in the exploiting classes, so that the profits/incomes of these classes may also grow along with an increase in production. Towards this end, the labour laws were so altered as to contain the workers class struggle and prevent wage increases.

The 1958 martial law introduced political stability, coupled with a so-called democratic order in the country - sufficient incentive for the developed capitalist countries to provide massive "aid" to Pakistan. An "Aid to Pakistan Consortium" was set up with the participation of the USA, Britain, Japan, West Germany, France, Canada, Belgium and Italy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Ford Foundation came up with loans to help Pakistan’s development projects, mainly in the power, communications and transport sectors which were essential requirements of the transnational monopolies for facilitating their economic activities. When the Ayub era ended in 1969, Pakistan’s foreign debt stood at USD 6 billion.

The capitalists in the government and the bureaucrats who had pooled their capital and invested it in joint companies together with foreign private investors, had begun to feel threatened by the foreign companies, and they now started to frame laws which would make it difficult for such companies operating with foreign private investment to conduct their activities. For instance, already in 1961, foreign firms were asked to increase the number of Pakistanis on their payroll. In 1962, a condition was imposed which required prior permission of the government for making investments in new projects. By 1965, foreign investment wall shifted from its traditional preserves like banking, insurance, jute etc., to energy, petrochemicals, machine manufacture and chemical fertilizers to the extent of 50%. As a result, joint companies began to proliferate and by 1966, there were 442 such companies in operation which collectively controlled 66% of all the foreign investment, whereas companies with foreign investment registered outside Pakistan controlled only 25%.

As a result of the typical state power structure created by Ayub Khan, in which the owners of capital were duly associated, Pakistani capital succeeded in gaining control over the bulk of the capital invested and a good number of modern branches of industry. The state curbs imposed by the government further helped this process. The result was a drop in the proportion of companies with foreign investment from 30% to 15%. However, neither the local investors nor the joint companies had the nerve to stay in the industries in confrontation with international monopolies. On the contrary, a close look would reveal that the confrontation with foreign investors which should have been the onus of world capitalism was undertaken by Pakistani investors by virtue of their participation in the government. They transformed themselves into monopolies but were not economically strong enough to resist the world capitalist system, though they did manage to keep the major part of the country’s capital under their control until 1971.

Ayub regime lasted from 7th October 1958 to 25th March 1969. In terms of industrial development, the Ayub era was the brightest chapter in the 43-year history of Pakistan. From its very advent, indigenous and foreign capital was induced to go into the industrial sector. A series of concessions were announced to encourage the diversion of investment to the industrial sector. Where modern technology was needed, arrangements were made to provide it. Tax exemptions were allowed to industrial investors. But one most vital factor was overlooked and that was the interest of the working class. No doubt the labour policy announced in February 1959 promised healthy trade unionism and laid special stress on strong friendly relations between the employer and the worker. It promised to raise the standard of living of the workers and provide them better health care and education to their children. This labour policy was in harmony with the requirements of the economic upsurge triggered by Ayub Khan in his bid to take the country into the orbit of the capitalist system. Indigenous and foreign capital combined to give the country a level of development which it had never experienced before or after. Nor had industrialization occurred on such an extensive scale. This massive industrialization gave birth to big monopolies too.

However, capitalism as it emerged in Pakistan did not find itself in any serious confrontation with feudalism in the sense that it would have found it necessary to eliminate it. The reason is simple. This capitalism was also serving the imperialist interests in the same manner as feudalism had been doing since earlier times and owed its existence to imperialism. So there was no mitigation in the misery and poverty of the workers and the tillers of the soil. According to a survey report, the minimum subsistence requirement of a family of five members was Rs. 150 per month, whereas a skilled worker in a textile mill was getting only Rs.78 and an unskilled worker Rs.40-50 per month! And this was happening when the textile industry enjoyed the pride of place in Pakistan’s economy.

The concentration of political and economic power in the hands of the feudal, capitalists and bureaucracy and the increasing exploitation by foreign capitalist monopolies led to a further aggravation of the problems of the working class. This resentment began to increase. There was mass unrest. The government’s legal manipulations, misuse of religion and even police bayonets failed to stop the restless masses from taking the path of struggle. On one side there was poverty and misery all around while on the other side a handful of people were amassing wealth.

In 1965, war broke out between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir issue. Using it as an excuse, the government proclaimed a state of emergency which lasted till 1969 during which the constitution remained suspended. In spite of an increase in the national income (mainly due to industrial growth) from 9.5% to 12.6% in the 10 yeas of Ayub rule, the lot of the workers had remained static or even worsened. Basic amenities like electricity, drinking water, sewerage, etc. were not available in labour colonies. In a residential colony of railway workers in Lahore with 20,000 inhabitants, there were only four water taps. Though the government had framed a "Social Security" law in 1967 and a law on "Gratuity", there was no improvement in the condition of the workers who were growing increasingly restless. Oblivious of the sentiments of the masses, Ayub regime launched a week of celebrations in October 1963 to mark the "Decade of Development". In response to the situation, 8 political parties of the country formed the Democratic Action Committee (DAC) and announced an 3-point programme which included "the setting up of a federal parliamentary form of government through elections on the basis of one-man-one-vote". They also demanded the unconditional right to strike for the workers. The whole country was in turmoil as the masses rose to challenge the regime.

Five months of mass agitation and demonstrations failed to rattle the Ayub regime, but when in February 1969, eight labour federations of the country called for a general strike in support of the popular struggle. The system was under threat. Monopoly capitalism in which the military bureaucracy was a shareholder had to be saved. Showing scant regard to constitutional and legal norms and even basic political morality, Ayub Khan handed over power to the armed forces in violation of the provisions of his own constitution. General Yahya Khan assumed power and promptly proclaimed the second martial law.

Yahya’s military regime began with using appeasing tactics. It realized the need to pacify the highly-charged working class through some tangible concessions and accept the demands of the political leaders. Otherwise, the class-oriented political system and its main pillars - the local monopoly capitalists, feudal and foreign multinational monopolies - would be in danger. Soon after assuming power, the Yahya regime introduced a new labor policy which concede the workers’ right to strike, fixed the minimum wage for some industrial areas.

In December 1970, for the first time in 23 years, nationwide general elections were held on the basis of one-man-one-vote for setting up a federal parliamentary form of government. The elections gave way to 3 or 4 parties on the national scene. The first was the Awami League representing the interests of the Bengali bourgeoisie of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Awami League had seen that the capital invested in East Pakistan belonged to West Pakistan who were using East Pakistan as a market but the profits accruing from it were transferred back to West Pakistan by a stoke of a pen.

At the second position emerged the Pakistan People’s Party which represented the interests of the ruling classes and feudals of Punjab and Sindh, and the international monopolies and which played a second fiddle to the army generals. The third and fourth positions went to the National Awami Party and the Jamiat-ul- Ulema-i-Islam respectively, who won the elections in Baluchistan and NWFP and whose leaderships were enmeshed in tribal-landlord relations. One salient point stands out in the above assessment: the national bourgeoisie had never been able to secure representation through any political party. As a result, after 1980, the national capitalists failed to defend their class interests in the state structure and were therefore compelled to depend on the bureaucracy.

When on December 20, 1971 East Pakistan became Bangladesh, Pakistan People’s Party came to power in what was left of Pakistan. During the election campaign it had made frontal attacks on capitalism under the cover of "feudal socialist" slogans. It criticised the concentration of the nation’s wealth in the hands of a few. Immediately after coming to power, the RPR government took into its control 21 large national private monopoly units in 10 key sectors in the name of nationalization.

Whether or not the Pakistan People’s Party benefited politically from the take-over of banks and industries in the name of nationalization, but in fact adopting the unscientific method of bureaucratization is a different matter but one precipitate result of this action was the virtual halting of the process of industrialization. At the same time, it led to the flight of the bulk of the indigenous private capital from the country, leaving the field open to foreign capital, especially the transnational corporations. Whatever indigenous private capital was left in the country shifted from production to trading sector. The net result of these developments was a further strengthening of the country’s old economic bonds with the capitalist and imperialist countries. This wrong action of the government not only affected national production adversely, but also led to a reduction in job opportunities. The grossly ill-advised nationalization of banks and industries in an unscientific manner was in fact a major assault on indigenous capital, industry and labour, planned and executed by the feudal class. It had the blessing of world imperialism, transnational corporations and foreign capital.

Another related factor was the separation of East Pakistan. With a population of 30 million, it had been a profitable market for West Pakistan’s industrialists. The loss of the industries in the West Wing, the closure of several running industries and aggravated the unemployment problem. According to official figures, in 1974, 20% of Pakistan’s work force was fully unemployed. Alarmed by the steady swelling of the army of unemployed persons, the government launched a well-calculated plan to provide training to the workers in such skills which were in demand in the neighboring countries, particularly in the Middle East and the Gulf States. 20 training camps were set up for this purpose, and those trained in these camps began to be exported like commodities. According to a 1990 survey, 10% of Pakistan’s labour force is employed in foreign countries and their remittances in foreign exchange amounting annually to Rs.4 billion are a main factor contributing to the false prosperity in the country.

On 5th July 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq seized power in a military coup and imposed martial law. Owing to its economic bankruptcy, the Zia regime too, like its predecessors, persisted in keeping the country tied up with the imperialist powers and the TNCs. Driven by its own need’s and compulsions and pressured by the pro-imperialist classes, it had got itself so deeply entan-gled with the imperialist powers and become so subservient to the international capitalist monopolies. Already in 1981, the Zia regime had reestablished the "Export Processing Zone’ about 20 kilometers from Karachi - a free export zone, exempted from most of the normal trade restrictions. A study of the KEPZ scheme reveals two of its main purposes. First, to persuade the local capital which had gone out of the country following the Bhutto government’s unscientific experiment in nationalizing the industries, to return on the assurance that in future the government will not introduce any measures which will interfere with or endanger the investments made in the country.

Zia-ul-Haq and his advisors believed that the workers, particularly the industrial workers, were responsible for all the ills in the industrial sector like lack of discipline and chaos in production and administration. It was their firm belief that the only factor adversely affecting industrial production is the labour strike in the industrial units, which compels the employers to suspend work. So, they devised measures to keep the trade unions from organizing themselves in the KEPZ. The laws and ordinances for the protection of workers’ rights applicable to the industrial units in Pakistan will not be applicable to the KEPZ units.

How much foreign exchange in the shape of US Dollars the industry set up in the KEPZ with the full backing of the Ministry of Industries of the Government of Pakistan earned will be known when the year 2000 comes to an end, because until 2000 these industries enjoyed tax exemption. In any case, the scheme for setting up industries in this area has had no direct impact on the Pakistani market or the consumers. Besides, it cannot be expected to have any visible manifestation on the national economy either, because it is quite evident that the purpose of launching this scheme presupposed that it was not tuned to either promoting industrialization in the country or to let the Pakistani consumers benefit from the products of these industries. Right from the beginning, the objective was to earn dollars through taxes. There is a general feeling among the commercial and political circles in the country that the foreign investors have not shown the amount of enthusiasm which the Zia government had expected while launching this scheme. In fact, not only in the KEPZ but in the country in general there was no visible enthusiasm among the investors. There are a few valid reasons for it which deserve to be given due weight.

Soon after Zia-ul-Haq came to power, there were two major events in the region which sea off a series of radical changes. One was the overthrow of the personal monarchy of the Shah in Iran and the emergence of a popular democratic government there which came in direct confrontation with the United States. The other was the revolution in Afghanistan which deeply influenced the events in the region. These events put the foreign investors and the entire process of investment and industrialization at a quandary. To add further to the dilemma, Zia-ul-Haq, instead of keeping Pakistan out of the repercussions, chose to adopt a hostile position towards Afghanistan’s Sour Revolution and within a short time got involved in hostilities against the revolution. As a result, a state of uncertainty enveloped the whole country. In such conditions, the investors were not prepared to take any risk.

On the other hand, reneging on his commitment to hold elections within 90 days, Zia-ul-Haq resorted to various tricks to earn legitimacy for his government, none of which helped to change the general view that his was a military regime. Being an undemocratic dictatorial regime, it could not instill any confidence in the people, leave alone the industrial and business community. Consequently, if investment did not halt altogether, it certainly slowed down considerably.

In my opinion the law and order situation particularly in Sindh is not the main reason for the slow pace of investment or the absence of it during the period under discussion. The actual reason lay elsewhere. Though an unrepresentative government, the Zia regime was tolerated by the United States because it was willing to be used for staging hostilities against Afghanistan. Zia on his part made full use of this American compulsion and was securing and consolidating his position. At the government level, there had developed common perceptions between Zia regime and the American government, but it should be kept in mind that investors put more trust in agreements concluded with governments enjoying popular support and have the capacity to last long, no matter if such governments were only nominally democratic.

The situation changed rapidly after the Junejo government signed the Geneva Accord on Afghanistan, followed by further dramatic developments in the political arena such as the accidental death of General Zia-ul-Haq on 17th August 1988 and the coming to power of the Benazir government after the December 1988 general election. Though the law and order situation became worse than during the Zia period, with more riots, murders, dacoities, kidnappings and curfews and continues to worsen, statistics reveal that in the ii months ending November 1989, the Investment Promotion Bureau had registered a record foreign investment of 19 billion dollars, as compared to 4.5 billion rupees till the previous year. According to the Investment Promotion Bureau, the American share in the total investment in Pakistan is 71% which is the largest, followed by Britain’s 12%. The same source claims that the investment next year could increase three times.

As against the above, the September 1986 survey showed that in 1982 when the law and order situation was comparatively better, foreign investors had invested Rs. 10.81 billion, of which the share of American companies was Rs. 1.99 billion. These companies made a profit of Rs. 2,320 million whereas their total assets in 1982 were worth Rs. 3,683 million and the total capital used was Rs.3,962 million. They paid Rs.838 million in taxes. Split up country-wise, companies with American connection paid Rs.272 million, with British connection paid Rs.387 million and with West German connection paid Rs. 109 million, while the other foreign firms paid Rs.70 million in taxes on their industrial products. Similarly, out of the total profits earned by these investing companies (Rs. 1,005 million), the share of British companies was Rs.700 million, American companies Rs.500 million and West German companies about Rs.210 million. Commercial circles are of the opinion that about 60% of the profits are siphoned off to foreign countries. No data are available which can help confirm this fact. One can only make a safe guess that as foreign investors hold about 66% share in these companies, they would be taking away 2 corresponding share of the profits. There is a common complaint that these foreign investors are plundering the country’s wealth by virtue of their control over the majority shares. The dividend and bonus shares shown in the balance sheets of these companies provide an idea of the extent of the profits they must be earning.

According to Pakistani traders and industrialists, foreign investors have invariably had good opportunities to make profits without encountering any big risk. Despite the fact that the existing foreign companies are running their industries in Pakistan unhindered, every government in the country has been inviting more and more foreign investment in to the country. And, every government has also expressed its willingness to provide to the foreign investors - both private and multinational - such facilities and concessions as not enjoyed by local investors.

Unfortunately, the local entrepreneurs fail to realize that the local capitalist as a political force are not present in the government of the country. They are content with getting their work done by the bureaucracy through personal connections or bribes. As against this, the foreign investors, particularly the transnational corporations, have the support of the imperialist and other capitalist countries on whom every government in Pakistan, irrespective of whether it was an army junta or an elected government, has invariably depended. As a result of this dependence, such laws are framed which provide all sorts of facilities and concessions to the foreign investors, which in turn make it easy for them to amass huge profits and transfer them abroad. Besides, putting retired army and civil officers in high positions in their organizations, the multinational companies manage to take away substantial amounts under the heads of royalty, trade mark, etc., in addition to actual profits.

Apart from this, the import of raw material including semi- finished raw material for use in their industries based in Pakistan, which is done through their parent organizations at home at very high prices, is another channel through which money is shifted abroad. Such raw materials are imported from their home countries at such high cost even while these can be easily had from other countries at a much lower cost. Quite often, such materials are available locally but these companies refuse to utilize them. Similarly they bring modern machinery from their home countries at high cost and install them here.

The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 1860 under the Trade Organizations Ordinance, out of which was born the Overseas Inventors Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This new body has today 152 members which include multinational corporations as well as several foreign private companies belonging to 17 countries, namely: 67 of Britain, 74 of the United States of America, 17 of West Germany, 10 of Japan. These companies are engaged in a variety of trading and industrial activities such as: manufacture/trading in pharmaceutical products, chemicals, electrical and electronic goods, cement, fertilizers oil and gas, polyester, leather, cooking oil, and household articles, as well as financial institutions: insurance, booking, and shipping.

Taking advantage of Pakistan’s close political links with the United States, the American government had obtained from the Pakistan government several major concessions in the 1960s for their multinational corporations. These concessions enable them to push the British investors aside in a very short time and leave them far behind, so much so that today in 1990 American investment has the first position, Japan second and Britain third. American investment is mostly in the energy sector, on top of which is oil, followed by fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, rubber products, financial institutions banking and insurance. Though these American companies are few in number, in terms of the volume of investment and profits, they are substantially large. Before the 1983 elections, Japanese capital had out-stripped American capital through the import of motor vehicles and electronic goods in the commercial field. According to a report by the economist of Daily Dawn, Japanese monopolies had pushed aside foreign investors, of whom the United States had been in number one position, and themselves got to the number one position. According to a survey for one year after the elections, the United States and Japan had reached a position of near parity.

It would be relevant to mention here that the approach pursued at every stage in Pakistan’s history, right from the first day of its coming into existence, was one of obstructing the country’s labor movement and undermining the struggle of the working class through all sorts of tricks and artifice. By means of pro-working class slogans, the Pakistan People’s Party might have succeeded in projecting itself as a champion of the working class but during the twenty months of its tenure in power it has done virtually noting to give an impression to the workers that the promises made to them were going to be implemented.

Pakistani capitalists and particularly the foreign investors now realize that the working class can no longer be fed on mere slogans. No doubt the workers employed in foreign-owned companies and factories get better wages and enjoy more facilities than their counterparts in locally-owned when labor unrest erupts, it does not confine itself to some selected enterprises but envelops all and sundry including theirs. Therefore, in order to create peaceful and normal conditions, they want to be physically present in the making of policies in respect of other workers, so that their own interests are safeguarded against such eruptions.


[This paper was presented at the 25th CCA-URM Programme Committee Meeting, 22-30 January 1994, Karachi, Pakistan]