Action for a Progressive Pakistan stands opposed to the U.S. war in Afghanistan and its expansion into Pakistan. We strongly condemn the continuing drone strikes in the tribal regions which have already killed hundreds of civilians. We also condemn the venal role of the Pakistani state and its security forces in this war. We hold them accountable for the massive displacement and loss of life and livelihood that has resulted from the army actions FATA, NWFP, and Baluchistan, and for the disappearance and torture of thousands of Pakistani citizens by security agencies.
We unequivocally condemn the rising militancy in Pakistan and the toll it is taking on peoples’ lives and livelihoods. For centuries the region of the subcontinent that is now Pakistan has engendered and cherished secular-humanist philosophies, which are now under threat. We categorically denounce the spread of religious intolerance that is exacting a heavy price from ordinary people, especially women and minorities, across the country.
However, we do not see the military as the savior of the Pakistani people, or the defender of ‘liberal values’ in the face of ‘Islamist terror.’ We forget at our peril that this is the military which has not only repeatedly set aside the constitution and the will of the people to usurp the state, but one which committed grave war crimes against its own citizens in 1971 (in East Pakistan/Bangladesh) and in Baluchistan during the 1970s, and is today engaged in the brutal suppression of another popular struggle in Baluchistan. This is also the military which – in partnership with the USA in the 1980s – sowed the seeds of the poison which now threatens to consume us. The notion that this military is now invested in protecting us from the same forces it has nurtured over the past three decades not only defies logic, but amounts to willful self-deception.
As Pakistan reels under the impact of the crises either engendered or abetted by the Global War on Terror, we stake our hope in the people of the region. We, along with them, demand an end to the military occupation of Afghanistan, and an end to the drone attacks in Pakistan. We call for the removal of all U.S. troops and trainers from Pakistan. From the Pakistani State, we demand the demilitarization of FATA, NWFP, and Baluchistan along with the constitutional integration of FATA, justice for the families of the dead and disappeared, comprehensive land reforms, massive expansion of a decent public system for the provision of universal healthcare, education, and housing, and aggressive pro-poor economic policies.
Like people everywhere, Pakistanis deserve a life free of intolerance, insecurity and injustice. Bringing this about will require the mobilization of the Pakistani people. Time and again, the Pakistani people have shown themselves more than capable of fighting the forces of intolerance and authoritarianism. However, the crises being engendered and intensified by this war – among them the escalating militarization of everyday life and the increasingly constricted space for a progressive anti-imperialist politics – is making such a mobilization increasingly difficult. For all these reasons, we demand an end to the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the only way forward if we are truly committed to a peaceful and just future.