National Sections of the L5I:

Rumours of a military coup grow in Pakistan

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Pakistan has buried 24 troops killed in a NATO cross-border air attack that is now causing a crisis in relations between the United States and its ally in the “War on Terror”. 

Diplomatic relations were already strained since the Raymond Davis affair (a CIA spy gunning down Pakistanis with impunity), the killing of Osama bin Laden and the recent “Memogate” scandal, in which the Pakistani Ambassador to the US handed over a letter to friends in the US government asking for help to prevent a coup.
The imperialist aggression shows the desperate state of the NATO commanders who are facing defeat in Afghanistan. It provoked distrust and anger not only among the people, but also in parts of the ruling elite, especially the military establishment. They view this attack as part of a process to undermine their authority in Pakistan.
The Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DDC) issued a strong statement after the “friendly fire” incident. They also announced a blockade of NATO’s supplies through Pakistan, an ‘ultimatum’ to the US to vacate the Shamsi air base within 15 days and the boycott of the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan. They also promised to undertake a complete review of all programmes, activities and cooperative arrangements with US, NATO and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), including in the diplomatic, political and intelligence areas. Finally, they threatened a whole range of further measures regarding Pakistan’s future cooperation with the US, NATO and ISAF.
This latest event is just part of the nightmare that Pakistan has been living through for many years now. The War on Terror is a horrifying and destabilising factor in the politics of a country with a fragile civilian government and tense relations with its neighbour, India. More than 4,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in the anti-Taliban military operations. There have been countless more deaths of oppressed Pashtun men, women and children who have been the victims of drone attacks and military operations in the FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions. 
It is not only the never-ending war that is causing stress in society. Many people are suffering under neo-liberal policies which have dramatically increased exploitation, humiliating the working class, the peasants, the urban and rural poor and youth and subjecting them to unemployment, poverty and insecurity.
As a result, anti-American sentiments are very high, there are large rallies in different cities. The main beneficiaries of this are the Political Islamists. They exploit the anger to gain a hearing for their retrogressive politics. Moreover, they also gain support from some sections of the establishment who are using them for their own strategic ends.
This has caused bitter conflict in the ruling class, which was revealed in Memogate, medical treatment of the president Zardari and the rumours of a military coup.  The Prime Minister spoke out at the National Assembly complaining that the army is "acting as a state within a state", and warned that the civilian government might be out of power soon.
In public, the Army still maintains that it is the defender of the mother land, but its real nature is clear in the eyes of many people. The military forces have brutalised innocent people in Pakistan in the name of fighting against extremism, especially during their military operations in the Swat valley and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
All the rhetoric is simply to give a veneer of legitimacy to their actions. They argue they are strong supporters of the US invasion of Afghanistan, even though there are many dark rumours about how Osama bin Laden came to Pakistan and how he managed to survive so long here, right under the noses of a military that was supposed to be hunting him.
The Pakistani People's Party government is in real trouble. On the one hand, they have verbally condemned the NATO attack, but they are seen by many people as complicit in the imperialist war and weak junior allies or, rather, subordinates, of Washington.
The main opposition Party, the Pakistan Muslim League(N) is currently very active. Its strategy is to use the fall out from the NATO attack and Memogate to win support for their demand for a new election.
The new hero of the not-very-radical middle class and pro-neo-liberal youth, Imran Khan, of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is also trying to win popular support by adding his voice to condemnations of the military operations and drone attacks.
The Revolutionary Socialist Movement, the Pakistan section of the League for the Fifth International, believes that all the left wing groups, trade unions, peasants' and youth organisations should convene an anti-imperialist meeting. This should discuss the current changed situation in Pakistan in the context of the NATO attack, because it has big implications for the politics of Pakistan and the entire region.
We should build a mass, anti-imperialist united front to mobilise the people to demand that Pakistan should withdraw from the War on Terror, which is not only destroying Afghanistan and Iraq but also destabilising Pakistan.
We fight for:
NATO out of Afghanistan and a stop to all attacks on Pakistan.
No military bases in Pakistan for NATO or American forces
Expel all NATO or American soldiers from Pakistan.
End all the military operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
We are against any military coup in the name of 'saving the nation'. In the case of any undemocratic act, we will oppose it and call for mass mobilisations of the working class and peasants to defend the civilian government against any intervention.
We have no illusions that the current government will ever really defend the interests of the Pakistani people but a military government would be an even bigger obstacle. We will defend the government by using the methods of class struggle. In this way, we can not only defeat reactionary interventions but strengthen the forces of the working class and its allies. Even in such a situation we do not cease the class struggle to bring down the capitalist regime and create a workers' and peasants' government.