The Pakistani Left is re-grouping

Qualandar Bux Memon and Ali Mohsni in New Internationalist:

445-30-leftPolitically, the energies of these [Left] parties and groups are focused on establishing a culture of democracy in Pakistan. For example, when the liberal élite and the Right supported the 1999 coup by General Musharraf, the Left was the single voice in opposition. It recognized the historical drive of the military to expand itself further into the economic and social life of the country and its commitment to secrecy and the expansion of the security state. During the struggle to restore democracy, the Left openly supported the lawyers’ movement (2007-09) that led to Musharraf’s exile.

Moreover, these organizations are intrinsically opposed to the ‘personalization of politics’ of the traditional parties. For example, the Pakistan People’s Party can only be led by a member of the Bhutto family – the party’s recent leadership succession was decided by the will of the late Benazir Bhutto, with members having no say. Similarly, the Pakistan Muslim League, the main opposition party, who are currently in power in the Punjab province, is headed by one industrial family. Its current leader is Nawaz Sharif and the party belongs to his family. Such hierarchical, feudal structures contrast sharply with the political parties of the Left, which hold annual or bi-annual conventions to elect office bearers.

Gender and caste are also seen as important and members of minorities or groups that face discrimination are encouraged to take leadership positions.

More here.