|Leading female Marxist in PPP arrested|
|Written by PTUDC|
|Sunday, 02 December 2001 00:00|
A key member of the PTUDC and life-long fighter for the socialist cause, Shahida Jabeen,
has just been arrested by the dogs of Musharraf's dictatorship. Act against tyranny now!
On November 30, 2001, the PPP organized a public meeting in Garri Shahu, a traditional working class area on its 34th founding anniversary. More than 3,000 workers and activists turned out. Due to a presidential ordinance the meeting was held inside a walled complex. The PPP organized similar activities throughout Pakistan in this connection. Shahida Jabeen spoke on this occasion. She delivered a blistering speech, sharply criticizing the policies of the present military regime. She also gave a hammer blow to the current Afghanistan policy of the regime. She also criticized the current war efforts of American imperialism in Afghanistan, demanding an end to the war.
She also put forward a solution for Afghanistan and its future. She also used this forum to express her long standing view for the workers of the party and the ordinary people of Pakistan by saying that the emancipation of all miseries lies in Socialism. She referred to the founding documents of the PPP which call for the social transformation of society through socialism - betrayed by the leadership. "ROTI, KAPRA, oor MAKAN" ("Bread, Clothes, Houses") is the solution, she declared. Keep in mind this is very popular slogan since the 1960s. She demanded that the party should return to its founding manifesto to revitalize itself if it is determined to do so, otherwise its history is over. She also declared that the socialist workers of the party will continue their struggle for this cause. She also insisted that the restoration of democracy cannot be obtained by backdoor deals but can only be achieved by struggle. The working class will wage this war not for limping democracy, they will ultimately wage a war against poverty, misery, and chaos and workers democracy. She also explained to the workers an international perspective that in the period of the decay of capitalism the only remaining solution is Socialism. She received cheering applause by the workers throughout her speech. She also pointed out that the true workers of the PPP will resist any backdoor deal by the PPP leadership for the sake of regaining power by betraying the workers' struggle.
In that meeting the national press and information Secretary Altaf Qurashi agreed in principle with Shahida Jabeen. He repeated the references made by Shahida Jabeen in his speech. He mentioned that the party must adopt similar lines which were manifested in the founding documents. Earlier he mentioned the very same views in an article published in the Daily Jang on November 30, 2001 (an Urdu newspaper with a circulation of 700,000). This is clear sign that the radicalization in the PPP is turning to the left. The Struggle Publications produced the "Basic Founding Documents and Proposed Manifesto 2000" of the PPP last year while the official manifesto of the party is yet to be produced. A manifesto committee of the PPP has been working very hard to produce the official manifesto for the last one and half years! As you are aware of the fact in September 2000 the comrades of The Struggle made an historic intervention in the worker's convention of the PPP by producing and distributing this document. Two subsequent editions of this document have been sold out. Now every serious party worker is talking about it!
After 6 hours, the Punjab Police in its notorious style of action arrested Shahida Jabeen and five party members of the PPP in the darkness of night when they were due to take the bus to Islamabad. They were going there to participate in a public meeting and demonstration on December 1, 2001. They are currently detained in Civil Lines Police Station (Queens Road), Lahore. The police have not registered a case against them. It is the winter and they have not been provided with warm essentials. They have spent the night on the cold floors of the lock up. They are also denied sufficient food and other needs. This is truly an act of brutally by the present military regime which is determined to crush every voice of the working people.
Shahida Jabeen, a living struggle
Shahida Jabeen is not only a figure in Pakistani politics but also a living struggle against military dictatorships, whether it is Auab Khan or the notorious Zia ul Haq regime or the current Purvez Musharraf regime. Throughout her political life she has not only come across state repression but has confronted it with courage. She began her political life fighting against the Auab Khan dictatorship. In those days she was quite young and energetic, but she established herself as a left-oriented activist in the Pakistan People's Party (the largest political party in Pakistan). She was tortured on several occasions in 1968-69 by the brutal regime of Auab Khan. She never bent under the pressure of the authorities.
She has earned the title of "fighter" in a male dominated society and politics, beside this she is recognized as a Marxist in the party and in the labour movement. In political ideology she has never compromised with the party leadership's policies. She stands for Socialism and believes in the struggle of the working class and through her acts she has constantly worked for the socialist revolution. She is also a genuine critic of the policies of Benazir Bhutto.
On Monday, October 2, 1977 she was detained along with her 5-month baby Sonia in committee Chowk Rawal Pindi by Punjab police on the direct orders of General Zia. She was sentenced to one year's imprisonment by a special martial law court and was sent to Multan Jail, where she was tortured severely. Her only conviction was that she was protesting against the brutal repression by Zia regime against the workers of the Pakistan People's Party. Her baby child was denied basic needs. After her was released she was once again became active in the party. She exposed the face of the brutal Zia regime wherever she went, expressing her support for workers' democracy. In 1983 she was again arrested and was put behind bars in the notorious Lahore Fort detention centre. She remained there along with hundreds of PPP workers until 1983. Lahore Fort detention centre was being run by the Pakistan Army itself. Lahore fort has tiny cells where there is no sunlight or fresh air. It was the centre of State repression, hundreds were punished mentally and physically during the martial law period of Zia.
Everyone there was barred from their families and were denied bail or parole. Along with others, Shahida Jabeen's brother Usman Ghanniwas hanged with his poltical partner Adres Totee (both of them where political workers and young energetic activists of the PPP, and from the same street in Dharampura, Lahore) on August 6, 1984. Shahida Jabeen suffered this tragic loss in a prison cell. She was not granted permission by the military authorities to attend the funeral of her slain brothers. They were arrested in November 1981 and were sentenced to death by a special martial law court. In her memoirs Shahida remembers when she was informed by a Major of the Pakistan Army about the execution of her brother and his friend: "Here is a present for you," the Major said, "your brother and his friend has been executed." After a while she was transferred to Kot Lakhpatt Jail in Lahore. She remained there until 1984. She was again moved to Multan Jail in 1985 after the so-called referendum conducted by Zia to declare himself President of Pakistan. After receiving all kinds of physical and mental torture she was released in 1990. She remains loyal to the party and its founding manifesto, which assures a socialist transformation of this rotten society, which she has been defending to this day. She is the voice of hundreds ofworkers in the PPP who want to move forward to Socialism. She is currently serving the PPP as the Central General Secretary of the PPP Women's Section. She is also a member of the Punjab Executive of the PPP. She contested a by-election in 1997 against Aga Kamal Ali of the Muslim League (a close friend of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif). It was state-rigged election, which she lost but she continued her revolutionary work. As we all know, most of the MPs of that regime are either in jail on corruption charges or are in exile.
Alongside mainstream politics, Shahida Jabeen is the publisher and a main contributor of the Marxist Urdu fortnightly The Struggle, which has been in circulation for 22 years. She is a true inspiration for young and old revolutionary workers in Pakistan. She also contributed in the foundation of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign, where she plays a key role.
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The Struggle continues!