Military arrests socialist and democracy activists

The military regime in Pakistan in March 2001 carried out mass arrests of supporters of the ARD (Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy) in Pakistan. They also banned a protest demonstration in Lahore on March 23rd which was to call for the restoration of democracy. Fifty people trying to attend the protest were arrested and beaten. Among those arrested were six leaders of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), including General Secretary Farooq Tariq. These comrades have now been released but the charges remain.

The International Socialist Movement and the Scottish Socialist Party condemns these arrests. We call on the military regime to drop the charges, free all political prisoners and to stand down and to call free elections. We have been active in aiding the Pakistan Solidarity Campaign. On Friday 30th March we organised a noisy picket of the Pakistani consulate in Glasgow and handed in a protest letter from SSP member of the Scottish Parliament, Tommy Sheridan (see below.)

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Arrested ARD leaders released - Now drop the charges

Six Labour Party Pakistan Leaders Arrested

Protest Letter from Tommy Sheridan MSP

Labour Party Pakistan Website

Arrested ARD leaders released - Now drop the charges

A Message From Farooq Tariq, General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan.

We are charged with 16 MPO and clause 188. MPO means maintainess of public order. 16 MPO is a natorious clause of this law which means that we have disrupted the normal life and are illegible of seven years of imprisonment. Clause 188 means that we have violated the orders of deputy commissioner under clause 144. This mean that not more than four persons can get together at one place for a meeting. The DC has already announced this order few days before the meeting.

We have been granted bail from Lahore High Court. Our advocates had filled a case on 22nd March that we have been abducted by the police and filed a law suit for habeas corpus. The Lahore High Court, in an unprecedented move, conveted our habeas corpus application into our bail application. In normal circumstances, High court will order to apply for bail in the lower courts. But in our case, 7 of us, High Court converted and accepted our bail application directly.

There were over 18 advocates appearing on our behalf on 27th March morning. My advocate was Hina Jilani, who is a nationally known advocate and general secretary of Pakistan Human Rights Comission (HRCP). The comrades who have attended our congress last year know tha place as our congress was held at their prestigious hall. The Lahore High court room was jam packed with journalists and political activists. It was a national news once again.

We were released on the same night at about 8pm. On 28th march we addressed a press conference to tell the masses that ARD will continue its movement of restoration of democracy.

LPP have got a good name as the ARD leaders played on our wicket of agitation. We showed our courage and willingness to go all the way. It has helped to get LPP a national name and identity of a fighting party.

A meeting is taking place on 2nd April in Lahore by Lahore LPP in honour of those LPP comrades who were arrested and played a leading role in this campaign.

LPP comrades Yousaf Baluch and Ghulam Akber in Punjab and Sind have been elected as secretaries ARD labour affairs. In the next meeting of the heads of the political parties affiliated to ARD, LPP will have a national responsibility as well.

During the press conference yesterday, I had informed the national press that SSP is organising a picket line tomorrow in Glasgow. It was printed today in daily Dawn and some Urdu papers. I shall send you the press cuttings. I also raised the possibility of Sarwer attending the picket line.

Please tell the picket line comrades of our warmest greetings and salute to SSP who have taken the initiative to help our fight for restoration of democracy. Please post this message to the NET as well.

I shall write my jail experiences soon and you will hear more about it.


Farooq Tariq

Six Labour Party Pakistan leaders have been arrested

Zafar Awan General Secretary LPP Punjab, Nazli Javeed Joint Secretary General, Azra Shad General Secretary Lahore, Tariq Shazad assistant editor Party’s weekly ”Mazdoor Jeddojuhd” and Maqbool Ahmed Chairman central unit Lahore were arrested when they arrived along with other party comrades at Mochi Gate Lahore today on 23rd March. They raised the slogan for the restoration of democracy and the end of military regime. They were severely beaten by the police. Police has taken them to some unknown place. Police has also arrested more than 50 workers from other parties. LPP condemns arrests of these political worker and leaders, which is total negation of human and political rights. The Muchi Gate was barricaded controlled by heave contingent, they siege all roads and link roads. The Alliance organized that rally for the Restoration of Democracy at Mochi Gate garden. The government put up a barbed wire fence along the entire boundary wall of the Mochi Gate garden where ARD decided to hold the public procession. The Govt. locked all the gates and deployed police in and around the garden.

Previous night Police continued raiding houses of political workers and leaders. All the exit and entry routs to Lahore have been sealed. Persons from police, Elite Force, Mujahid and Eagle squad have been deployed.

No passenger bus or vehicle can enter Lahore with out Checking. Hotels and inns along all the highways have been issued warning that action would be taken against them in case they checked in any political worker or leader.

A case has been registered against General Secretary of LABOUR Party Pakistan and many other ARD leaders. Farooq Tariq is charged with notorious 16 MPO, an anti state Act which is bail able offence, but it depends on government to hear bail petition. Farooq along other ARD leaders is in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. According to reports Farooq is sent to jail for one month.

Rizwan, Member NC, Labour Party Pakistan

Solidarity Message from Tommy Sheridan MSP on behalf of the Scottish Socialist Party

Sent 23/03/01, to Chief Executive of Pakistan & High Commisioner at the High
Commision for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, London

As Member of the Scottish Parliament representing the Scottish Socialist
Party I wish to protest in the strongest possible terms the actions of the
Pakistan government in relation to the arrest of the leadership of the
Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), including Farooq Tariq,
General Secretary of the Pakistan Labour Party, LPP.

It is my understanding that on the 21st March, the police arrested the
leadership of ARD from the leader of Muslim League's residence, where they
were gathered in a meeting to finalise arrangements regarding 23 March
public procession for restoration of democracy.

I also understand that thousands of workers were arrested in their homes the
previous evening.

The Pakistan government must understand that the world will not stand idly
by while our brothers and sisters in Pakistan face repression for demanding
their basic human rights.

There are many thousands of Pakistani peoples resident in the Glasgow
constituency I represent and I will make sure that the actions of your
government in relation to the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy are
known to them.

I call on your government to release the leadership of ARD immediately.

Tommy Sheridan, Member of the Scottish Parliament, Convenor Scottish
Socialist Party