Pakistan: Split in the Awami Workers Party (AWP)

We publish below a selection of reports and statements on the split in Pakistan’s Awami Workers Party (AWP)

 Fissures in the Awami Workers Party (AWP)

by Daily Dawn staff reporter, 3 October 2019
LAHORE: Fissures appear among the Awami Workers Party (AWP) as one of its components, the Labour Party Pakistan, has parted its way for what the deserters say ‘witch-hunting’ of their supporters.

AWP former general secretary Farooq Tariq announced quitting the Centre-Left outfit along with his colleagues here on Tuesday.

In a renewed attempt to unify the Left forces, three progressive parties – Awami Party, Workers Party and Labour Party Pakistan – had decided to merge themselves in the form of Awami Workers Party for building upon the Left’s best traditions and making adaptations necessary for a viable project back in November 2012.

Announcing an end to the seven-year partnership, Mr Tariq says the AWP was giving a cold shoulder to the movements of farmers, labourers and democrats like the Anjuman Mazareen Punjab and campaign for the release of Baba Jan in Gilgit-Baltistan.

“The party won’t be seen in the field and had been confined to drawing-room politics for ignoring the issues of the farming community and workers against what had been decided at the time of merger. But each movement was being seen as a suspicious move.”

According to him, a group that became influential within the party after the death of chairman Fanoos Gujjar not only started a ‘witch-hunt’ of those coming from the Labour Party by excluding them one by one but also grabbed most of the party offices.

He says a committee will be formed to take view of the situation and decide future course of action for the defunct Labour Party workers.

 AWP Leader quits party

Staff writer, The News International Pakistan
LAHORE:Awami Workers Party (AWP) central leader Farooq Tariq resigned here on Wednesday over differences with the party, The News has learnt. Abida Chaudhry, AWP vice president, confirmed the differences between Farooq and the party, adding that difference of opinion is the beauty of a revolutionary party. She said Farooq resigned for personal reasons. Though sources in the party claimed that many workers along with Farooq Tariq have left the party and Abida Chaudhry rejected the claim and said only Farooq Tariq left the party.

 AWP regrets comrade Farooq’s resignation vows to unite progressive movements

Statement published on the AWP website, 3 October 2019

The leadership of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) expresses its regret at the resignation of Comrade Farooq Tariq from the party.

In an official statement, AWP President Yousuf Mustikhan and secretary-general Akhar Hussain Advocate said: “Comrade Farooq was the founding general secretary of AWP and one of the driving forces behind the rebuilding of the Left in Pakistan. We do not wish to see him leave the AWP’s fold, but we also respect his decision and are certain he will continue playing a pivotal role in our collective task of building the socialist movement in Pakistan. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with him in the near and long-term future.

“We would like to stress that Comrade Farooq has taken this decision in his personal capacity and that most of the former members of the Labour Party that merged into the AWP with him continue to remain committed to building the party.

“AWP was formed with an aim to overcome the outdated sectarian differences of the 20th century Left and build a party adapted to the new realities of our time. Even if some of those differences continue to persist, our experience has confirmed that our decision was correct; we have grown and strengthened as we have figured out ways of working together.

“There must be no turning back in the process of building a popular party of the Left in Pakistan. In these times of crisis and repression, AWP continues to be committed to bringing together all strands of the progressive movements and forces in Pakistan and will continue to reach out to and organize workers, students, women, nations and broader society for radical change.

“Let us resolve to come together in the spirit of openness, self-reflection, and dialogue to respond to the enormous collective challenges that face us in society,” the statement concluded.

 Letter: We are quitting the Awami Workers Party (AWP)

Farooq Tariq - Letter sent to the Socialist Pakistan News (SPN) email list, 1 October 2019
Capitalist exploitation in Pakistan is assuming alarming proportions. Democratic spaces are shrinking. The state is increasingly becoming oppressive towards social movements and working-class organisations.

Simultaneously, trends of revolutionary resistance have also emerged. A growing revolutionary consciousness among the students is, in particular, noticeable. Oppressed nationalities are fighting back to assert their rights through new formations and social movements.

Likewise, trade unions, peasant bodies, and class-based projects have the capacity to launch important struggles. Climate movement, like rest of the world, has entered in an unprecedented manner an entire new generation of students.

The consciousness among youth, workers, women and other oppressed sections of the society is such that the ruling class hegemony is being challenged on a daily basis.

Back in 2012, when the Labour Party Pakistan merged with two other left-wing organisations to launch Awami Workers Party (AWP), the move was guided by a defensive strategy. The aim was to survive and to weather the storm as ‘left’. We have been rather successful in achieving that target.

Women and youth played a pivotal role in making this strategy work. We prioritised and will continue to prioritise joint actions with the youth and women movements. We will also endeavour to orientate these movements towards revolutionary methods.

In order to catalyse people’s movements, re-vitalise our struggle for the release of jailed activists and comrades, to play the role of a vanguard, initiate new movements for the right to free education, healthcare and the right to a decent job, above all, to build a revolutionary party, we are quitting the AWP with a heavy heart.

We are quitting AWP, however, we are not abandoning our revolutionary ideals. Our revolutionary journey spans over 50 years. Beginning at historic Peasant Conference at Toba Tek Singh in 1970, this struggle was organisationally shaped by the experience of Struggle Group formed in 1980 at Amsterdam by leftwing exiles. This struggle will go on albeit it will take another turn. We refuse to give up.

We are leaving AWP with revolutionary wishes for our comrades. The AWP provided us an opportunity to work with such great leftist comrades as the late Fanoos Gujjar and Abid Hassan Manto. Their comradeship is a revolutionary asset for us.

We now want to move on. A new generation of progressive activists and a whole new cadre wants us to take next steps. For our future course of action, a Committee for a Revolutionary Socialist Party is being launched. The party we want to form would be part and parcel of the efforts to build revolutionary parties internationally.

Meantime, the daily Jeddojehad Online (Daily Struggle) and fortnightly Tabqati Jeddojehad (Class Struggle) continue to mirror our proud struggle against capitalism, feudalism, and imperialist exploitation. The future is socialist.

The hope lies in the instances of youth that have organised itself in Lahore on the platform of People’s Rights Movement (HKM) or students mobilised from the platform of Progressive Students Collective.

In league with such youth and student projects, we will organise a country-wide new party.

For the launch of such a party, we will seek your help, guidance and moral support.

Long live socialism.

Farooq Tariq