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Support Pakistan’s democracy movement!

by Sue Bolton
In the latest news from Pakistan, a trade unionist faces the death penalty on a treason charge. Beolw is an article from Asian Foodworker on this disturbing development. Underneath that is the solidarity statement with the democratic forces in Pakistan and the latest list of signatories. I urge you to sign it. So far, Labour Party Pakistan secretary Farooq Tariq has managed to avoid being arrested, although other LPP leaders have been arrested.

In a series of disturbing incidents, following the imposition of emergency rule, Pakistan's military rulers are seeking to quell all democratic dissent by giving the army wide ranging powers to bring people before military courts and threatening the death penalty against activists. Liaquat Ali Shah, one of the leaders of the solidarity campaign for the Karachi Pearl Continental Hotel Trade Union, and a trade union leader in his own right at the State Bank of Pakistan, has been charged with treason, an offence which carries the death penalty.
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The following appeal for solidarity with the Pakistani people’s struggle for democracy has been initiated by Melbourne civil liberties lawyer Rob Stary.

We, the undersigned, in solidarity with the people of Pakistan who are once again facing severe repression under emergency rule imposed yet again on November 2, 2007, by the military regime of President General Pervez Musharraf, call for:

1. Immediate lifting of the state of emergency and the censorship and curbs on media and communication which have been imposed under the Emergency Law.

2. Immediate release of all the judges, lawyers, human rights activists, political and civil society activists and leaders who have been arrested since November 2, 2007.

3. The immediate release of Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry and his restoration to his rightful position as chief justice of Pakistan, and an end to the intimidation and manipulation of the judiciary by the Musharraf regime.

4. Free and fair elections and an end to involvement of the armed forces in Pakistan politics.

We stand together with the brave activists resisting this new wave of repression and call upon the Australian government to immediately recall its high commissioner in protest, terminate all Australian support and cooperation with the Musharraf government.

We urge all supporters of democracy to:

1. Add your name to this statement by emailing solidarity_with_pakistani_people@hotmail.com

2. Donate material support to the brave activists in the Labour Party Pakistan via the Peoples Power Fighting Fund: Commonwealth Bank. BSB: 062026. Account number: 1006 0743.

3. Support any protests that are organised in your city. For more information phone Sue Bolton (Melbourne) 0413 377 978; Peter Boyle (Sydney) 0401 760 577; Paul Benedek (Brisbane) 0410 629 088.

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