|Revolutionary Flood Relief and Protest Campaign - Update|
|Written by PTUDC|
|Monday, 16 August 2010 07:13|
The PTUDC in Pakistan has been active all over the country in organising relief for the victims of the floods. In some areas, however, we have met opposition from the Pakistan Army which prefers to back fundamentalist organisations. The Pakistan state has failed abysmally to help its own people, but still finds the forces to harass genuine socialists who are merely trying to help their own brothers and sisters.
The Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign is organising relief and protest activities in more than 57 cities of Pakistan. Recent floods and heavy rains have destroyed the already dilapidated and rotten infrastructure of this state. In many flood affected areas roads, bridges, hospitals, schools etc. have been destroyed which has made the relief and protest work much more difficult.
The impotence of the State and this crippling system is exposed in full. The government has declared its inability to cope with this disaster. However, the Pakistan Army and other state departments are making sure that their stooges are safe. The crops of most of the landlords are safe. Also, helicopters provided by the imperialist masters and the army are being used to secure the instalment of fundamentalist organisations. Help for Madrassas, where most of the suicide bombers have been trained and other terrorist activities have been organised, is top priority in the relief efforts of the state. However, in Malakand the PTUDC was not allowed to set up a camp by the army, where the fundamentalist Lashkar-eTaiba had already set up its its camp to disguise its rescue efforts for terrorists.
The state can solve nothing and help no one. And yet amidst this large-scale misery, death and agony these brutal rulers are still backing the efforts of black reaction. The devastation unleashed by this flood is not accidental, but represents a serious blow to this decayed and corrupt infrastructure which had been on its knees for many years.
Once the waters settle and the calm is restored, people will draw their own conclusions. Eventually, from this rubble will rise the forces of revolution which will lead those living in pain and misery to a new world, the world of socialism, the world of classless society, where the entire infrastructure will be rebuilt on a revolutionary basis and where rain will not bring death but life in this world.
Dera Ghazi Khan is a divisional capital city in South Punjab. It is one of the worst affected divisions in these floods. All districts in this division have been facing massive floods. These districts include Muzzaffargarh, Rajanpur and Layyah. The comrades of the PTUDC have established a camp in Traffic Chowk and are involved in relief activities.
This city with a population of more than 1.5 million was isolated from the rest of country after the floods destroyed all the roads in the area. At this point the real face of the local administration and shopkeepers was shown. No alternative has been offered after more than a week has passed. A dilapidated road from Guddu is being used for transportation but the roads linking this city to Multan and other main areas are no longer usable.
The prices of all items of daily use have soared to unseen heights. All those hoarders who had their Godowns full in these disastrous times are exploiting the situation to get as much money as they can. But the poor people have nowhere to go. The District Administration keeps saying that they will open the road tomorrow. But that tomorrow never comes. The Army had promised the citizens that they would provide an iron bridge but that promise has yet to be fulfilled. It may take another month before the Multan D.G.Khan road will be reopened. Before then many will die because of hunger and disease.
The comrades are collecting as much medicine and food as they can for the flood victims and are distributing them among the deserving. This city provides daily use items to an area of more than 200 km within the radius of this city. Also people affected by the flood have mostly shifted into this city. So it is a doomsday scenario here where one can even see the poorest people throwing their smaller kids in flood waters out of desperation as they can’t afford even the most basic needs.
This city with a population of more than 800,000 is a sub-division of the District of Muzzaffargarh. This city is one of the most unfortunate which were completely drowned in the flood. The water entered the city after breaking the river banks and rose up to 15 feet which reached up to the second floor of houses in the city.
The water also entered the Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO) in the city after which the supply of fuel to many parts of country was disturbed and one can see long queues at pumps in many cities. Kot Addu Power Station has also been affected.
Most of the people have fled the city in the emergency and those left behind are still struggling with the flood waters. Nearly 150,000 people are stranded in the Thal area near Chowk Sarwar Shaheed (Chowk Munda) which is a relatively higher place. They have nothing to eat and drink and epidemics are spreading like wildfire. Rescue and Relief efforts by the government are nowhere to be seen near this place and people have been left to die. Many people are dying due to snake bites and similar things.
Comrades of PTUDC are organising relief and protest activities in this area with a revolutionary spirit. They have formed committees of workers and youth which are distributing relief goods among the victims. Many comrades also had their homes inundated with flood waters but still they were involved in this activity. Local people from the surrounding areas which were not affected by the flood are helping comrades a lot in this activity. They are supplying the committees with food items and medicines and are taking flood victims into their homes.
Committess formed by the PTUDC are also involved in guaranteeing the security of the homes left by people who fled the city after the flood. There is no State Administration in the city and looting and arson are on the rise. Comrades are trying their best to save the situation from falling into anarchy. They are also organising protests against the failure of the State to provide any kind of relief and against those landlords and multinationals who forced the authorities to direct the flood waters to Kot Addu City from Taunsa Barrage in order to save their land and crops from the flood. Comrade Ali Akbar, executive member of the PTUDC is leading this activity.
This city is the Tehsil headquarters of the Rajanpur District in D.G. Khan Division. With a population of more than 120,000 it is one of the cities which were completely drowned in the flood. Still now, the city is like a ruin inside a river. The comrades of the PTUDC are still there, although most of the population has left to safer places.
Comrade Rauf Lund, who is also the Rajanpur District General Secretary of the PPP, is still present in the city when everyone else has left for safer places. He, along with other comrades, is organising security and relief committees for the affected people in the city and the surrounding villages. PTUDC comrades have rescued the people of Hazrat wala, a town between Fazilpur and Meray wala, from the floods and have moved them to safer places. Also comrades have supplied them with food and daily use items. Comrade Asad Amin is leading this activity here.
The comrades are also organising the people’s wrath against the government for its inability to provide any kind of relief and rescue.
This area in the North West of Pakistan was under the control of the Taliban a few months back. Now the Pakistan Army is crushing the people here with curfews and blind killings. In these killings innocent people are murdered while fundamentalists are still at large.
In the recent floods this division, which includes the Swat district, has been ravaged. All the infrastructure, including roads, hospitals, schools and bridges have been destroyed. People are facing acute shortages of food and medical care. Many people are still threatened by the heavy rains and floods, and have not reached safe places.
PTUDC comrades are carrying out their revolutionary duty in rescuing people from dangerous areas and shifting them to safe places. But the Pakistan Army and the government of Pakistan are putting hurdles in their way.
A camp was established near a broken bridge in Malakand but Army officers gave instructions for it to be removed. When the comrades resisted they were beaten and their camp was destroyed.
In reality, the Army is supporting fundamentalist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba to continue their terrorist activities in the guise of flood relief. Their madrassas are being made safe by army troops and their weapons and terrorists are being shifted on Army helicopters to safer places. The presence of the camp of the PTUDC was exposing their activities and the masses in the area were seeing what these “rescue efforts” on helicopters are being used for.
A large number of peasants have contacted comrades in the region for help after their crops have been destroyed in the floods. The PTUDC held a big public meeting in the village of Dheri Allahdand in Malakand to demand the rights of these peasants. More than one thousand peasants from various areas attended this meeting.
Comrades are swiftly organising local people in Revolutionary Flood Relief & Protest Committees in the whole District and are holding big public meetings to protest against the brutalities of the Army and their support for fundamentalist elements. Amid resistance from the Pakistan Army, camps have been established in many areas with the support by the local population.
Comrades of the PTUDC are collecting funds and relief goods to distribute among the flood victims in the Charsadda and Nowshehra area. A camp could not be established permanently due to heavy rain, but cormade Fazl-e-Qadir’s home in the Railway Workers Colony is the centre of activity in this disaster. Comrade Ejaz Mohmand, along with many comrades of the PTUDC, are involved in this activity and are regularly organising meetings to plan this relief and protest activity.
Charsadda and Nowshehra are among the worst affected in these floods. The whole city of Nowshehra was drowned and many people died. The Nowshehera Cantonement has also been destroyed after this flood.
Relief activity for flood victims by the State and Army is nowhere near the poor people. This crippled state could not rescue its own assets during this flood, so what can one expect for the poor people living in misery now. The PTUDC comrades have stepped up efforts to distribute as many goods as possible, such as tents, medicines and food items among the flood victims.
Comrades in Faislabad are working day and night for the relief and protest campaign launched by PTUDC. Comrades from the Agriculture University and from the PTUDC in Faisalabad have established a camp at the main crossing near Gulberg Police Station. Comrades went up to passing vehicles on the road and to the shops in the area for three continuous days and collected a lot of funds for the flood victims.
In the beginning comrades had nothing to start with. Then comrades formed a group and collected money to establish a camp for flood relief efforts and it took many hours collecting 5 to 10 rupees from passersby. Then from the money raised they got a leaflet copied and distributed to the shopkeepers and vehicles from whom they raised enough money to establish a camp with a few chairs, a tent, table and a banner. Once the camp was set up the response of the poor people passing by on the road was marvellous and they donated generously.
On Thursday the local Police interrupted the Flood Relief efforts by taking prisoner comrades from the Agriculture University, comrade Afnan, comrade Ismaeel and comrade Adil from the PTUDC. The Police also took the money collected during that day. But thanks to the protests of the workers of the nearby locality and with the solidarity of the students of the University, the Police were forced to release all the comrades and give them back their collected money.
Later it was reported that some goons of the fundamentalist Islami Jamiat Talaba in Agriculture University had manufactured all this to stop the revolutionary efforts going on for flood victims. However, the spirits of comrades in Faislabad are high and now they are setting up another camp near the Railway Station.
Also, in the evening comrades go to localities and appeal for funds for the flood victims. Comrades are also organising people in the Revolutionary Flood Relief & Protest Committees to put this campaign on a bigger scale. The people in this third largest city of Pakistan in Central Punjab, also famous for its textile industry, are responding enthusiastically.
Lahore is the capital of the Punjab. A camp of the PTUDC has been established at Laxmi Chowk to raise funds for the flood victims. Also a protest on August 14 will be organised to condemn this rotten and brutal system and its corrupt ruling classes. People passing by the crossing are responding to the appeal enthusiastically.
The PTUDC in Rawalpindi/Islamabad started the “Revolutionary Flood Relief and Protest Campaign” jointly on Monday, August 9 at G-9 Traffic Signal (Peshawar Mor) in support of the flood victims. A committee was formed comprising of comrades from the two cities in order to perform different tasks systematically and more efficiently in less time. In the first phase of the campaign in Islamabad funds are being raised from the people in vehicles stopping at the signal. Leaflets are also being distributed containing true statistics, perspective, programme and demands of the campaign. Placards and banners have also been prepared to record the protest against the impotency of the state in this crisis and spread the message of revolutionary socialism as an alternative to this decrepit system. Young comrades from the BNT, YFIS and JKNSF are also participating with a great revolutionary spirit.
It has been three days since the campaign was launched and the results have been more than what was expected. The comrades are also visiting different markets in order to cover more and more numbers of people. On Thursday, August 12, comrades visited F-11 Markaz Market, collected funds from the shopkeepers and customers and distributed leaflets.
The campaign is proving to be a great success overall and response from the people is increasing day by day. The masses are demonstrating class solidarity by giving all kinds of moral and financial support and are agreeing with the demands and programme of the campaign.
Multan District has also been hit by recent floods. This city is the largest in Southern Punjab where the flood is hitting the population severely. All the daily use items and other basic necessities taken to adjacent areas are transported through this city. After the flood this city has become the main hub of activity for supplying food, medicines and other relief and rescue activities.
The PTUDC has established its camp in the affected area of Sooraj Miani on the outskirts of Multan. Another Camp has also been established in a busy area of Multan called Food Festival. Through a campaign in the whole city comrades have collected a lot of food items and medicines along with funds which are being distributed to the affected people. Nearly 100 food bags were distributed among the affected people of Sooraj Miani on Wednesday.
A team of doctors and paramedical staff under the lead of comrade Dr. Arsalan is distributing medicines and treating patients in the affected areas. PTUDC comrades working in the affected areas of Jampur, Kot Addu, Muzzaffargarh and D.G. Khan in Southern Punjab are getting strategic support from the camps established in Multan.
Rahim Yar Khan
A meeting of the Joint Action Committee of labour unions in the city was held on August 7, which was organised by the PTUDC. A camp was established after the meeting in which a large amount of funds and goods were collected. A caravan taking goods to the affected areas in the suburbs of this district of South Punjab left on August 11 which distributed the goods to flood victims. Comrade Haider Chughtai of the PTUDC led the caravan
A medical relief team has been established here by comrades of PTUDC. See: Pakistan: Mobile Medical Relief Campaign for Flood Victims
This province in the South of Pakistan has also now been inundated with flood waters and heavy rain. PTUDC comrades are establishing camps in Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas, Larkana, Khairpur Meerus, Sukkur, Thatta and other cities. The Dadu District has partially been affected by the flood, while Dadu City is still on red alert. Comrades are establishing committees to organise relief and protest activities.
A camp has been established in Karachi in Malir near the DCO office. Workers in this industrialised area are visiting the camp in big numbers and giving donations. Malir District president of the PPP in Karachi, Raja Razaq has also donated to the PTUDC for its relief efforts along with many other PPP activists. Comrade Riaz Hussain Lund Baloch, President of the PTUDC and member of the PPP Sindh Council, is leading this activity in Karachi. Another camp is being established in Gulshan-e-Hadeed near the Steel Mills by the PTUDC comrades working in Pakistan Steel.
Parts of this province are also affected by this flood. However, due to the tense situation in Quetta (capital of Balochistan) it has not been possible to establish a camp. Many Nationalist and left-wing leaders from various parties and tendencies are being murdered on a regular basis and curfews and shutter down strikes are the norm. However, comrades are collecting funds and goods for flood victims through their personal contacts and through the support of Trade Unions and Workers’ Federations. These funds and goods are being transported to the affected areas.
Parts of Kashmir are also affected by this flood and its capital Muzzaffarabad has been hit. The rest of Pakistani-held Kashmir is under heavy rain and landslides are occurring in which many people are being killed and many homes destroyed. Comrades are organising relief efforts in all the cities of Kashmir, including Rawlakot, Plundri, Kotli, Muzzaffarabad, Neelum and others. Heavy rains have made these efforts a lot more difficult but the spirits of the comrades are high and they are collecting as many funds and goods as they can. They are also taking their revolutionary message to the masses to end this misery and agony for ever through a socialist transformation of society.
Due to army operations and floods in South Pushtoonkhwa and the Tribal areas, no details are available from there. But the comrades are making efforts in Bannu, D.I. Khan, Taank and Wana. As soon as we get detailed report and pictures we will update them on the website.
Picture gallery (Malakand, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rahim Yar Khan, Islamabad, Hyderabad and Kashmir)
The Struggle continues!