The international geopolitical situation which is dominated by the interests of the Western powers and their multinational corporations, also gave the Pakistani ruling class an opportunity to forge alliances and to subjugate the masses to the so-called need for national security. Today, all social, economic and political policies are designed to serve the interests of the ruling classes, while the collaboration of the mullah with this process has given it divine sanction.

The way things are developing, Pakistan cannot be held together. The Pakistan Resolution, passed in Lahore on March 23 1940 is dead in spirit, as is the Constitution of 1973. They have served only as tools of repression in the hands of the ruling classes. The promises of religious harmony, equal civil rights and national self-determination have proven hollow.

There is a profound sense of urgency in the Pakistani political climate today. This urgency can only be addressed by developing a new consensus among the masses in Pakistan. It has to be a consensus that brings people together to agree to get rid of the ruling classes of Pakistan, to evolve a new constitution and to hold a referendum on the question of national self-determination, including an immediate plebiscite in so-called ‘Azad’ (‘Free’) Kashmir.

Pakistan will survive only if there is consensus (‘itefaq’) among the people on how they want to live and how they want to govern the affairs of their country. Unless the people themselves dictate the will of the people, the break-up of Pakistan seems inevitable.

If, however, the Sindhi, Baluch, Kashmiri or other nationalities living in the federation of Pakistan decide to secede, then no power on earth can keep them from doing so.

The only possible way to put things right is to issue a call to the working classes in Pakistan and Kashmir to develop a consensus to take over the means of production. The struggle for national freedom should be linked to the fight for the emancipation of the working classes in Pakistan and Kashmir, not only from the ruling classes of the country but also from the clutches of the corrupt trade union leadership and the opportunist and sectarian left and the hypocritical tribalist/nationalist elites. This, however, does not mean that one should reject outright the demands put forward by nationalists or separatists.

The living conditions of the people of Pakistan in general and that of the working classes in particular have hit the rocks and in desperation it is but natural for them to seek political alternatives. It is the duty of the conscious layers among the working class to argue for a collective struggle to rid Pakistan of the ills of Capitalism. Until that happens, we are forced by circumstance to work patiently towards building a national consensus among the masses that the working class should act collectively in order to take over the means of production.

This article first appeared in Glasgow International. A free fortnightly paper written in English and Urdu. Thanks to Dr Amjad Mirza.