Bush plans coming unstuck in Pakistan

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PRESIDENT Musharraf swore in a new caretaker puppet government yesterday to lead crisis-hit Pakistan towards rigged elections in January, when demonstrations and all rallies will still be banned and armed soldiers on every major street corner will control the country’s cities.

At the same time, Benazir Bhutto who returned to Pakistan from exile, with the backing of the CIA, to form an alliance with Musharraf, was being forced by mass pressure to reject the Musharraf move as ‘not acceptable’ and make a call for a ‘people’s revolution’.

Earlier on Thursday, Bhutto had said that she had conclusively ruled out the possibility of sharing power with Musharraf, since he had moved ‘off-script’ and was now taking Pakistan back ‘towards military dictatorship’.

Commenting on their ‘alliance’, she said: ‘Too much water has gone under the bridge,’ adding ‘We have said very clearly that we cannot keep doors open when commitments are broken.’

Bush, aghast at these developments in Pakistan, whose military leaders are his key allies in central Asia, has sent his Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte to try and place Humpty Dumpty back onto the wall.

John Negroponte is the highest ranking US official to visit Pakistan since the crisis erupted two weeks ago.

He is expected to discuss with Musharraf as well as Bhutto and other officials, including Nawaz Sharif, the politician who took Bhutto’s place as Prime Minister, all over the weekend.

Bhutto has already urged Negroponte to threaten to cut US aid to force Musharraf to budge.

She said: ‘I would like to see aid used as a leverage to influence General Musharraf as well as the armed forces which have a core national interest’.

Senior US government officials have said they fear Musharraf may fall and Washington should work on contingency plans with Pakistan’s military elite.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates even questioned his future effectiveness as a US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taleban.

Musharraf’s ‘ability to continue to be a partner in the war on terror very much depends on how events unfold over the next few weeks in Pakistan,’ Gates said.

Meanwhile in the tribal areas of the country, it is reported that town after town is falling to the Taleban and its supporters.

The reality of the situation is that only the Pakistani working class and the masses of the student youth can take forward the struggle to bring down the military dictatorship and defeat the imperialist powers behind it.

What is required in Pakistan is not a lawyers’, petty-bourgeois dominated ‘people’s revolution’, but a workers revolution.

Bhutto is a part of the propertied ruling class of capitalists and landlords. She has just as much to lose as has the Pakistani ruling class as a whole from the movement of the working class, the students and the rural poor. She needs the army, just as much as does Musharraf.

The imperialist powers, in the last analysis are the protectors of Bhutto and her ilk, while she is an agency through which imperialism is working.

What Pakistan requires to end the military dictatorship is a general strike by the working class supported by an uprising of the country’s youth and the rural poor.

Neither Bhutto or Sharif will be able to rule without the use of the same military police apparatus as is being used by Musharraf.

What the Pakistani workers require is the construction of a revolutionary leadership, a section of the international committee of the Fourth International, that can take the movement forward to victory over the landlords and capitalists with a socialist revolution, breaking up their state apparatus in the process.

The Pakistani workers, headed by the revolutionary party, will be able to lead the masses of youth and the rural poor to expropriate the capitalists, and to break up the feudal estates of the landlords allowing the peasantry to divide up and redistribute the land.

A workers revolution that smashes the military dictatorship and then goes forward to break the grip of the landlords, and carry out socialist measures, is the only way forward for Pakistan.