Gates Gives Pakistan Its Orders

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NO sooner has the US’s man, Musharraf, been decisively beaten in the Pakistan elections, than the US through its Defence Secretary Gates is issuing its orders to any new government that there cannot be any negotiations with the Taleban leaders.

The Pakistani military has been battling tribes near to the Afghan border in Waziristan for some time and it has been coming off worst.

In Pakistan itself the opposition parties that won the recent election are seeking to unite in a coalition government that will attempt to restore bourgeois democracy to Pakistan in place of the military dictatorship, whose last act was to imprison the Supreme Court judges.

Pakistanis are already discussing what Gates and Bush will do if the next Pakistan administration talks to the Taleban. Many people are predicting that the US will give the go-ahead for another military coup!

Speaking in Delhi, US Defence Secretary Gates was confirming that despite the fact that the polls had rejected Musharraf, the US would be continuing to work with the man who Gates described as the ‘elected president of Pakistan’.

In fact, Musharraf was selected as president in a parliamentary vote that was boycotted by the opposition after most of the judiciary had been locked up and the country put in a state of siege.

The millions who voted for the opposition are determined to see that Musharraf stands trial for the crimes that took place under his regime, not least the murder of Benazir Bhutto.

So once again the masses of the Pakistani people and the United States administration are on a collision course.

There is little doubt that the US will react to this challenge of the masses by seeking to renew the military dictatorship.

Gates spelt out that the new government will have to face the reality that al-Qaeda militants and insurgents were operating along the frontier.

He said: ‘Even the Musharraf government tried talking and doing deals in Waziristan. That didn’t work out very well.’

In fact, the leaders of the two main opposition parties, who will be making up the new government, have been stating that they will be talking to the insurgents with a view to drawing them into the political process.

The PPP is led by Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of former PM Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December under the Musharraf regime, and whose father was hanged by the military.

The PML-N is led by Nawaz Sharif, who led the country until he was ousted in 1999 in a military coup engineered by the then-General Musharraf.

While the bourgeois leaders of the opposition parties equivocate over whether they will work with Musharraf or put him on trial and elect a new president, the working class and the poor have clear ideas about what should be done.

They want a government that will take a stand against imperialism and all US attempts to dominate Pakistan and recolonise it, and will support and advocate the withdrawal of all imperialist forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.

They want a Pakistan regime that will talk with the Taleban, and put Musharraf on trial for the bloody and violent deeds of his dictatorship.

Millions of Pakistani peasants want to see the lands of the big feudal landowners expropriated and divided up amongst the landless.

Workers want to see a better life for themselves and their children, and want to see the banks and the major industries nationalised and put under workers control to give them a future.

This is the only way to end US control over Pakistan and create a future for the working class and the poor.

Central to this struggle is the building of a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International in Pakistan to lead the fight for a socialist revolution and a workers and small farmers government.