Geoff Brown's analysis of Pakistan shows how a country which was the product of British imperialism continues to support the proxy wars of the US in the region (Feature, Socialist Review, April 2009).
The army consumes the biggest budget and leaves education, health and other social institutions to suffer. About 67 percent of the population in Pakistan live below the poverty line and the basic infrastructure of primary and secondary schooling has collapsed. Now more and more religious rural schools are catering for poor children who cannot afford to pay for private schooling.
The current lawyers' movement in the urban areas of Pakistan which had only one objective, to restore a chief justice, has won the issue. But the main, real issue for the people of Pakistan has been how to reduce the size of the army and its sizeable budget.
The political parties are pro-army and pro US imperialism and there is no real socialist political party in Pakistan which could organise people within the four provinces. There are some very effective left wing groups, like the Labour Party of Pakistan, but their following is limited and city based. Most Pakistanis live in rural areas of the country where feudal aristocracy and religious alliances control the political influence and ethnic-based semi-tribal values. The "war on terror" has made Pakistan a more dangerous and insecure place in the region because it has taken charge of the US's proxy wars.
An organised and well connected left-orientated political party can save Pakistan because it is heading towards civil war and disintegration.
Dr Salim Haidrani