Comrade Lal Khan continues to obfuscate Shia genocide

Pakistan’s Marxists continue to mourn sufferings of Palestinians, Kashmiris, victims of drone attacks etc while ignoring and misrepresenting the plight of most target killed community of Pakistan.

We have previously highlighted how various right-wing and (pseudo-)liberal analysts in Pakistani media and society remain silent or, worse, misrepresent Shia genocide in Pakistan at the hands of State-sponsored Takfiri Deobandi-Salafi militants by dishonestly giving it Hazara ethnic or Sunni-Shia sectarian colour.

We published a series of articles to name and remind those silent on genocide of Shia Muslims, the most target killed community of Pakistan – more than 19,000 killed and still counting.

In this post, we highlight how a leading Marxist intellectual, trade union leader and columnist Dr Lal Khan continues to ignore, in fact misrepresent, Shia genocide.

First a brief introduction:

Dr. Lal Khan is a political activist and trade unionist. Together with Alan Woods, he is involved in International Marxist Tendency, an organisation which is active in more than 30 Countries worldwide. Dr. Khan’s political theory and struggle are based on the ideas of Leon Trotsky and he is International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign (PTUDC). He is the editor of the quarterly Asian Marxist Review journal and also writes regular columns in the Daily Times. Dr. Khan has written widely on class-struggle and conflicts in South Asia and the Middle East and is the author of several books including those on the possibility of revolutionary struggle in Kashmir leading to a united South Asian socialist federation, Pakistan’s revolution of 1968-69 and on the history of revolutionary struggle in the Arab region. (Source)

Here are a few examples of Dr. Lal Khan’s discourse on Shia genocide.

Lal Khan presents false binary and false neutrality of violence between Sunnis and Shias completely wiping out the fact that Takfiri Deobandis do not represent Sunnis, they only represent their sponsors in Pakistan Army.

The oppression of the national groups, discrimination against women, the abhorrent treatment meted out to religious minorities, and the bloodletting going on between the Shias, Wahabis, Sunnis, and other fundamentalist sects craving to cut the throats of rival Islamic sects, hardly makes this a viable nation.

It is not a ‘national’ tragedy — Lal Khan
September 16, 2012

مذہبی اقلیتوں کے ساتھ نفرت کا برتاؤ، مخالف اسلامی فرقوں کے گلے کاٹنے کو تیار شیعہ، سنی، وہابی اور دیگر بنیاد پرستوں کے مابین خونریزی، یہ سب ایک قوم ہونے کی علامات تو نہیں

Lal Khan condemns Shia genocide by the LeJ-Taliban and drone attacks on the LeJ-Taliban hideouts in the same breath.

From the air crash to the soldiers who perished under an avalanche; the killing fields of Karachi; cold blooded murders in Baluchistan; the targeted, sectarian slaughter of Shias in Gilgit and Quetta; the bestial terrorist attacks by Islamic bigots; drones spewing hellfire, mauling and killing innocents in Pashtun areas — the list of tragedies in this land seems to be infinite.

Theatre of the absurd — Lal Khan
6 May 2012

He misrepresent Pakistani state-sponsored Shia genocide in Balochistan in false neutral terms (proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran).

The Saudi, Omani and other reactionary Gulf Sheikhdoms have their own colonial stakes in Balochistan. There is a substantial portion of Balochistan under Iranian control. The Iranian mullah aristocracy has its strategic and economic designs. Apart from the nationalist dimension of these hostilities, there is a proxy war being waged on the basis of religious sectarianism between the Saudi monarchy and Shia clergy in Iran. The Indian bourgeoisie to has its imperialist ambitions.

Balochistan: apologies won’t do! —Lal Khan
February 19, 2012

We hope that Lal Khan will reconsider his discourse and position on Shia genocide.

14 responses to “Comrade Lal Khan continues to obfuscate Shia genocide”

  1. Comrade Khan is not alone. Another leading Marxist Tariq Ali too one step ahead, he is actually a ShiaPhobe.

    A reactionary, opportunistic and self serving anti Americanism that feels as if it has been dictated by a serving colonel of the ISI and which covers the following themes:

    i) An utterly one-sided narrative of the drones where the Taliban and foreign mercenaries are counted as civilians and where the views of the Pushtuns are casually dismissed and instead the Taliban are falsely represented as an “indigenous Pushtun movement”

    ii) The extremism in Pakistan is falsely linked to the UN sanctioned NATO presence in Afghanistan and the entire issue of extremism and the massacre of minorities is linked to this presence. It is NOT linked to the Islamist policies of the establishment and their channelling of the Saudi billions into the social experiment that views Pakistan as a laboratory experiment for imported medieval practices.

    iii) Inherent in this false narrative is also present a pronounced anti-Shia bias. When Tariq Ali writes:

    “The Shia sects and some of their more esoteric beliefs have little to do with Islamic theology.”

    Clearly, Tariq Ali is not qualitatively any different from a frothing and foaming sectarian mullah from the Sipah-e-Sahaba. When the negative and weird characters in his historical novels, which evoke more Nasim Hijazi than Steinbeck, are Shia and when one of the main protagonists is named Yazeed, then the blatant sectarian prejudice in Tariq Ali’s historic fiction cannot be ignored.

    Even the attempts to portray these novels as anti-colonial are contradictory to the notion that Islamism itself is a colonial force and much of the matter in Tariq Ali’s novels is the typical Islamist “mythology that is uncritically recycled” in his shallow novels with very predictable plots and character arcs.

    I suppose even self-declared atheists cannot contain their sectarian prejudices.

    Tariq Ali shamelessly parades the security establishment point of view on the Taliban and thankfully this is beautifully deconstructed by Naeem Wardeg in “Tariq Ali, Pashtun Nationalism, and Taliban”.

    “Nevertheless, Mr. Tariq Ali lumps everything under imperialism and anti-imperialism and finds a link between anti-imperialism, Pashtun nationalism, and Taliban movement. This highly reductionist approach may be based on his understanding of the issue or, more likely, catering to the needs of his own nationality but this also unfortunately conceals more fundamental causes of the problem”

    This is further reinforced by Imtiaz Baloch’s column on similar biases of Tariq Ali:

    “In general, Tariq Ali’s attitude and behaviour towards Pakistan’s nationalities question sounded like an echo coming from Islamabad’s corridors of power representing the voice of a dominant nationality that has colonized Baluchistan for 60 years, yet whose intelligentsia, including the Left is woefully oblivious of their own role as accomplices.

    There seemed a pattern emerging from the speech and the discussion that completed the picture. The old Left and the neo-Taliban have bonded into a new friendship with a common cause – Bush-bashing, for which, Islamic populist sentimentalism, state and strong army have become important tools of the trade. Today, it is not surprising to see former Marxists collude with Jihadis, but to see Tariq Ali in that role was a huge let down”

    Suddenly it all made sense, for Tariq Ali. For him, the world had shrunk to the two opposite poles – America on one sides and the global Islamic militancy. Anything anti-American would do, regardless of its nature being oppressive, anti-progressive, anti-democratic and anti-human.

    What Tariq Ali said that evening would make Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed and former Director General ISI Hameed Gul (godfather of the Taliban) applaud and dance with joy.

    Unfortunately, that was not the end of the story. He also managed to present one dramatized case of forcible disappearance of a Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui now in US custody for alleged links with Al-Qaida.

    He spent considerable time talking about Aafia Siddiqi, painting a picture of a victim of American atrocities, but he did not utter a single word about the thousands of Sindhi and Baloch political activists who were disappeared by the ISI under Musharraf’s military rule and ended up in the torture cells.

  2. Comrade Tariq Ali hate democracy and Benazir Bhutto.

    He ridiculed Muslim world’s first female elected PM as Daughter of the West, only a few days before her murder by those terrorists who Tariq Ali describe as legitimate reaction to US imperialism.

    Many Pakistanis – not just the mutinous and mischievous types who have to be locked up at regular intervals – were repelled, and coverage of ‘the deal’ in the Pakistan media was universally hostile, except on state television. The ‘breakthrough’ was loudly trumpeted in the West, however, and a whitewashed Benazir Bhutto was presented on US networks and BBC TV news as the champion of Pakistani democracy – reporters loyally referred to her as ‘the former prime minister’ rather than the fugitive politician facing corruption charges in several countries.

    She had returned the favour in advance by expressing sympathy for the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, lunching with the Israeli ambassador to the UN (a litmus test) and pledging to ‘wipe out terrorism’ in her own country.

    On 30 December 2007, a conclave of feudal potentates gathered in the home of the slain Benazir Bhutto to hear her last will and testament being read out and its contents announced to the world media. Where Mary was tentative, her modern-day equivalent left no room for doubt. She could certainly answer for her son.


    A triumvirate consisting of her husband, Asif Zardari (one of the most venal and discredited politicians in the country and still facing corruption charges in three European courts), and two ciphers will run the party until Benazir’s 19-year-old son, Bilawal, comes of age. He will then become chairperson-for-life and, no doubt, pass the post on to his children.

    Benazir’s last decision was in the same autocratic mode as the ones that went before it; her approach – tragically – cost her her life. Had she heeded the advice of some party leaders and not agreed to the Washington-brokered deal with Pervez Musharraf or, later, decided to boycott his parliamentary election, she might still be alive. Her last gift to the country does not augur well for its future.

    31 December

    Comrade Lal Khan is not too far off:

    Pakistan’s Supreme Court in its verdict of 16 December, 2009 declared the notorious NRO null and void ab initio. The National Reconciliation Ordinance of October 2007 was promulgated by the then President of Pakistan General Parvaiz Musharraf. It was the outcome of a deal he had struck with Benazir Bhutto, life Chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party in a covert meeting in Abu Dhabi. The deal was brokered by the United States and Britain. The aim was to create a new setup that could facilitate the imperialist war and other interests in this turbulent region.

    According to this ordinance all cases of politicians including corruption, murder, extortion, kidnappings and other heinous crimes would be withdrawn. Some of the major beneficiaries are now in power including Benazir’s widower Zardari, now the President of Pakistan and some of his most sinister ministers. The other main beneficiary is the Muteheda Qaumi Movement, MQM, whose leader, an absconder resident in London for several years, and its other leading figures were facing charges of murder and other crimes. The MQM is a mafia-type organisation with neo-fascist tendencies and its main ideological baggage is based on ethnic conflict.

    The present democratic dispensation is the product of such a nefarious design. After Benazir’s assassination in December 2007 Musharraf’s fate was sealed. The plan B came into action and Zardari having a long standing relationship with US officials was catapulted into the presidency with his firm assurance that he would be more subservient to the Americans than Musharraf or Benazir could ever have been.

    The present PPP-led coalition government based on the theory of “reconciliation” has meant havoc for the masses. In just two years of its existence, price hikes, increases in unemployment, lack of healthcare and education, deprivation, shortage of electricity, water, flour, sugar, petroleum products, gas, etc., have been astronomical. The level of poverty has risen sharply. Wars are raging in large areas of the country. Terrorism, fear, uncertainty and insecurity stalk the land. Suicide bombings and terrorist carnage has turned society into a living hell. The Americans are using the Pakistan Army and the state to fight their wars for strategies and interests that have been given false names and objectives.

    The present ruling class are crying hoarse about democracy. They equate every solution of every problem to “democracy”. The din has now escalated to a deafening crescendo. Yelling about democracy at the top their voices round the clock, on the television, in the newspapers, every political party with ideologies ranging from Islamic fundamentalism to the nationalists, to the liberal and so-called ‘secular democrats’, has been issuing an agonising, monotonous and annoying message for the masses. The PPP leaders are the most tedious and raucous. The masses being thrust in the abyss of misery, poverty and disease have become sick and tired of this democratic demagogy, constitutional and legalistic wrangles and all this hypocritical nonsense of “national” interests’ with its decayed and treacherous patriotism.

    Democracy is not a social system. It is a methodology used in different varieties in different social systems in history. From that of the Roman republic to the Athenian model and from the Asiatic despotic democracy to the shura of Islam this method of rule has gone through various forms and shapes. The masses in Pakistan have only experienced the worsening of their misery and pain under this “democracy” of finance capital and free market economics. The genuine democracy of the workers and the toiling masses can only be accomplished by the overthrow of this yoke of dictatorship of the financial oligarchy.

  3. Can you provide a link to a previous post in which you published Dr. Hoodbhoy’s criticism of Marxists?

  4. Problem with both LAL khan @ Tariq Ali is that they are living in the past, in 60’s. & 70’s. They have not been able to grow out of it, the present world is much more than imperialism & anti imperialism. Human life is much more sacred than the doctrine they follow, You can only struggle against class society if u r allowed to breath! These so called Marxists fail to understand it.

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  7. Comrad Laal Khan is a secular sectaraian, Muawiya Marxist and a Deobandi atheist.

  8. Mobarak Haider
    31 mins ·

    Lal Khan, a Trotskyite activist, analyses the roots of terrorism, in his article published in Daily Dunya.
    The learned writer tells us that the basic motive of terrorism and its networks is “black money”. Terrorism and crime are the products of Capitalism and American Imperialism, he writes.
    While reading his analysis, some simple questions appeared in my mind:
    (a) Why is it that no important capitalist country faces this “product of capitalism”? Japan, the Far East, China and Russia, Europe, Latin Americas, Australia, then Canada and the United States which is the mainland of capitalism, and above all India which is at a breathing distance from our land of terror, all these are capitalist systems; why is there no terrorist network in their lands. We know that whenever an act of terror takes place in these lands, it is clearly an act of some Muslim organization.
    (b) Why is it that this “economic activity” flourishes only in Pak Afghan region or in Muslim majority lands?
    (c) How do we explain the fact that these “criminal” networks find recruits from Muslims including Muslim immigrants living in modern countries? Why people from other religions do not join these criminal networks? Is it only Muslims who suffer from the tyranny of imperialism?
    How can a serious, objective analyst ignore these obvious facts?
    Countless articles are written in Pakistan to confuse public opinion on terrorism. But we expect better from an honest analyst.

  9. Ali Abbas Taj said:

    Mobarak Haider, Clearly, you are not familiar with Muawiya Marxists. Have you ever read the novels of Comrade Tariq Ali – the one where the hero is named Yazeed and the villians and wierdos are shias and Crusader alliances. It is easy to blame America and the “capitalist” system while enjoying the benefits of capitalism. Bashing capitalism also deflects from the historical justification of terrorism and hatred against minority sects by Deobandi polemicists like Shah Waliullah. It is much easier to blame capitalism for terrorism by Taliban – who benefit from free market kidnapping, killing, looting and smuggling instead of their shared Deobandi ideology and the 200 years of links between Salafism in Arabia and Deobandism in South Asia. Have you read this article which highlights the common Deobandi ideology of 95 % of terrorism in Pakistan

  10. Sajid Iqbal
    Surkhyas have seen what is an efficient method of garnering agreement and concurrence in Pakistan; anti-Amercanism, anti-west sentiments are rampant and the Reds have seen the Mullah capitalize on it, now they want to do the same and play the same card to get people on the red ideological bandwagon. It defies the measure of intellectual and moral responsibility when learned people like Lal Khan and those behind Laal band start to rely on ends rather than means and principles.
    2 mins · Like · 1

    Ali Abbas Taj
    The Deobandi madrasses which form the backbone of terrorist groups like ASWJ-LeJ, Jundullah, JeM, Taliban (all 50+) recieves hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the Gulf. Plus local funding. Plus full immunity from our media and Judiciary. If class was the issue, then Hindus and Christians, the most economically disenfranchised communities of Pakistan would be the leading terrorists. But that is NOT the case. Ever heard of a Hindu in Pakistan pulling down people from a bus and killing them on the basis of name?? Every heard of a Christian bloowing himself in a market place? It seems that certain sections of the left in Pakistan cannot see past its ingrained sectarian prejudices against targetted communities like Shias, Sunni Barelvis and Ahmadis. The “poverty made me do it” apologist arguement for terrorism is deeply problematic and easily debunked in light of facts.