General Musharraf has refused to step down as head of the Pakistani military. His decision has embarrassed the mainstream parties who have repeatedly failed to launch a movement to remove the general since his 1999 coup—and have instead sought to share power with the military.
When Musharraf made his announcement on 25 December the US rushed to endorse his decision and the EU kept quiet. Before 9/11 the US tried to avoid openly endorsing his rule, but Musharraf has become a favourite of the US since backing the war on Afghanistan.
There is growing resistance to Musharraf’s rule—which has grown as he has launched a programme of privatisations. Large demonstrations against electricity privatisation took place in the province of Sindh in December —leading to a series of strikes.
In October telecom workers struck for two hours on six consecutive days and the government gave into their demands and halted privatisation hours before a day-long strike was due to start. Teachers have also taken action. The political opposition to Musharraf will only be able to make a breakthrough if the working class turns its struggles into an opposition to military rule for the capitalists.
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