Published Date: May 9, 2017
Book launched on Jam Saqi’s life
To stem the rising tide of religious extremism, inequality and de-humanization the beleaguered left has a great role to play in countries like Pakistan". This was stated by at the launch of book on the life of well known Sindhi leftist activist and intellectual Jam Saqi in SDPI in Islamabad Monday. The book "Chale Chalo ke wo Manzil Abhi Nahi Aai" (Move on; The destination is still far away) is co-authored by leftist writer and intellectual Ahmad Salim and Nuzhat Abbas.
There is no doubt that the collapse of communist Soviet Union, the veering of China towards market economy and the rise of religious extremism has dealt a mortal blow to the left. But given the weaknesses of political parties, whether religious or mainstream, and the establishment’s clinging to status quo the Left is a beacon of hope to set the nation’s moral compass, he said.
"We need left because its ideal is justice for all. When blood is shed on different pretexts we need left that glorifies neither religion, nor ethnicity nor nationality. The moral compass imposed by the extremist right and the establishment since 80’s has de-humanized the state and society, he said adding the left needs to re-group itself to reverse that process." He also called upon the left intellectuals to revisit their standard chant of condemning everything; American imperialism, establishment, drones, religious fanaticism. The chant of ‘downing’ everyone and everything may be emotionally appealing to the dispossessed and disappointed populace.
By chanting this slogan however we have not been able to focus on the real threat to the state and society from religious militants producing human bombs blowing up everything from schools to markets and from churches to imambargahs, he said. It will be an immense service if the leftist forces re-united on a common platform and re-framed the debate in terms of what matters to the state and society of Pakistan.
The ideals that matter are the ideals of peace in the region, ending the privatization of jehad project, stemming religious extremism, humanism, advancing fundamental human rights, women and non-Muslim minority rights, and economic justice to the people.
The left’s chief weapon is discussion, debate and reasoned dissent; that of the right is self righteousness in the name of religion. In this battle of ideas the left can and should employ the very dialectics of rightists instead of appearing to be against religion itself, he said. Imperialism must be condemned and ‘down with imperialism’ chant raised but only if imperialism is a tumbling block in the achievement of these ideals. The left should have a clear idea of the extreme right’s political discourse to fight it effectively. Pakistan needs left to challenge the narrative of extreme right, to create and expand space for dissent and discussion and for airing of alternate views to resolve contentious issues, he said.