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Public Authority and Local Resistance: Abdur Rehman and the industrial workers of Lahore, 1969–1974


In 1968 a popular movement emerged on the streets of Pakistan which toppled the regime of General Muhammad Ayub Khan and ushered in the Pakistan People's Party (PPP). After a decade of military rule this movement was heralded as a turning point in the country's political fortunes. However, the war in 1971, the failure of the PPP to live up to its radical slogans, and Pakistan's eventual return to military rule in 1977 were seen as clear indications of the failure of both the movement and the PPP. This article focuses on the area of Kot Lakhpat in Lahore and the emergence of a worker-led court under Abdur Rehman to argue that this narrative of the failure of the movement does not leave space for local success stories which, while temporary, had an important impact on the role that the working classes imagined for themselves within the state. The Kot Lakhpat movement was part of a longer history of labour politics, and its story challenges the centrality of the PPP and shows how local structures of authority can be formed in response to the greater space for radical action opened up by a wider national resistance movement.

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1 ‘Khushi Muhammad Dogar and another v. The State’, 1984 Monthly Law Digest (MLD) 1337, p. 1343.

2 Nawa-i-Waqt, 1 May 1974, p. 1.

3 Ibid., 2 May 1974, p. 5.

4 Idrees, Muhammad, ‘The Abdur Rehman Story (I) Dial “M” for Murder’, in The Night was not Loveless (Lahore: Rhotas Books, 1991), p. 189.

5 Mahmud, Khalid, Pakistan mein mazdoor tahrik [The Labour Movement in Pakistan] (Lahore: University of the Panjab, 1958), pp. 6364. Mahmud had worked with the labour movement and was also a university professor in Lahore.

6Zinda hai zinda hai Abdur Rehman zinda hai [He lives, he lives, Abdur Rehman lives]’, Pamphlet of the Muttahida Mazdur Majlis-e-Amal Lahore, No. 392, Progressive Movements in Pakistan Collection (PMPC), International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam (hereafter IISH), p. 3.

8 Direct references to specific interviews have been made in the footnotes. However, in piecing together this story, the key interviewees were: Altaf Baloch, a Packages employee at the time, was accused of Rehman's murder and spent 15 years in jail. Muhammad Akbar was also a Packages employee who was accused, but was acquitted by the Sessions Court. Bashir Zafar, a worker in Kot Lakhpat, was part of Rehman's federation and worked closely with him. Yusuf Baluch, a trade union leader and labour activist in Lahore, was involved in the anti-Ayub movement when he was a railway worker. Muhammad Yaqub, a worker in the Kala Shah Kaku area in the late 1960s, continued to coordinate the activities of worker federations in Lahore. Karamat Ali was a labour activist in the 1970s and founder of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) in Karachi. Aitzaz Ahsan, a student activist at the time, also participated in the study circles that Rehman attended and later joined the PPP where he continues to be one of its most prominent members. He knew Rehman and was present at the roadblocks when Rehman was murdered. Hussain Naqi, a founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, has been involved in student and leftist politics since the 1950s in Pakistan. In the early 1970s he was a journalist who reported on labour and was based in Lahore. Tariq Hameed, initially the director of production in Packages, was promoted to general manager in 1974. Ibrahim Ramay is the son of Hanif Ramay, the chief minister of Punjab at the time.

9 A similar argument has been made by Joshi, Chitra, Lost Worlds: Indian Labour and its Forgotten Histories (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003). She argues that the militant strikes of the workers of Kanpur resulted in ‘radicalizing the language of the local Congress’ (p. 277).

10 Sayeed, Khalid Bin, ‘Mass urban protests as indicators of political change in Pakistan’, The Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 17:2 (1979), pp. 117118; Khan, Lal, Pakistan's Other Story: The 1968–9 Revolution (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2009), pp. 137142.

11 Ahmed, Muneer, ‘The November Mass Movement in Pakistan: the Role of Government-Opposition Interaction toward Political Modernization’, in Ahmed, Muneer, Political Sociology: Perspectives in Pakistan (Lahore: Punjabi Adbi Markaz, 1978), p. 31.

12 Ibid., p. 49.

13 Maliha Lodhi refers to this time as an ‘extraordinary juncture’ because of state weakness. See: Lodhi, M., ‘Reflections on the Pakistani dilemma’, The Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 20:1 (1982), p. 97. Lodhi used this description as a point of departure to explain why Bhutto did not take advantage of this opportunity to restructure the state. In a seminal article that discusses the roots of this oligarchy, Hamza Alavi describes the early 1970s as a ‘traumatic moment of crisis’: Alavi, H., ‘The state in post-colonial societies: Pakistan and Bangladesh’, New Left Review, 72 (1972), p. 66. Though dated, Alavi's piece continues to inform discussions of the Pakistani state. For some of the work that engaged with Alavi's ideas within Pakistan, see: Gardezi, Hassan and Rashid, Jamil (eds), Pakistan, The Roots of Dictatorship: The Political Economy of a Praetorian State (London: Zed Press, 1983) and, more recently, Aasim Sajjad Akhtar's excellent, but as yet unpublished, thesis: A. S. Akhtar, ‘The overdeveloping state: the politics of common sense in Pakistan’, PhD thesis, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2008. To scratch the surface of the broader discussions on the dominance of the military in the Pakistani state, see: Rizvi, Hasan Askari, The Military and Politics in Pakistan, 1947–1986 (Lahore: Progressive Publishers, 1986); Jalal, Ayesha, The State of Martial Rule: The Origins of Pakistan's Political Economy of Defence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), and, more recently: Shah, Aqil, The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014).

14 Rizvi, The Military and Politics; Jones, Philip, The Pakistan People's Party: Rise to Power (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2003); Burki, Shahid Javed, Pakistan: A Nation in the Making, 3rd ed. (Colorado: Westview Press, 1999); Burki, S. J., ‘Ayub's fall: a socio-economic explanation’, Asian Survey, 12:3 (1972), pp. 211212; Maliha Lodhi, ‘Bhutto, the Pakistan People's Party and political development in Pakistan, 1967–1977’, PhD thesis, the London School of Economics and Political Science, 1980.

15 Shaikh, Riaz Ahmed, ‘1968—Was it Really a Year of Social Change in Pakistan?’, in Jones, Bryn and O'Donnell, Mike (eds), Sixties Radicalism and Social Movement Activism: Retreat or Resurgence (London: Anthem Press, 2010). Where Shaikh deems the movement a failure, Tariq Ali heralds it as an unqualified success, portraying a Pakistan on the brink of socialism. See: Ali, T., in Pakistan: Military Rule or People's Power (London: Jonathan Cape, 1970). Using Tariq Ali's work and other accounts, Saadia Toor paints a picture of a thwarted socialist revolution in which state suppression of specific groups between the 1950s and 1970s represented the marginalization of ‘progressive models for the Pakistani nation-state project’. See: Toor, S., The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan (London: Pluto Press, 2011), here p. 2.

16 Recent studies on Pakistan have moved away from viewing the state as an autonomous realm and contest the narratives of state failure. See, among others: Sherman, Taylor C., Gould, William and Ansari, Sarah (eds), From Subjects to Citizens: Society and the Everyday State in India and Pakistan, 1947–1970 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014). This excellent collection of articles was originally published as part of a Modern Asian Studies Special issue, 45:1 (2011); Verkaaik, Oskar, ‘The Captive State: Corruption, Intelligence Agencies, and Ethnicity in Pakistan’, in Hansen, Thomas Blom and Stepputat, Finn (eds), States of Imagination: Ethnographic Explorations of the Postcolonial State (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2001), pp. 345364.

17 Hansen, Thomas Blom, ‘Sovereigns Beyond the State: On Legality and Authority in Urban India’, in Hansen, Thomas Blom and Stepputat, Finn (eds), Sovereign Bodies: Citizens, Migrants, and States in the Postcolonial World (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005), p. 172.

18 Ibid., pp. 171–172. See also: T. B. Hansen and F. Stepputat, ‘Introduction’, in Hansen and Stepputat (eds), Sovereign Bodies, pp. 1–36.

19 Hansen, ‘Sovereigns Beyond the State’, p. 190.

20 Ibid., pp. 187–190.

21 Ibid., p. 190; Lund, Christian, ‘Twilight institutions: public authority and local politics in Africa , Development and Change, 37:4 (2006), p. 688.

22 Lund does not refer specifically to local strongmen, but to examples of this type of authority like ‘chiefs, vigilantes, political factions, hometown associations, neighbourhood groups’, Lund, ‘Twilight institutions’, p. 689.

23 Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Rethinking Working Class History: Bengal 1890–1940 (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1989), pp. 107110; Chandavarkar, Rajnarayan, ‘The decline and fall of the jobber system in the Bombay cotton textile industry, 1870–1955’, Modern Asian Studies, 42:1 (2008), pp. 122, 142, 139.

24 Chandavarkar, R., ‘From Neighbourhood to Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Left in Bombay's Girangaon in the Twentieth Century’, in Chandavarkar, R., History, Culture and the Indian City: Essays by Rajnarayan Chandavarkar (New York: Cambridge, 2009), pp. 177179.

25 Cooper, Frederick, Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 1.

26 Alvi notes that the centre of Lahore was around the walled city in Lahore and that, initially, most residential areas and work opportunities were to be found within six kilometres of this centre. See: Alvi, Imran, The Informal Sector in Urban Economy: Low Income Housing in Lahore (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 129.

27 In 1951 the total population of Lahore city and the cantonments was 4,78,499, while the non-agricultural labour force was 1,87,013. Government of Pakistan (GoP), Census of Pakistan, 1951, I–2. By 1961 the population of Lahore city was 12,96,477 and workers (now listed under ‘Civilian labour force’) had increased to 3,65,928. GoP, District Census Report Lahore, Parts I–V, IV–50.

28 Burki, Pakistan: A Nation, p. 43.

29 For an insight into the political activities and personalities of these two labour leaders, see: Azhar, Ahmad, ‘The Making of a “Genuine Trade Unionist”, An Introduction to Bashir Ahmed Bakhtiar's Memoirs’, in Ahuja, Ravi (ed.), Working Lives and Worker Militancy: The Politics of Labour in Colonial India (New Delhi: Tulika Press, 2013). This book also contains an edited version of Bakhtiar's memoirs, translated into English. Post-partition accounts of the Left and the labour movement in Pakistan also contain snippets of their activities. See: Ali, T., Pakistan: Military Rule; Zafar Shaheed, The Labour Movement in Pakistan: Organization and Leadership in Karachi in the 1970s (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2007); Asdar Ali, Kamran, Surkh Salam: Communist Politics and Class Activism in Pakistan 1947–1972 (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2015).

30 A railway labour leader and later a Communist Party member, Shaukat Ali was also an office holder in the communist-dominated Pakistan Trade Union Federation (PTUF). He worked among the railway and Bata workers in Batapur, Lahore, for several years. After 1956, he joined the National Awami Party.

31 Ali, Shaukat, Maghrabi Pakistan Mein Mazdoor Tahrik [The Labour Movement in West Pakistan] (Lahore: Pakistan Trade Union Federation, n.d.), p. 24, No. 285, PMPC, IISH. This claim is repeated in another account of the history of the PTUF. See: Sindhoo, S. H., Hum Qanunan Azad Hain Magar. . .? [We are Legally Free but. . .?] (Lahore: Awami Jamhoori Publications, 2010), p. 81.

32 GoP, Railway Division, Report on Pakistan Railways, 1948–9 (Lahore, 1949), p. 29.

33 Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Punjab, The Communist Party of West Pakistan in Action, Vol. 1 (Lahore: Government Printing, 1952), pp. 286–287.

34 Ibid., p. 284.

35 Ibid., p. 292.

36 Iqbal Leghari, ‘The Socialist Movement in Pakistan: an historical survey 1940–1974’, PhD thesis, Laval University, Montreal, 1979; Abid Hasan Minto (Interview, 10 June 2011); Ahmad Salim (Interview, 19 April 2011).

37 Report dated 19 March 1959, LAB 13/1049, the National Archives of the UK (hereafter TNA), pp. 4–5.

38 Aijazuddin, Fakir Syed, ‘Akbar's Capital: Jewel in the Sikh Crown’, in Sidhwa, Bapsi (ed.), City of Sin and Splendour: Writings on Lahore (New Delhi: Penguin, 2005), p. 11.

39 ‘Project Report on Lahore Township Scheme’, Appendix F, p. 1, in Revised Form P.C.I., 163/CF/65, reel no. 2490, National Documentation Centre (hereafter NDC), Islamabad, Pakistan.

40 ‘Part B: Description, Purpose and Benefit of Project’, pp. 5–7, in Revised Form P.C.I of the Lahore Township Scheme, 163/CF/65, reel no. 2490, NDC.

41 Ibid., pp. 9–10.

42 Alvi, The Informal Sector, p. 66.

43 Baros, J., The First Decade of Batanagar (Calcutta, 1945), p. 142, Ahmad Salim's Personal Archives (ASPA), South Asian Research and Resource Centre, Islamabad, Pakistan.

44 ‘Bata Shoe Company (Pakistan Limited) v. Muhammad Amin and Others’, 1961 Pakistan Labour Cases (PLC) 618, p. 620.

45 Weiss, Anita, Culture, Class and Development in Pakistan: The Emergence of an Industrial Bourgeoisie in Punjab (Lahore: Vanguard, 1991), pp. 104105.

46 Altaf Baloch (Interview, 14 May 2011); Bashir Zafar (Interview, 7 November 2010); Yusuf Baluch (Interview, 1 June 2011). Reportedly, workers were taken to the boiler and threatened with this, but not actually thrown in.

47 Jones, The Pakistan People's Party, p. 234.

48 The system of indirect elections or basic democracies in Pakistan was intended to contend with the ‘illiterate masses’ in the belief that Pakistani politicians had ‘made the working of democracy impossible’: Sayeed, Khalid B., ‘Pakistan's basic democracy’, Middle East Journal, 15:3 (1961), p. 249.

49 Craig Baxter argues that Ayub Khan was not politically astute enough to respond effectively to building resentment. See: Baxter, C., ‘Pakistan Votes—1970’, Asian Survey, 11:3 (1971), p. 201. W. M. Dobell stresses Ayub Khan's illness in 1968 which Bhutto took advantage of. See: Dobell, W. M., ‘Ayub Khan as president of Pakistan’, Pacific Affairs, 42:3 (1969), p. 307. Others point toward the hated terms of the Tashkent declaration, corruption, and economic inequality. See: La Porte, Robert, ‘Succession in Pakistan: continuity and change in a garrison state’, Asian Survey, 9:11 (1969), pp. 842861; Maniruzzaman, Talukder, ‘“Crises in political development” and the collapse of the Ayub regime in Pakistan’, The Journal of Developing Areas, 5:2 (1971), pp. 226228; 229. Burki highlights inequities generated by rapid urbanization and industrialization, stating that these factors had a dialectical relationship with Bhutto's ‘charismatic leadership’. See: Burki, ‘Ayub's fall’, p. 203.

50 Guisinger, S. and Irfan, M., ‘Real wages of industrial workers in Pakistan: 1954 to 1970’, Pakistan Development Review, 13:4 (1974), p. 367.

51 Sayeed, ‘Mass urban protests’, pp. 115–116.

52 Weiss makes this argument when comparing BECO and Ittefaq to what she calls the ‘middle level indigenous bourgeoisie’ in Punjab. See: Weiss, Culture, Class, and Development, p. 105.

53 Amjad, Rashid, Industrial Concentration and Economic Power in Pakistan (Lahore: Punjab University Press, 1974), pp. 3234, 42–46; White, Lawrence J., ‘Pakistan's industrial families: the extent, causes and effects of their economic power’, Journal of Development Studies, 10:3&4 (1974), p. 281. See also: Amjad, Rashid, Private Industrial Investment in Pakistan 1960–1970 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982); White, L. J., Industrial Concentration and Economic Power in Pakistan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974).

54 Papanek, Hanna, ‘Pakistan's big businessmen: Muslim separatism, entrepreneurship, and partial modernization’, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 21:1 (1972), p. 25; Amjad, Industrial Concentration, p. 3.

55 See: Amjad, Industrial Concentration, p. 67, for conflicts between industrialists as a result of a shortage of projects.

56 Rizvi, The Military and Politics, p. 95; Ahmed, A., Pakistan mein Tulaba Tahrik [The Student Movement in Pakistan] (Lahore: Mashal, 2000), pp. 108109.

57 Amin Mughal (Interview, 4 December 2011), a committed leftist and also an NAP member at the time, was part of a professors' association at Islamia College. He had worked closely with Mirza Ibrahim. Aitzaz Ahsan (Interview, 6 August 2012). See also: Iqtidar, Humeira, ‘Radical Times: Students in Political Mobilization During the 1960s and 1970s’, in At the Crossroads: South Asian Research, Policy and Development in a Globalized World (Islamabad: Sustainable Development Policy Institute, 2007), p. 237.

58 Pakistan Times, 2 February 1967, p. 1.

59 Brief accounts of this strike can be found in Hussain, Tassaduq, Pakistan People's Party: Irtiqa 1967–1971 [The Evolution of the Pakistan People's Party 1967–1971] (Lahore: South Asian Institute, 1974), p. 38; T. Ali, Pakistan: Military Rule, pp. 145–146; Khan, Lal, Pakistan's Other Story: The 1968–69 Revolution (Delhi: Aakar Books, 2009), pp. 141142.

60 ‘Special Meeting in the President's House to discuss the Railway Strike in West Pakistan held on 3rd February 1967’, p. 3, 42/CD/67, reel no. 2557, NDC.

61 Ibid. The fact that the police had opened fire was discussed in this cabinet meeting, but was not admitted to in the press. The All-India Radio reported that several workers in Lahore died during the railway strike. In response, the provincial government spokesman stated that, ‘The propaganda is false, baseless and concocted as not even a single person was killed during the strike.’ Pakistan Times, 6 February 1967, p. 1.

62 Letter from D. B. Collard to S. Cottingham, 10 February 1967, p. 2, FCO 37/182, TNA. Governor Musa publicly issued warnings to the workers that if they did not return to work, ‘firm action’ would be taken against them. Pakistan Times, 3 February 1967, p. 1 and 4 February 1967, p. 1.

63 Collard to Cottingham, 10 February 1967, p. 2, FCO 37/182, TNA.

64 T. Ali, Pakistan: Military Rule, p. 146.

65 Both of the statements that Bhutto made to the press at the time that the Karachi firings were being covered related to China's border disputes with India. See: Pakistan Times, 2 March 1963, p. 1 and 3 March 1963, p. 1. Bhutto, as part of Ayub Khan's government, spent the first few months of 1963 preoccupied with a series of meetings with India to discuss the Kashmir situation. See: Feldman, Herbert, From Crisis to Crisis: Pakistan 1962–1969 (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), p. 129. Another pro-PPP account pointed out that Bhutto was also silent during the workers’ protest of 1967, even though (according to Hussain) his sympathies were with the workers. See: Hussain, Pakistan People's Party, p. 38.

66 Pakistan Times, 14 February 1969, p. 14.

67 The headline reporting the strike stated: ‘Wheels of industry stop for 24 hours’, Pakistan Times, 18 March 1969, p. 1.

68 A gherao is a protest tactic; it takes place when workers encircle a place of work, thus preventing employers from leaving, until their demands are met.

69 Pakistan Times, 18 March 1969, p. 9.

70 Jones, The Pakistan People's Party, p. 175. Jones based this claim on an interview with Bashir Ahmed Bakhtiar.

71 Ibid., p. 299.

72 ‘RTC [Round Table Conference] to solve labour problems: a plea’, Morning News, 17 March 1969, Press Clippings on Labour (PCL), National Archives (hereafter NA), Islamabad, Pakistan.

73 ‘Repeal of Labour Ordinance demanded’, Pakistan Times, 16 March 1969, PCL, NA.

74 Muhammad Yaqub (Interview, 14 May 2011).

75 Ahmed, ‘November Mass Movement’, pp. 51–55.

76 This can be inferred from newspaper accounts stating that workers in Badami Bagh demonstrated on 7 March. See: Pakistan Times, 8 March 1969, p. 10. By the time martial law was imposed it was reported that the BECO workers in both Badami Bagh and Kot Lakhpat had returned to work. See: Pakistan Times, 27 March 1969, p. 1. Therefore, between 8 and 27 March, the Kot Lakhpat-based workers of BECO joined the earlier strike of the Badami Bagh workers.

77 Yusuf Baluch (Interview).

78 Jones, The Pakistan People's Party, p. 235.

79 Tariq Hameed (Interview, 19 March 2014).

80 ‘Khushi Muhammad v. the State and Altaf Hussain Baloch v. the State’, 1983 Supreme Court Monthly Review (SCMR) 697, para 8.

81 Pakistan Times, 26 March 1969, p. 1.

83 Pakistan Times, 27 March 1969, p. 1.

84 Candland, Christopher, Labor, Democratization and Development in India and Pakistan (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 4243.

85 Jones, The Pakistan People's Party, p. 235.

86 Asdar Ali, Kamran, ‘The strength of the street meets the strength of the state: the 1972 labor struggle in Karachi’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 37:1 (2005), pp. 8788. For a general overview of this policy, also see: S. Ali, Maghrabi Pakistan, pp. 28–30, No. 285, PMPC, IISH.

87 Shaheed, The Labour Movement, pp. 266–267.

88 ‘Lahore industrialists appeal for calm: ready for talks under new labour laws’, Pakistan Times, 16 November 1969, PCL, NA.

89 Jones, The Pakistan People's Party, pp. 234–235.

90 Lodhi, Bhutto, p. 702.

91 Altaf Baloch (Interview).

92 ‘Partial strike in 4 Lahore firms continues’, Pakistan Times, 26 November 1969, PCL, NA.

93 Jones, The Pakistan People's Party, p. 236.

94 Muhammad Akbar (Interview, 18 May 2011). These ‘camps’ outside the factory gates are also mentioned in ‘Talks begin to end dispute: BECO, Packages workers strikes’, Pakistan Times, 28 November 1969, PCL, NA.

95 Cited in Leghari, ‘Socialist Movement’, p. 142.

96 Bashir Zafar (Interview); Altaf Baloch (Interview); Muhammad Akbar (Interview). Such statements are also corroborated by Aitzaz Ahsan (Interview). Jones also states that Bhutto and Sheikh Rashid were ‘consistently quoted’ using such slogans: Jones, The Pakistan People's Party, p. 299.

97 Khan, Roedad (ed.), The American Papers: Secret and Confidential India-Pakistan-Bangladesh Documents 1965–1973 (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 799. This correspondence also discusses an interview with Mubashir Hasan (a prominent founding member of the PPP), and reports that he appeared to be ‘not entirely convinced with Bhutto's credentials as a genuine social revolutionary’, ibid.

98 For these takeovers and the PPP's response to them, see: ‘Koh-E-Noor Rayon under workers’ control’, Pakistan Forum, 2:9/10 (1972), pp. 8–10+7; ‘Who is sabotaging production?’, Pakistan Forum, 3:2 (1972), pp. 5–6; Khan, Iqbal, ‘From Pathan colony to workers’ state’, Pakistan Forum, 2:11 (1972), pp. 48; Shaheed, The Labour Movement; K. A. Ali. ‘The strength of the street’, pp. 83–107.

99 Ibid., especially the Pakistan Forum report, ‘Who is sabotaging production?’.

100 Reportedly, Mukhtar Rana was among the first to leave. Declaring that the PPP had betrayed the cause of the workers, he held a mock trial of Bhutto in Faisalabad and was subsequently arrested for making an objectionable speech. Mairaj Muhammad left soon afterwards because he felt the PPP's industrial and land reforms were not what had been promised. Lodhi, Bhutto, pp. 404–405. Yusuf Baluch said Mairaj was known for going and crying at the graves of the workers who were killed in Karachi (Interview).

101 K. A. Ali, ‘The strength of the street’, p. 99.

102 Yusuf Baluch (Interview).

103 Jones, The Pakistan People's Party, en. 93, p. 252.

104 Tariq Hameed (Interview). When questioned about what ‘it’ was, Hameed said that Rehman believed the system around them would inevitably collapse and all people who were professional and did their work with due diligence would find a place in whatever new system came to replace it.

105 ‘TU leader slain: angry protest by workers’, Eastern Worker, 14:6, June 1974, pp. 140–141.

106 Dawn, 1 May 1974, p. 1.

107 Ibid.

108 Hussain Naqi (Interview, 14 March 2016).

109 Bashir Zafar (Interview).

110 Muhammad Idrees, ‘The Abdur Rehman Story (II): A Bomb That Didn't Explode’, The Night, pp. 195–196. Very little has been written on the NAP in West Pakistan. For accounts of the party and the factions that formed within it, see: Rashiduzzaman, M., ‘The National Awami Party of Pakistan: leftist politics in crisis’, Pacific Affairs, 43:3 (1970), pp. 394409; Ahmed, Ishtiaq, ‘The rise and fall of the Left and the Maoist movements in Pakistan’, India Quarterly, 66:3 (2010), pp. 251265.

111 Idrees states that 20 unions were affiliated to the Mazdoor Markaz. See: Idrees, ‘Story (I)’, p. 189.

112 ‘Khushi Muhammad Dogar v. The State’, 1984 MLD 1337, pp. 1344–1345.

113 Nawa-i-Waqt, 5 May 1974, p. 2. Accusations were also made about workers losing track of their cause. Specifically, workers from different unions who had personal or professional conflicts with other workers implicated one another in Rehman's death to get back at them for perceived slights. Imroze, 6 May 1974, p. 2. Similar sentiments about opportunists and hooligans were expressed in Nawa-i-Waqt, 4 May 1974, p. 5.

114 This argument follows Lund who argues that this ability to make distinctions ‘may just be the essence of public authority’. See: Lund ‘Twilight institutions’, p. 689.

115 Bashir Zafar (Interview); Tariq Hameed (Interview).

116 Imroze, 10 May 1973, p. 1.

117 Mohammad Yaqub (Interview); Hussain Naqi (Interview).

118 Tariq Hameed (Interview).

119Abdur Rehman ko shaheed kar diya gaya, Abdur Rehman zinda hai [Abdur Rehman has been martyred, Abdur Rehman lives]’, no. 392, PMPC, IISH.

120 Idrees, ‘Story (I)’, p. 192; Idrees, ‘Story (II)’, p. 194.

121 Idrees, ‘Story (II), p. 197.

122 Bashir Zafar (Interview).

123 Idrees, ‘Story (I)’, p. 191; ‘Zinda hai’, no. 392, p. 3, PMPC, IISH.

124 Tariq Hameed (Interview).

125 Idrees, ‘Story (I)’, p. 191.

126 Mahmud, Pakistan mein Mazdoor Tahrik, pp. 63–64. This account also mentions that no woman could be harassed and no police officer could abuse anyone while Abdur Rehman was in control of the area.

127 Idrees, ‘Story (II)’, p. 196. These include local industrialists, Altaf Baloch, and other trade union rivals as well as ‘local gangsters’, ibid.

128 Bashir Zafar (Interview).

129 Tariq Hameed (Interview).

130 ‘Khushi Muhammad Dogar v. State’,1984 MLD 1337, p. 1340.

131 Hussain Naqi (Interview); Mohammad Yaqub (Interview, 14 May 2011); Altaf Baloch (Interview).

132 ‘Khushi Muhammad Dogar v. State’,1984 MLD 1337, p. 1349.

133Zinda hai’, pp. 3–4, no. 392, PMPC, IISH.

134 ‘State v. Altaf Baloch and 15 others’, In the court of Sh. Muzaffar Hussain, Addl. Session Judge, Sessions Court, Lahore, Session case No. 8 of 1975, Session trial No. 9 of 1975, from the transcript of the court judgment, p. 41.

135 Ibid., pp. 22–23.

136 ‘Khushi Muhammad Dogar v. State’,1984 MLD 1337, p. 1344.

137 Ibid., p. 1349.

138 ‘State v. Altaf Baloch and 15 others’, In the court of Sh. Muzaffar Hussain, p. 4.

139 Ibid., p. 12.

140 ‘Khushi Muhammad Dogar v. State’, 1984 MLD 1337, pp. 1348–1349.

141 Idrees, ‘Story (I)’, p. 188.

142 ‘State v. Altaf Baloch and 15 others’, In the court of Sh. Muzaffar Hussain, pp. 38; 40.

143 ‘Khushi Muhammad v. the State’, 1983 SCMR 697, para 8.

144 ‘State vs. Altaf Baloch and 15 others’, In the court of Sh. Muzaffar Hussain, p. 29.

145 Ibid., p. 39.

146 Ibid., p. 27.

147 Musawwat, 1 May 1974, p. 1.

148 ‘Trade union leader slain: angry protest by workers’, Eastern Worker, 14:6 (1974), p. 140. This issue of the Eastern Worker contains several short pieces on Abdur Rehman's death.

149 ‘Khushi Muhammad Dogar v. State’, 1984 MLD 1337, p. 1342.

150Zinda hai’, pp. 3–4, no. 392, PMPC, IISH.

151 Dawn, 1 May 1974, p. 1.

152 ‘Khushi Muhammad Dogar v. State’,1984 MLD 1337, p. 1343.

153 After Rehman's death, his friend and associate Tariq Latif changed his name to Tariq Rehman and took over the federation. The workers continue to be involved in new parties like the Awami Workers Party (a coalition of leftist political parties recently formed in Pakistan), and to act as a pressure group for the implementation of things like better policies with regard to pensions and wages.

154 See: Humeira Iqtidar, ‘Jama'at-e-Islami Pakistan: Learning From the Left’, in Khan, Naveeda (ed.), Beyond Crisis: Re-evaluating Pakistan (New Delhi: Routledge, 2010). Iqtidar argues that the Jama'at learned from the Left in the 1960s, changing their demands and expanding their constituency to focus more on peasants and workers (p. 247).

*I am grateful to the anonymous reviewers, as well as my co-contributors to this special issue, for their comments. I am also deeply indebted to the helpful critique provided by Peter Robb, Ravi Ahuja, and Sarah Ansari on earlier drafts of this article, to Muhammad Saad for his help in gathering more source material, and Ammar Jan for the inspiration provided, many years ago, to work on this article in the first place.

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Modern Asian Studies
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