”Socialism is a powerful idea”, Kalsoom Ziab, Pakistani poet and trade union leader

11 Apr

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Kalsoom Zaib is a well-known writer and poet in Pakistan. She is also a trade union leader and a socialist active in the organization Revolutionary Struggle which is affiliated to The Socialist Network. In this interview Ziab tells about her political conviction and struggle in relation to the elections to the National Assembly that is going to be held in Pakistan on the 11th of May.

– It is good for us that the elections will be held next month. We get support from people through our work in the field and through our struggle. As every Pakistani knows, if the elections are postponed for any reason that will be dangerous. Many times we have been faced by martial law regimes. We know the importance of elections. It will be a great moment because we have several candidates who are affiliated to Revolutionary Struggle and The Socialist Network standing for Pakistan Peoples Party.

Ziab taks about her work as leader of the teachers confederation of the province Kheyber Pukhtoon Khwa.

– We struggle for the teachers rights and have won our case by the help of our socialist comrade Manzoor Ahmad who helped us to meet the high officials in Islamabad. Through this struggle the government of Pakistan Peoples Party decided to increase teachers wages by 150 percent. We fought and we won. Because we, the working class, are not weak. Our socialist ideas and our faith in the struggle makes us strong.

She continues to talk about the meaning of socialism.
– For poor people socialism is a powerful idea. It´s about their struggle for their rights and for a bright future. It means equal rights to healthcare, education and shelter.

I believe that no one is better than the other – we are all the same. I hate the upper class which divides humans by colour, religion or according to country they live in. We struggle for a world in which we live without any inequalities – this is socialism. I am proud that I am one of those who struggle for it.

Zaib bases her ideas on many years of fierce struggle.

– I have been a socialist since 1984. At that time I was a school girl. This was in the black years of the history of Pakistan. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was imprisoned and killed by the army on the 4th of April 1979. In November 1980, the student leader Nazeer Abasi was also killed by the Army. General Zia banned every activity. All the political activists were in prison. In this situation comrade Anwar Ziab, my husband, was elected as a chairman of the student federation and started the struggle against the army. It was an unforgettable time for us both.

Egil Karlow

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