Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sajjad Zaheer

With the partition of the Indian Sub-Continent came the arduous task
for the Communists of the region: to set up and strengthen a Communist
Party in the newly formed country Pakistan. The enormity of the task
demanded a man with multifarious talents, yet one with such dynamism that
could galvanize and lead the path to the emancipation of the
proletariat in this country. The man who set out to complete this task: Sajjad

It was while studying at Oxford and London universities that the then
young Sajjad Zaheer organized a group of left-minded Indian students to
work for the national freedom struggle in 1927 and developed contacts
with the British Communist Party. He convened the founding conference of
Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA) in London in 1935 and prepared
its manifesto. Coming back to India in November 1935, he started
practicing law at Allahabad High Court and was appointed secretary of the
Allahabad Congress Committee and worked in close cooperation with Nehru,
K.M. Ashraf and Z.A. Ahmed. He came into contact with the leaders of the
then underground Communist Party of India. Later he became the
Secretary of the U.P. State Committee and a Central Committee Member of the
undivided Communist Party of India. He was the chief architect of the
historic first conference of PWA in Lucknow in1936 inaugurated by

With such credentials to his name, it is easy to see why Sajjad
Zaheer was chosen as the first Secretary General of the Communist Party of
Pakistan when it was established among difficult conditions in 1948.
Though a small party, the CPP was well disciplined and tightly organized.
The CPP set up many frontal organizations. Amongst the most prominent
was the Progressive Writers Movement inspired by Sajjad Zaheer and Faiz
Ahmed Faiz. The party laid the foundations for the Railway Workers
Union (RWU) and the Pakistan Trade Union Federation. Similarly the
Democratic Students Front enjoyed substantial influence in the student

But continuous persecution by the pro-imperialist establishment of
Pakistan adversely affected the nascent and fragile Communist movement
forcing it underground. The so-called Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case in 1951
in which the top leadership of the CPP, including Sajjad Zaheer,
Mohammad Hussain Ata and Lenin-Prize winning poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz were all
implicated and also imprisoned, dealt a heavy blow to the Communist
movement. After his release in 1954, Sajjad Zaheer continued to lead the
left cultural movement through PWA, Indian Peoples’ Theatrical association
(IPTA) and Afro-Asian Writer’s Association in India. The PWA
influenced and galvanized writers, poets, and artists in diverse branches of
creative activity. It played a gigantic role in the literary field in
almost all the major languages of the subcontinent. It was virtually the
nursery for political activists, trade unionists, cadres of the peasant
movement students and leaders.

The Sino-Soviet split in the international communist movement in the
late 1960s also adversely affected the movement in Pakistan.
Nonetheless, in Pakistan all elements retained a comradely attitude towards each
other and continued to wage a joint struggle against their common
enemy. The disintegration of the Soviet Union, owing to the betrayal
Marxism-Leninism by the post-Stalin leadership, caused even immense confusion
and vacillation. In these circumstances those organizations that
firmly defended Marxism-Leninism decided to put aside their differences and
unite as one party. Thus, the Communist Party of Pakistan led by
Comrade Imam Ali Nazish and the Mazdoor Kissan Party (founded by Major
Ishaq) led by Ghulam Nabi Kalu committed themselves to a historic merger in
1994 to form the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party. The first chairman of
the united CMKP was Imam Ali Nazish (1994-98) followed by Comrade Sufi
Abdul Khalik Baloch (1998-present). Two splinter groups that could not
grasp the significance of this historic union parted company for
opportunist reasons or personal ambitions. Despite these tribulations the
CMKP remains steadfast to its principles of Marxist-Leninist unity.

The CMKP stands for a peoples’ democratic revolution to create the
conditions for a socialist society. The party has boldly championed the
right of nations to self-determination, fought against military
dictatorships, struggled against religious extremists, upheld the rights of
women and minorities, and championed the cause of the oppressed. We feel
that it is our historic duty to build meaningful, firm, and lasting
relations with the leftwing and communist parties of South Asia. This is
necessary not only to initiate a dialogue within the left but also to
fight against imperialism and win true national sovereignty and economic
independence. The ruling-class of India and Pakistan has perpetually
kept the region in an economically destructive state of continuous
militarization. In these circumstances, the growing cohesion of the left
across South Asia is the only real guarantee of eliminating the
possibility of war. The CMKP is working to bring about a broad-based alliance of
left-wing parties and anti-imperialist forces in Pakistan as well as
meaningful affinity with the Marxist-Leninist parties of South Asia.

Sajjad Zaheer dedicated his whole life to the communist movement and
the emancipation of the working-class. The fighting unity of all
Marxist-Leninists, the broad alliance of secular-democratic anti-imperialist
forces, and peace between the peoples of South Asia, this is the
inheritance of the Communist Party of Pakistan built and led by Sajjad
Zaheer. We salute Sajjad Zaheer whose pioneering work for the communist
movement in its formative stage in the most difficult post-partition
conditions continues to inspire the next generation of revolutionaries.


guerrilla radio said...

Greetings Comrade,

Good blog you've got here!

guerrilla radio said...


Thanks for the invitation; but I'm already a member of that list.

Do you belong to any political parties there in Pakistan?

Renegade Eye said...

Free Sajjad Zaheer, and all anti-imperialist fighters.

Umer A. Chaudhry said...

Comrade, I appreciate you concern for Sajjad Zaheer. Sajjd Zaheer has long passed away.