General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, comrade Farooq Tariq was arrested from his Lahore office by a heavy contingent of Punjab Police at 1:30 p.m on Friday. The Labour Party of Pakistan was previously a section of Ted Grant's CWI group, and is a serious and important socialist organisation. For example they recently organised celebrations of May Day across Pakistan involving thousands of trade unionists and activists, including 1000 marching with red flags through Karachi, and 600 marching through the town of Sawat, in a province controlled by Islamist religious fantatics.
The pictuire shows a protest by the LPP outside the karachi press club on saturday, demanding Farooq's release.
Farook has been taken to garhi shahu police station, Lahore where he would be detained. It may be mentioned that Farooq Tariq and Labour Party Pakistan has been in the forefront in the on-going movement for restoration of chief justice of Pakistan, Iftekhar Mohammed Chaudhry. Farooq Tariq was among the leading activists organizing a popular reception in Lahore to welcome chief justice Iftikhar choudhry.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudry has challenged the rule of the government and has refused to resign despite general pressure. Now the case of the government against the chief justice is being heard at Supreme Court of Pakistan. Over 90 percent of the total 80,000 advocates have protested against the action of the government. The movement has since then expanded and now it has become a movement to overthrow the military regime. Thousands were expected to rally in his support, including trade unionists. Iit is the involvementn of the LPP in this movement that seems to have led to Farooq's arrest.
Farooq Tariq was a bit aware about his possible arrest as a news item has already been published about a list of persons may be arrested in Daily Jang nespaper. When he contacted the police station about the mention of his name in list of persons who might be arrested, the police officers denied this news item. So Farooq was relaxed and was doing his work as usual at party office. But suddenly a police van reached at 1.30 pm before his office and men in uniform rushed to his office to arrest him.
Labour Party Pakistan thinks the purpose of the arrest is to stop LPP from exercising its democratic right to protest. We condemn his illegal arrest and demands immediate release. LPP tomorrow’s scheduled reception for chief justice Pakistan will be held at district courts according to the program.
STOP PRESS: UPDATE
Comrade Tariq Farooq has been released. He sent the following e-mail to Peter Boyle in Austarlia (see coments)
"I was released late last night. The police chief told me that he has three months detention order and he is sending me to one of the most natorius jail in Mianwali, around 400 kilometer away from Lahore.
"He wanted me to stop agitation against military regime. I plainly refused and told him that Human Rights Commision of Pakistan has taken my case already. I told him tha he should take of his job as he has done an illegle act by taking me in custody. We had a hot word exchange.
"LPP had announced nationwide demos for today. Yours and others letter of protest and messages had started to arrive. The electronic media was broadcasting my arrest. An SMS campaign on the mobile phone meant a non stop messages of protest.
"So he called me at 12 night again to tell that he is suspending my detention order and I can go home.