Pakistan today stands at a critical juncture in its short history of existence. While much has been written about Pakistan, little is known about post-Partition communism or left-leaning politics in the country, which played a key role in shaping Pakistani politics today. Kamran Asdar Ali here presents the first extensive look at the communist and working class movement in Pakistan. The author critically engages with the history of Pakistan’s early years, paying special attention to the rise and fall of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), from Partition in 1947 to the aftermath of Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.
Since its formation in 1947 as a homeland for South Asian Muslims, Pakistan has been a configuration of shifting alliances and competing political and social ideologies. The country has experienced three military takeovers and is plagued with geopolitical conflict—from Kashmir to Baluchistan to Waziristan. While these aspects of Pakistan make headlines, in order to understand the complexities of these events, it is vital to understand the state’s relationship throughout history with its divergent political and ethnic voices. While the history of Pakistan is often viewed through the lense of unified Muslim nationalism, the author explores the history of Pakistan’s often tense relationship among various ethnic groups. Shedding light on a vital and little-researched aspect of Pakistan’s history, this book shows that military coups, Islamic radicalization, and terrorist activities do not constitute the sum total of Pakistan’s history, that its history includes the activities and contributions of communist intellectuals and activists.