Pakistan Socialist Party

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Pakistan Socialist Party
LeaderMohammed Yusuf Khan, Mobarak Sagher
Founded29 January 1948 (1948-01-29)
Dissolved1958 (1958)
Headquarters2, Terrace de Temple, Ramchander Temple Road, Karachi
Newspaper Socialist Weekly
Youth wing Pakistan Socialist Party Youth
Membership (1956)1,250–3,000
Ideology Secularism
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation Asian Socialist Conference

The Pakistan Socialist Party was a political party in Pakistan. It was formed out of the branches of the Indian Socialist Party in the areas ceded to the new state of Pakistan. [1] The PSP failed to make any political breakthrough in Pakistani politics. Being a secular socialist party, which had strongly opposed the creation of the state Pakistan, the PSP found itself politically isolated and with little mass appeal. The party was labelled as traitors and kafirs by its opponents. The PSP found it difficult to compete with the Islamic socialism that Liaquat Ali Khan professed to in 1949. [2]

Socialist Party has been the name of several political parties in India, all of which have their roots in the Congress Socialist Party during the freedom struggle.

Kafir term of "disbeliever" in Islam

Kafir is an Arabic term meaning "infidel", "rejector", "disbeliever", "unbeliever", "nonbeliever". The term refers to a person who rejects or disbelieves in God or the tenets of Islam, denying the dominion and authority of God, and is thus often translated as "infidel". The term is used in different ways in the Quran, with the most fundamental sense being "ingratitude". Historically, while Islamic scholars agreed that a polytheist is a kafir, they sometimes disagreed on the propriety of applying the term to Muslims who committed a grave sin and to the People of the Book. In modern times, kafir is sometimes used as a derogatory term, particularly by members of Islamist movements. Unbelief is called kufr. Kafir is sometimes used interchangeably with mushrik, another type of religious wrongdoer mentioned frequently in the Quran and other Islamic works. The act of declaring another self-professed Muslim a kafir is known as takfir, a practice that has been condemned but also employed in theological and political polemics over the centuries. The person who denies the existence of a creator is called dahriya.

Islamic socialism is a term coined by various Muslim leaders to describe a more spiritual form of socialism. Muslim socialists believe that the teachings of the Quran and Muhammad—especially the zakat—are compatible with principles of economic and social equality. They draw inspiration from the early Medinan welfare state established by Muhammad. Muslim socialists found their roots in anti-imperialism. Muslim socialist leaders believe in the derivation of legitimacy from the public.


As of 1956, the party claimed that have 3,000 members. A more realistic account, however, would lie somewhere around 1,250. [3] PSP was a member of the Asian Socialist Conference. [4] The PSP youth wing was called 'Pakistan Socialist Party Youth', which was recognised by the International Union of Socialist Youth as a 'co-operating organisation'. [5]

Asian Socialist Conference organization

The Asian Socialist Conference was an organisation of socialist political parties in Asia, that existed between 1953 and 1960. It had its headquarters in Rangoon, Burma, and the Burmese socialist leader Ba Swe served as the Chairman of the organisation. Two Asian Socialist Conferences were held, in Rangoon in 1953 and Bombay in 1956. As of 1956, the member parties of ASC had a combined membership of about 500,000.

International Union of Socialist Youth

The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) is an international organization, founded in 1907, whose activities include publications, support of member organizations and the organization of meetings. It was formed as the youth wing of the Second International under the name Socialist Youth International. IUSY now has 145 member organisations - including 122 full members and 23 observer members - from 106 countries. IUSY gained status as an international youth NGO with UN ECOSOC consultative status in 1993.


Initially the Indian Socialist Party, which was fiercely opposed to the Partition of India, wanted to retain its organisation in the areas that were to become parts of Pakistan. A Socialist Party convention in Ludhiana held in July 1947 decided that an autonomous party organisation would be formed in Pakistan. Prem Bhasin, a Rawalpindi Hindu member of the party National Executive, was designated to organise the party structure in Pakistan. Mobarak Sagher, another National Executive member who was imprisoned at the time, was designated to organise the party in the North-West. [6]

Partition of India partition of British India into the independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947

The Partition of India was the division of British India in 1947 which eventually accompanied the creation of two independent dominions, India and Pakistan. The Dominion of India became, as of 1950, the Republic of India (India), and the Dominion of Pakistan became, as of 1956, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan) In 1971, the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Bangladesh) came into being after Bangladesh Liberation War. The partition involved the division of three provinces, Assam, Bengal and Punjab, based on district-wide Hindu or Muslim majorities. The boundary demarcating India and Pakistan came to be known as the Radcliffe Line. It also involved the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury, between the two new dominions. The partition was set forth in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj, as the British government there was called. The two self-governing countries of Pakistan and India legally came into existence at midnight on 14–15 August 1947.

Ludhiana Metropolis in Punjab, India

Ludhiana is a city and a municipal corporation in Ludhiana district in the Indian state of Punjab, and India's largest city north of Delhi, with an area of 310sq. km and an estimated population of 1,618,879 as of the 2011 census. The population increases substantially during the harvesting season due to the migration of labourers from highly populated states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. The city stands on the Sutlej River's old bank, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) south of its present course. It is an industrial center of northern India; the BBC has called it India's Manchester. Ludhiana was among the list of smart cities that will be developed by government of India. According to World Bank Group Ludhiana is the best city in India to do business.

Rawalpindi Metropolis in Punjab, Pakistan

Rawalpindi, commonly known as Pindi, is a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Rawalpindi is adjacent to Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, and the two are jointly known as the "twin cities" on account of strong social and economic links between the cities. Rawalpindi is the fourth-largest city in Pakistan by population, while the larger Islamabad Rawalpindi metropolitan area is the country's third-largest metropolitan area.

Once Partition, and the communal violence it brought along, was a fact the idea of a united Indo-Pakistani party was abandoned. The majority of party members in West Pakistan, including Prem Bhasin, fled to India. The Socialist Party had few Muslim members before Partition, and when many Hindu cadres left Pakistan it effectively drained the party of much of its organizational capacity. [7]

West Pakistan western wing of Pakistan between 1947-1970

West Pakistan was one of the two exclaves created at the formation of the modern State of Pakistan following the 1947 Partition of India.

Sagher was released from jail in September 1947, and was sent to Lahore. In November 1947 he convened a conference in Rawalpindi, which attracted around fifty participants. The conference decided to break the links to the Indian Socialist Party and that socialists in Pakistan would work to form an independent party of their own. The conference resolved that the goal of the party was to transform Pakistan into a democratic and socialist republic. On the question of Kashmir, the conference called for a referendum to decide the future of the area. Furthermore, the Rawalpindi meeting stated that the Pakistani socialists would advocate Kashmiri integration with Pakistan ahead of such a plebiscite. The declaration on Kashmir illustrated the definitive break with the Indian Socialist Party, and the issue would remain a bone of contention between the Indian and Pakistani socialists. [7]

Lahore Metropolis in Punjab, Pakistan

Lahore is a city in the Pakistani province of Punjab. Lahore is the country's second-most populous city after Karachi, and is one of Pakistan's wealthiest cities with an estimated GDP of $58.14 billion (PPP) as of 2015. Lahore is the largest city, and historic cultural centre of the Punjab region, and one of Pakistan's most socially liberal, progressive, and cosmopolitan cities.

Kashmir former princely state, now a conflict territory between India and Pakistan

Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.

The Rawalpindi meeting appointed a board which would oversee the preparations for the foundation of the new political party. Mohamed Yusuf Khan was the convener of the board. Other board members were Mobarak Sagher, Munshi Ahmad Din, Siddique Lodhi and Amir Qalam Khan. In December 1947 the board held a meeting in Lahore, at which it was decided to convene a founding conference of the party on 29–31 January 1948, in Karachi. Moreover, the board decided to publish Socialist Weekly (a continuation of Sindhi Socialist Weekly) as the party organ. [7] The Urdu-language Socialist Weekly was published from Karachi. It had a circulation of around 2,500. [8]

Karachi Metropolis in Sindh, Pakistan

Karachi is the capital of the Pakistani province of Sindh. It is the most populous city in Pakistan, and sixth-most-populous city proper in the world. Ranked as a beta world city, the city is Pakistan's premier industrial and financial centre and is considered as the cultural, economic, philanthropic, educational, and political hub of the country. Karachi is also Pakistan's most cosmopolitan city. Situated on the Arabian Sea, Karachi serves as a transport hub, and is home to Pakistan's two largest seaports, the Port of Karachi and Port Bin Qasim, as well as the Pakistan's busiest airport, Jinnah International Airport.

Socialist Weekly was an Urdu language newspaper published from Karachi, Pakistan. Socialist Weekly was launched in late 1947 as a continuation of the Sindhi Socialist Weekly. Socialist Weekly carried the symbol of the Indian Socialist Party in its masthead. It became the official organ of the Pakistan Socialist Party when the party was constituted in January 1948. The original editorial board consisted of Mobarak Sagher, Munshi Ahmad Din, Siddique Lodhi, Ram Mohan Sinha, Kali Charan and Mohammed Yusuf Khan. Socialist Weekly had a circulation of around 2,500.

Urdu National language and lingua franca of Pakistan; one of the official languages of India; standardized register of Hindustani

Urdu —or, more precisely, Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, it is one of the 22 official languages recognized in the Constitution of India, having official status in the six states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi. It is a registered regional language of Nepal.


On 29 January 1948, the founding party conference was opened in Karachi. Around 150 persons attended the conference as delegates, although it wasn't clear who the delegates represented. At one point the conference was interrupted, as police entered the premises. The conference could be continued after negotiations with the police. The Karachi conference, constituted the Pakistan Socialist Party and elected a National Executive Committee. The Executive consisted of Munshi Ahmad Din (general secretary), Mohammed Yusuf Khan (secretary), Mobarak Sagher (treasurer), Siddique Lodhi and Ram Mohan Sinha. [7]

The Executive didn't last long, though. Two months later, at Munshin Ahmad Din was elected to the Executive of the Indian Socialist Party at its national conference in Nasik. After the Nasik conference, he didn't return to Pakistan. Soon afterwards, Sinha left Pakistan for India. In a short span, the Executive suffered yet another defection, as Lodhi resigned due to ill health. This left only two members of the original Executive, Khan and Sagher. Khan became general secretary and Sagher took the combined offices of secretary, treasurer and editor of the party organ. Two additional persons, Syed Mohammad Yusuf Rizvi and Khwaja Zahoor Din, were inducted in the Executive. But the leadership of the party was virtually limited to Khan and Sagher. [9] [10]

West Pakistan

In West Pakistan, the party did not contest Assembly elections. It did have some impact in mass organisations, though. The Punjab Pind Committee was a front of the party. The party also managed to gain some influence in the Sindh Hari Committee, and a party member was elected secretary of the organisation. Finally, the PSP was able to capture the Pakistan Trade Union Federation from the communists in 1951. Mobarak Sagher became President of PTUF and Khan Vice-President. Once in control of PTUF, the socialists renamed the organisation as Pakistan Mazdoor Federation and disaffiliated the organisation from the World Federation of Trade Unions. The communists moved to reconstitute the PTUF again. [11]

East Pakistan

In East Pakistan, the party membership was predominately Hindu. In March 1950, during the language riots, the party office in Dacca was attacked by a mob. The office secretary was killed. In its aftermath, around 300 party members left East Pakistan for India. Amongst those who remained in East Pakistan, several were jailed by Pakistani authorities. [11]

Just ahead of the 1954 elections to the East Bengal Assembly, the jailed party members from East Pakistan were released. The party contested the elections as part of the United Front. Four party members were elected to the Assembly. Three of them were elected from seats reserved for religious minorities, contesting as part of the Minorities United Front. The three Hindu legislators elected were Maharaj Trailokyanath Chakravarty, Pulin De and Deben Ghosh. One Muslim party member, Moulana Altaf Hussain, was elected on an Awami League ticket. [11]

Whilst the electoral fortunes of the party in East Pakistan was highly dependent on the reservations for minority communities, the party politically opposed communal reservation of assembly seats. [11]


The party was able to hold a second national conference in April 1954. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who had just been released from jail, assisted the conference. The conference decided, along the line of the shifts in the Indian party, to open party membership for anyone who paid the membership fee. This reform was intended to increase the party membership, but in West Pakistan the few newcomers were generally communist infiltrators who were soon expelled. In East Pakistan, the open membership policy was never really implemented. [11]

The running of an all-Pakistan party provided enormous logistical challenges. The Executive Committee could only rarely meet. Effectively a political gap between West and East Pakistani wings of the party grew. In East Pakistan, the party supported the Awami League-led coalition government formed in East Pakistan in 1954. But the West Pakistani socialists opposed an Awami League-led coalition government at the centre. [11]

Other divisions also emerged in the party. In East Pakistan the party was divided along the Hindu-Muslim divide. In West Pakistan, Sagher and Khan clashed with each other. In the end, Mohammed Yusuf Khan was expelled from the party in February 1957. [3] In 1958, all political parties were banned in Pakistan. [12]

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  1. Doherty 2006 , p. 304
  2. Rose 1959 , pp. 59–60, 64
  3. 1 2 Rose 1959 , p. 67
  4. Doherty 2006 [ page needed ]
  5. Braunthal, Julius (ed). Yearbook of the International Socialist Labour Movement. Vol. II. London: Lincolns-Prager International Yearbook Pub. Co, 1960. p. 45
  6. Rose 1959 , p. 60
  7. 1 2 3 4 Rose 1959 , pp. 61–62
  8. Braunthal, Julius (ed). Yearbook of the International Socialist Labour Movement. Vol. I. London: Lincolns-Prager International Yearbook Pub. Co, 1957. pp. 415, 417
  9. name="p2">Braunthal, Julius (ed). Yearbook of the International Socialist Labour Movement. Vol. I. London: Lincolns-Prager International Yearbook Pub. Co, 1957. p. 414
  10. Rose 1959 , pp. 62–63
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Rose 1959 , pp. 65–66
  12. Doherty 2006 , p. 305