Lal Khan

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Lal Khan
Lal Khan addressing 30th Congress of The Struggle
Born 1956
Bhaun, Punjab, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Alma mater Nishtar Medical College
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Occupation Political theorist, activist, writer
Movement International Marxist Tendency

Lal Khan, M.D., is a political activist and Marxist political theorist. He is the leading figure and one of the main theorist in the International Marxist Tendency, alongside Alan Woods. He was a physician by profession, although he no longer practices this profession for the sake of his activities. In response to the coup attempt of 2002 in Venezuela, he helped found the Hands Off Venezuela campaign. He is currently the leader of the Pakistani Marxist organization The Struggle, and editor of its newspaper.[1] He also writes a weekly column for the Daily Times.[2]

Early life[edit]

In the 1970s, Khan was a student of medicine in college and a political activist in Pakistan when the military coup of General Zia ul Haq toppled the Pakistan Peoples Party government, and subsequently hanged the country's first democratically elected prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.[3] In the aftermath of this event, many PPP workers and activists begun a struggle against General Zia's regime. As a consequence, many of them faced arrests, persecution, torture, and exile. Khan was arrested in 1980 on the charges of leading a student wing which was involved in organizing mass rallies against General Zia's government. He was sentenced to one year in prison, fifteen lashes, and a 20,000 rupee fine. He was imprisoned for a year, then went to university in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad.[4]

He was in the university for four months, and then, due to his involvement in anti-government political activities and the struggle for the overthrow of the Zia's dictatorship, he was sentenced to death, to be shot on sight. As a result of this, he was forced to leave Pakistan, moving to live in exile in 1980 in the Netherlands.[5] During his time in exile, he graduated from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and continued to reside in the Netherlands for eight more years. In his years of exile, he became acquainted with the works of Alan Woods, a Trotskyist political theorist in the British Labour Party. In the 1988, he returned to his country and quit his profession as a doctor, and has been working full time in revolutionary politics ever since.

Woods and Khan lead the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), an organization for the promotion of socialist and Marxist ideas. In recent years Lal Khan has received media attention for some of his work.

Work for The Struggle[edit]

The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) is an international Trotskyist organization which is based on the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky.[6]

The late Ted Grant was its chief theoretician and the person who built the organization. Currently, Alan Woods along with Lal Khan are its main leaders and theoreticians. The Pakistani section, The Struggle, is the largest section of the International Marxist Tendency. Lal Khan heads The Struggle in Pakistan and organizes many activities under the banner of the organization.[7] Former Communist Party of Pakistan general secretary Jam Saqi is also a leading member.[8][9]

The Struggle using the tactics of enter-ism in Pakistan Peoples party advocates a socialist transformation of Pakistan. It demands the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy under workers control, an end to religious extremism and radicalism, the eradication of unemployment and free accessible education for all Pakistani citizens.[3] On 12–13 March 2011 the largest congress of The Struggle was held in Lahore . These annual congresses are held to analyse the performance of the International Marxist Tendency and to formulate new strategies for social change and revolution.[10]

Student activist Malala Yousafzai has attended meetings of The Struggle and sent greetings to their 9 March 2013 national congress.[11] In October 2013, Khan accused Yousafzai's supporters in the West of appropriating her and concealing her socialist background.[12]

Books written by Lal Khan[edit]

Khan is the author of several books:

  • Partition – Can it be undone? This book examines the historical background of partition of the Indian subcontinent, and the formation of Pakistan and India.[13]
  • Lebanon-Israel War. Written in 2009, this book discusses not only the current conflict between Lebanon and Israel in detail, but also looks at the history of wars and revolutions in the whole region. The changing role of Iran in the region and the possibility of an invasion of Iran are also discussed in detail.
  • Pakistan's Other Story – The Revolution of 1968–69. This book examines the student and political activism of the late 1960s which gave birth to a revolution. Khan argues that due to lack of leadership courage, the opportunity to establish a worker's state was lost.[14][15]
  • Kashmir, A revolutionary way out. This book examines the possibility of the liberation of Kashmir under a united South Asian socialist federation.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sampath Perera (30 June 2012). "New Pakistani prime minister appointed". World Socialist Web Site. International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Lal Khan". Daily Times. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Interview with Lal Khan from Pakistan". 8 June 1999. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Lal Khan" (in Urdu). Meri Jedojehad. 7 November 2010. AAJ TV.
  5. ^ Sher Khan; Hashim Bin Rashid (21 October 2007). "Blacked out". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "A Brief History of the International Marxist Tendency". In Defence of Marxism. 12 August 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Paramita Ghosh (21 October 2007). "Social revolution only way out". Hindustan Times. 
  8. ^ "Pakistan – Comrade Jam Saqi's House raided: He vows to carry on the struggle against the dictatorship for revolutionary socialism!". In Defence of Marxism. 12 November 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Veteran Pakistan Communist speaks to – Jam Saqi". In Defence of Marxism. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Struggle congress 2009 – Pakistan Marxists on the move!". In Defence of Marxism. 27 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Anonymous. "Historic 32nd congress of Pakistani section of IMT – First Day". In Defense of Marxism. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Lal Khan. "Malala's ordeal". Daily Times. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  13. ^ R. L. Singal (12 August 2007). "View from the left". The Tribune. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  14. ^ Mamoon Chaudhry (18 August 2012). "Review: Pakistan’s Other Story: The Revolution of 1968–1969 by Lal Khan". Dawn. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  15. ^ Mahtab Bashir (30 December 2008). "Dr Lal Khan's book launched". Daily Times (Pakistan). Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  16. ^ ""Kashmir, A revolutionary way out" by Lal Khan". The Struggle (in Urdu). 18 April 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 

Additional sources[edit]

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