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Pakistan, protest and rebellion

Farooq Sulehria


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Pakistan was declared independent on August 14, 1947. Its first government was sworn in on August 15. A constituent assembly, elected on the basis of general elections in British India in 1946, became the parliament of the new country. At that time, Pakistan consisted of two wings: East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan). Political power was concentrated in West Pakistan, while East Pakistan had 60 percent of the total population. The new state was predominantly agrarian, with agriculture accounting for 60 percent of total output and 70 percent of total employment (industry accounted for 6 percent of total output and 10 percent of total employment). Pakistan inherited from British India only 1,414 of 14,677 registered factories (only 9.6 percent of the total). West Pakistan inherited only 2.6 percent of undivided Indian industry and 6.5 percent of the workforce. In 2002 the population of Pakistan was estimated at 145.96 million, with a labor force of 41.84 million. Out of that, 18.54 million (48.42 percent) are employed in the agricultural sector, where workers have no legal means to form unions and are largely unorganized. In 1951 there were 209 registered trade unions with 393,137 members. In 2001 the number of trade unions had gone up to 7,204 with over 1 million members. Despite this phenomenal rise in membership, organized workers comprise only ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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