KARACHI, March 24: The world is changing but a better, peaceful, prosperous and equitable world order is only possible if deprived, disadvantaged and progressive sections of society forge unity and strive for a viable alternative to the current world order that is both repressive and divisive.

These views were expressed by the speakers amongst cheers by some 10,000-strong charged crowd at the inauguration of the World Social Forum 2006, Karachi, last of the series of the three forums planned for 2006. Earlier two were held in Bamako (Mali) and Caracas (Venezuela).

Participants from 58 countries are here for six days for the international event that focuses on the theme: Another world is possible. The multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural composition of the participants was peculiar and interesting. Besides foreigners and guests from Saarc region, there was a good representation of Pakistani civil society.

The WSF representative from Brazil, Moeema Miranda, said: “WSF offers opportunities to bring together popular forces from varied constituencies to develop constructive alternatives that will defend the majority of world population from attack on fundamental human rights and lead them to move on to break power concentrations and extend domains of justice and freedom.

In her speech, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairperson Asma Jehangir challenged the concept of free market, saying it advocated free movement of goods and capital but did not allow labour to cross borders in search of employment and prosperity.

The panel of speakers included renowned progressive writer Tariq Ali, Gustav Masia, Vice-President, ATTAC, a resistance group from France, Jose Miguel Henadaz from Cuba, Basil Manning from South Africa and Jamal Juma of Stop the War Coalition, Palestine.

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