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KARACHI: Threats to democracy, peace highlighted: WSF events

March 26, 2006

KARACHI, March 25: The Kashmir issue and India-Pakistan relations remained among major points of deliberations in different events and activities with a number of rallies and demonstrations having been held by different social and political groups on Saturday, the second day of the six-day World Social Forum now under way at the KMC Sports Complex.

The session on ‘The role of civil society in the changing world’ was addressed by chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik.

He said: “Muslim countries have been failing to establish and maintain a democratic set up within them. Majority of the Muslims does not believe in democracy and that is why more than often they are subjected to excesses and injustices.”

Unfortunately, in the Muslim countries where there is democracy, the opposition would launch anti-government campaigns soon after suffering defeat in election, according to him.

He said that India and Pakistan were involved in negotiation on Kashmir and Kashmiris too believed in dialogue. However, if the dialogue failed to resolve the issue, it would be considered as political victory of Kashmiris and nobody could say that Kashmiris did not want negotiations. He said that people of India and Pakistan would compel their respective governments and rulers to resolve the Kashmir issue.

A member of the British parliament, Jeff Brown, said that democracy in his country was not on a sound footing. “Aspirations of people are ignored,” he said, adding that democracy provided for resolving problems that people were faced with in their routine life. He suggested that trade unionism could play a basic role in establishing a true democratic set up.

A former federal minister Javed Jabbar said that the issues like Palestine and Kashmir gave grounds to feel that world was after Muslims. He said that ten of the Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Somalia, Chechnya, Iraq and Sudan, had been declared unsafe for foreigners, which was unfair as only two years back Pakistan was among the countries found ‘most suitable’ and was underlined for its hospitality.

He said that despite the fact that elected institutions did exist in South Asian countries, their internal situation was not very much encouraging. There was a need to work for the improvement of democracy and the civil society could play a major role in that direction, he added.

Speaking on ‘Politics of Interest and Wars’ Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party MP and Vice-President of the Anti-War Coalition, UK, said the world needs to fight for social, political and economic rights in the face of the US imperialism threat of achieving an unjust political agenda to meet its energy needs, agencies add.

He observed that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the sole super power and built its military bases for its hegemony. He said 9/11 incident, which was a wrong by all means, provided US an opportunity to form a coalition to threaten other states. He said a plan in this regard surfaced by invading Afghanistan and extending it to Iraq through lies of WMDs.

On Iran’s nuclear programme, Mr Corbyn said there had never been any substantial and physical evidence. However, Iran, unlike other developing states, set its face against US imperialism.

Renowned activist, writer and novelist Tariq Ali said the imperialist US could be defeated through peaceful political struggle emerging in Latin America. Venezuela and Cuba are helping Bolivia in its rebuild where first in history a lower-class leadership emerged.

He said holding of WSF was earlier cancelled due to the devastation of October-8 earthquake in Azad Kashmir and NWFP areas of Pakistan.

Among others, HRCP Chairperson Asma Jahangir and representatives of the different social organisations from South Africa and Ecuador attended the event.

Jamal Juma of the Stop The War Campaign, Palestine, said Zionists were backed by British colonialist after World War-I, with weapons, tanks, and army uniforms to destabilize Middle East.