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KARACHI: Hundreds march against imperialism

March 29, 2006

KARACHI, March 28: Hundreds of activists from the working class on Tuesday marched on Karachi’s streets chanting slogans against forces of exploitation, imperialism, the WTO and the oppressive system the world over. The rally was part of the World Social Forum’s plenary from the platform of the World Labour Forum. The rally started from the Quaid’s Mausoleum and terminated at the KMC Sports Complex.

Political organisations, NGOs, community-based organisations, student bodies, foreign delegates, representatives of international fisherfolk organisations, rights activists, social workers, intellectuals and writers participated in the rally, a scheduled feature of the WSF.

About 60 per cent of the participants were women and children.

The participants were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans against imperialism, the World Bank, the IMF, occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and military operation in Balochistan, etc.

‘Stop Nuclear Arms Race in South Asia’, ‘Our Land is of Saints and Sants’ were one of the slogans.

The participants also demanded for an end to military operation and human rights violation in Balochistan, halt to the construction of controversial water projects, rights of fishermen, women and children. They also condemned the razing of centuries-old villages of Karachi.

The participants said the WSF offered opportunities to bring together popular forces from varied constituencies to develop constructive alternatives that would defend the majority of the 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.

A large number of fishermen participated in the rally. They said exploited forms of fishing, marine pollution and commercialisation in the fisheries sector had caused devastation in fishing resources.

The Chairman of the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum (PFF), Mohammad Ali Shah, said fishermen were against the contract system in the fisheries sector and were struggling against it.

Sindhi and Baloch nationalist organisations including the Awami Tehreek, Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Balochistan National Party, Jamhoori Watan Party, Baloch Students Organisation, Sindh National Party, etc, also attended the rally.

The participants were holding their party flags, banners and placards. They raised slogans against the construction of Thal Canal, Kalabagh Dam, military operation in Balochistan and other anti-Sindh and Balochistan issues.

Family members of many missing political workers also participated in the rally. According to them, a large number of political workers had been picked up by the law enforcement agencies in Balochistan and Sindh and their whereabouts were yet unknown.

An NGO, Aurat Foundation, also took out a rally on Tuesday to inform the forum’s delegates about the problems confronting their community in Pakistan.