Day 1: Delegates from 58 countries call for an end to imperialism, social injustice & discrimination Print E-mail
 Pakistan -- March 25 2006 -- Saturday -- Safar 24, 1427

KARACHI: WSF event begins with voice against imperialism

By S. Raza Hassan


KARACHI, March 24: The World Social Forum-2006 hosting more than 400 events with the participation by delegates from 58 countries kicked off here on Friday evening at the KMC Sports Complex amid a festive mood and slogans against imperialism, social injustice and discrimination.

‘Stop racial discrimination’; ‘No to WTO’; ‘No to privatization of water and power’; ‘Surkh hai surkh hai - Asia surkh hai’, ‘Mazdoor kay khoon say - Asia surkh hai’; ‘Stop army operation in Balochistan’; ‘End child labour in the textile industry’; were among the slogans raised by the local and foreign delegates while entering the venue of the events.

At a point on the way to the complex, an effigy of a Guantanamo prisoner was put up by Rabia Tahmina Shoaib. A group of Palestinian peace activists sang liberation songs while standing beside the effigy.

Buddhiyagama Chandraratne Thero, a Sri Lankan Buddhist and secretary at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, expressed his pleasure to be here to attend the events.

“Around 300 delegates from Sri Lanka are attending the WSF,” he told Dawn through an interpreter. He will deliver his lecture during a seminar on Peace and Harmony are Basic Requirement for Development on March 26.

Bhola Bhattarai, representing Federation of Forest of Nepal, spoke of the problem of sanitation in the city. Asked if he felt uneasy here, he said: “people of Karachi are very friendly and helpful.”

Mr Bhattarai leads an 11-member delegation of the federation while another 200 delegates representing different organizations of his country are taking part in the WSF.

Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malick said that at the Forum’s event in India two years back, he had raised the voice of the oppressed people of Kashmir, and had also expressed his determination to do the same at the WSF Karachi.

The Palestinian delegation also attracted much attention of the public as it passed by holding the Palestine flags and singing liberation songs.

Among some of the major events to be held during the next two days are panel discussions on the emerging issues relating to Jummu and Kashmir. A programme to be held on Saturday on the subject includes speeches on Kashmiriyat: 5,000 years of Syncretic History by Balraj Puri, a senior journalist and peace activist; Delhi to Srinagar via Washington DC: Kashmir and the Politics of Cold War by Sonia Jabbar, a writer, photographer and peace activist.

A dialogue on Transcending Boundaries ­ Role of Civil Society in a Changing World is also scheduled for Saturday at 10 am.

On Sunday, the address on Why we took up the gun, why we renounced it by the JKLF chief Yasin Malick; and a speech on What do the Indo-Pak Peace talks mean for Kashmir by APHC chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are to be made.

A peace walk will be held on Sunday from Mazar-i-Quaid to the KMC Sport Complex. It would be led by Archbishop of Karachi.

A seminar on Peace and harmony are basic requirement for development and another one on Globalization and Anti-globalization will be held during the WSF event.