Day 4: International donor agencies accused of exploiting the downtrodden in under-developed regions Print E-mail
 Pakistan March 28 2006 -- Tuesday -- Safar 27, 1427

KARACHI: Donor bodies termed bane of developing nations: Fourth day of WSF

By S. Raza Hassan

KARACHI, March 27: Speakers at a plenary session on “People’s Resistance Movements”, held on the fourth day of the World Social Forum 2006, accused the international donor agencies of exploiting the downtrodden people of the under-developed countries.

They also criticized the government functionaries of such countries for misappropriating the grants and funds meant for development projects.

Speaking on the occasion, Subhashini Ali, representing the All-India Democratic Women Movement, said that dowry was still the most sensitive issue in Pakistan and India. For their daughter’s marriage, parents would appear ready to go to any extent in fulfilling the demands made by the groom’s family.

She said that women still appeared to be the most oppressed section of the society in the two countries. However, she pointed out, war against globalization could not be fought without the emancipation of the womenfolk.

Preety Sampath, representing the Mazdoor Kisan Samgathan, said that the civil society should, first of all, find out that what the government was offering while negotiating loans with the international donors. In this context, she made mention of people’s interests often being put at stake. She pointed out that off and on, scandals did come to light exposing the kickbacks and misappropriation by government functionaries.

However, she said, after the recent legislation giving people access to the information viz-a-viz government departments, things had improved and any one could now obtain information about any project undertaken by the government, unless security concerns were involved.

Sikandar Brohi, representing movement against the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, said that the international donor agencies were directly affecting the life of the people of Sindh through their funding in dams construction.

He warned that the people of Sindh would not allow the IMF and WB to impose any mega project affecting their life.

Qadir Ghangro of the Fisher Folk Forum said that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had introduced the licence system in the fishing sector. Later, Sardar Mumtaz Bhutto introduced the contract system which was in force till date and had become a tool to exploit the poor fishermen.

Representing the Seraiki Nationalist Movement, Abdul Majeed Thaneo said that Seraiki people were the downtrodden section of society in Pakistan despite the fact that they constituted 40 per cent of its population.

He said that without forging alliance with the Saraiki people, no nationalist movement could ensure its success.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Waqar Awan, Sandip Panday and Ghinva Bhutto.

Ms Ghinva Bhutto, chairperson of the PPP-SB, speaking at a seminar on ‘Peoples Resistance Movements’ called for a vigorous struggle against imperialist policies, adds PPI.

She said that the minority upper class continued to rule over the majority lower class which was denial of democracy. She felt that people’s representative should go for any mega project in Pakistan without monetary assistance having been sought from the IMF and World Bank.

She stressed on prioritizing the aspirations and interests of people instead of forcing them out of their villages and katchi abadis.

She deplored that the ruling class was depriving people of their rights.

Ms Bhutto urged people to fight for their rights and democratic dispensation. She observed that people of Iraq and Afghanistan were fighting against imperialist forces.

She said that Iran and Syria, which were being ruled by their people, were being threatened with dire consequences by the United States, which was contemplating invasion of the two countries.

Leader of the Pakistan Seraeki Party Taj Mohammad Langah said that after collapse of the USSR, several oppressed nations in the union had got an opportunity to achieve independence and get their rights restored.

He said that the ruling class in Pakistan should realise that the situation in this country was also aggravating due to denial of rights to different nations. He urged the Baloch, Sindhi, Seraeki and Pakhtoon people to forge unity for a struggle against the exploitative forces.