Peace activists call for end to arms race in South Asia

February 21, 2020

Underlining the need to stop the arms race in South Asia to end poverty and exclusion in the region, several peace activists of Nepal and Pakistan said on Thursday that for a lasting peace in the...

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Underlining the need to stop the arms race in South Asia to end poverty and exclusion in the region, several peace activists of Nepal and Pakistan said on Thursday that for a lasting peace in the region, all Saarc members should sign a no-war pact, similar to the one signed by the Asean members.

They were speaking at a seminar on the struggle for international peace and justice, jointly organised by several groups, including the Pakistan Peace Coalition, the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy and the Pakistan Medical Association, at PMA House in Karachi on Thursday.

A six-member peace delegation from the Himalayan country, Nepal, is on a visit to Pakistan in connection with a global peace march called “Jai Jagat 2020”, which had started in September 2019 from New Delhi and would culminate at Geneva in September this year.

Speaking on the occasion, the head of the delegation, Jagat Bahadur Basnet, said that one of the reasons of the Jai Jagat March was to resolve conflict in South Asian countries. This march started in Delhi on foot and has already completed 100 days in India.

The Jai Jagat Peace March is an international campaign for solutions of depending economic, social and environmental crises. Marginalised people are neglected in all countries of the region.

The peace campaign is an urgent appeal for people to transform and achieve one planet one people. The themes of the global march are: Eradicating poverty, eliminating of social exclusion, ameliorating the climate crisis, halting conflict and violence.

Karmat Ali, executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), said that over 70 per cent of the poor were living in South Asia, but their governments were spending most of their budgets on purchasing arms.

Last year, South Asian countries had bought arms worth $90 billion. Peace and justice cannot be achieved until the arms race is not stopped in South Asia, he added. Ali appreciated the spirit of the Nepalese participants of the Jai Jagat March who came to Pakistan to spread the message of the peace.

Habibuddin Junaidi of the People’s Labour Bureau said poor people were working for just distribution of resources, and the gap between the haves and the have-nots was increasing due to neo-liberal economic policies.

Mahnaz Rahman of the Joint Action Committee said the new generation did not know much about Gandhi, who believed in justice, and people in Europe were inspired of his nonviolence struggle. She said that all peace activists should work for climate change, as not only poor people but rich people too would be affected by it.



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