A round-table discussion programme entitled “SAARC: the Journey so far and the Way Ahead” was organized by Pakistani civil society members on 05 November 2011 in Karachi as a People’s SAARC country event. Human rights and peace activists, trade union leaders, student leaders, women and other representatives of civil societies participated in the discussion.
The participants of the discussion expressed deep concern over the hegemony inherent in the India-Pakistan-centric discourse which is dominating all interactions at the SAARC level. The discussants demanded government of Pakistan to end the confusion regarding giving most favoured nation status to India and complete all the requirements in this regard. Similarly participants also raised the need for common language in south Asia region. The free movement of media personnel also discussed during meeting. The round table meeting stressed the need for increasing people-to-people contact and promoting trade within the region so that more friendly ties between the countries and the people could be established. Participants of the discussion strongly demanded the government for investing in social sector instead of excessive use of national income in war and military expenditure.
A memorandum from the civil society organizations of Pakistan also presented at the program. The program was held at Arts Council of Pakistan. The programme was jointly organized by Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC), Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), the Pakistan Studies Centre, University of Karachi, and the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi.