People’s SAARC Pakistan, organised strategy meeting in Lahore, Punjab on 14 October at Progressive Labour Federation office. Over 40 activists from peasants’ organisations, women’s organisations, trade unions, social and political activists attended the meeting. The meeting was chaired by Nazli Javed, a long standing women rights activist.
Farooq Tariq, member of the regional steering committee of People’s SAARC, introduced the meeting and explained that the purpose of this meeting was to start the process of reorganisation of People’s SAARC in Pakistan. He said that 19th SAARC summit will take place in Pakistan in 2016, therefore; we must prepare ourselves to organise a parallel event as have been the case during the past SAARC summits. He said that the Sindh Balochistan People’s SAARC meetings have taken place. This meeting has started a process of reorganisation in Punjab and KPK. Unfortunately, no representative from Khaiber Pukhtoonkhawa was able to participate in this meeting; therefore, People’s SAARC Pakistan will organise another meeting in the province during next month after good home work. Farooq said that the three main purpose of this meeting are reorganisation, suggestions for the venue of the next People’s SAARC to be held in Pakistan and initial views on the themes for the event.
The main points of the discussion were:
- Another meeting of KPK province should be called in Islamabad or Peshawer to further the process
- All those involved in the process who have either attended the PSAARC events or local or regional meetings should be contacted to ask them to be active
- The next People’s SAARC main event should be held in Lahore instead of Islamabad where the summit would take place. The main reason for this shift is the security concern that would be shown by the security agencies and if it is held in Islamabad, we may not get the permission.
- The themes of this event should be continuation of the previous events. Let time the theme of "connectivity" should be incorporated with the themes for this event as well.
- Main theme could be peace and conflict resolution among the states along with more people to people contact
It was agreed to take final decision on the issues in the next meeting.
The meeting was addressed by Farooq Tariq, Jawad Ahmad (Youth and Workers Intentional Movement), Dr Khalid Javed Jan (poet), Baba Najmi (poet), Yousaf Baloch (All Pakistan Workers Confederation), Khalid Mehmood (Labour Education Foundation), Shahnaz Iqbal (Labour Education Foundation), Riaz Fatyana (parliamentary commission for human rights), Tariq Awan (PILER), Abbas Siddiqui (South Asia Partnership) and others.
It was agreed to hold the next meeting within two months.