13-day long march for nature conservation begins from Jamshoro to Islamabad on March 02

Karachi: Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) on Wednesday announced to begin 13-day long march (March 2—14, 2013) from Al-Manzar picnic resort, Jamshoro to Islamabad for celebrating International Day of Action for Rivers to highlight the issues, specially emphasizing the need to stop building dams and barrages and ensure nature conservation.

The decision to start long march was taken at a meeting chaired by PFF chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah, in which representatives from the entire districts from Sindh and one from Gwadar, Balochistan participated and shared suggestions.

PFF General Secretary Saeed Baloch, Tahira Ali, Fatima Majeed, Zulaikha, Kausar Sadiq, Majeed Motani, Ayoub Shan from Karachi, Hussain Mallah, Ayoub Mallah and Rasool Bakhsh from Sanghar, Ramzan Mallah from Umerkot, Mithan Mallah and Omar Mallah from Badin, Gulab Shah from Thatta, Juman Mallah, Mustafa Mallah and Mohammed Mallah from Jamshoro, Ishaq Meerani from Kashmor, Qasim Mallah of Shikarpur, Ghulam Qadir of Sukkur, Babu Hussain from Gwadar and others participated in the meeting.

PFF had announced in April last year to organize year-long activities against the building of dams, stopping more cuts and diversions to the River Indus, demanding government to ensure releasing canal water to the natural lakes, as more than three million people depend on these resources for their livelihoods.

The meeting formed different committees to identify the destinations for 13-day caravan, making all arrangements for organizing cultural events, inviting singers, poets, writers, civil society members, professionals and the community people.

Keeping in mind the changing political scenario in the country, it was decided to make sure holding the community’s assembly in the capital city of Islamabad to raise the voice to stop building dam projects, rehabilitation of the rivers, forests and conserve the water bodies.

The participants pointed out that several scenic lakes now either have been degraded or facing acute shortage of fresh water. These waters need to be saved making them inspiring for wildlife, specially flocks of birds.

The meeting assigned a task to district bodies of the organization to ensure participation of communities and involve civil society, media to show their strength.

According to program, on March 1 large number of communities, fishermen, farmers, herders, artisans, singers and civil society will participate in the inaugural ceremony to be held at the famous picnic resort Al-Manzar, Jamshoro, adjacent to the river bank, where Sufi singers will perform.

It will be peaceful event to highlight the issues facing tail-end communities and ecology, in which organization activists will participate. There will be no political motives, the meeting clarified. Memorandum will be designed, in which all demands of communities, nature conservation and restoration of the rivers, forests will be incorporated and shared with all the government authorities, political parties and concerned institutions.

It will be the first long march for conservation of nature and rehabilitation of the rivers and lakes. A similar Long March was held by PFF with deltaic communities from Kharo Chan on March 1, 2010 and culminated at Al-Manzar, Jamshoro district on March 14, which inspired nature conservationists and researchers.