PILER chief receives South Asia Peace & Justice Award

KARACHI: Karamat Ali, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research PILER has received South Asia Dadi Nirmala Deshpande Peace and Justice Award in Patiala, India on the occasion of a regional seminar on ‘Exist of NATO Forces from Afghanistan and its Impact on India and Pakistan’.

The event was held on the occasion of 84th birth anniversary of Didi Nirmala to pay tribute to her for her role to promote peace in the South Asia region, end extremism and hatred sentiments among the people on October 17 at Patialia.

The inspiring ceremony, organized by Folklore Research Academy Amritsar and Akhil Bharatiya Rachnatemak Samaj, attracted scholars from leading universities, journalists, writers and peace activists from Pakistan, India and Afghanistan to share their thoughtprovoking opinions regarding the issue, as it has been declared that the NATO forces may start leaving Afghanistan gradually from October 2014.

This prestigious South Asia peace and justice award is given to peace promoting individuals of the region on October 17 every year on the occasion of birth anniversary of Didi Nirmala. Ahmed Fashim Hakim, a peace activist from Afghanistan, Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy from Jawahar Lal University, Senior jounalist and teacher Qamar Aga from new Delhi, Dr Sarfaraz Ahmed of Area Studies Center Peshawar, Dr Riaz Shaikh of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Social Sciences and Technology SZABIST Karachi, Karamat Ali of PILER, Mohammed Tahseen of South Asia Partnership SAP Pakistan and others discussed the issues of the entire region linking it to Afghanistan, which is passing through transitional period to sustain peace and development.

The speakers also talked about the role of NATO forces and the US allies in the world and threats to the peace and prosperity in the South Asia region due to their actions. “In fact it is the issue of wartorn Afghanistan, only the people of that country Afghanistan could decide about their future. Pakistan and India should pay heed to their own issues and find permanent resolution of their mutual issues, keeping in mind the peoples’ sentiments,” said Dr Riaz
Shaikh of SZABIST.

Pakistan and Indian governments have to come out of this conflict as these neighbouring countries do not have any role to help the people of Afghanistan because of their old political rivalry. “Pakistan and India should address the issues like transboundary Sir Creek, strengthening peopletopeople contacts and promoting trade and sociocultural relationship and let the people of both the countries to come close to each other and remove yearslong grievances,” he said.

The other scholars asked both Pakistan and India to start slashing at least 10 percent annual military budget. There should be ‘nowar pact’ within the South Asian nations, as people do not like a nuclear race. They want peace, hence Pakistan and India should announce abolition of war initiatives and take step for demilitarization in the interest of their own people’s prosperity.

Karamat Ali while after receiving the award said: “Since Didi Niramal Deshpande was my elder sister, I am proud of this achievement that the South Asian peace promoter friends chose my name for the first award.” He further said: “The South Asian countries should adopt austerity measures like signing of no war pact, nuclear weaponfree South Asian zone, deduction of expenditure on purchasing of weapons, to give fundamental rights to people who have migrated from one SAARC nation to another and relaxing visa norms for South Asian people in order to ensure peace and stability in the region. The second award distribution ceremony will be held next year in Pakistan.

In the starting Farhat Fatima of PILER read out the paper written by Mr. B.M. Kutty to pay tribute to Didi Nirmala Deshpandey with her role in promoting peace in the South Asia region. The organizers paying tribute to the Didi, said they want to continue her mission to promote peace in the entire region. They are going to strengthen networks within the people of the states in the South Asia, believing the region needs peace.

At the end, in the evening a cultural show was organized to exhibit the role of artistes in promoting peace and strengthening the relationship on cultural and literature side.

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