Pakistanis4Peace campaign started today. 5 individuals gathered
at Clifton and walked towards Aghas Super Market with placards bearing
a single message: PEACE. We attracted attention almost immediately.
Looks of curiosity, whispers, questions · We stood at the Schon
Circle bus-stop for a while, answered a few questions and then crossed
the street to Mottas General Store. As people went about their work,
not really showing much interest, an old man, selling all sorts
of trinkets, came up to us and asked us why we were walking around
demanding peace. Although he was unconvinced by our answers, a crowd
gathered around us, ranging from flower sellers to shoppers. An
angry young man, convinced that "Jihad" is the only solution, sparked
off an enthusiastic discussion. As people started expressing their
points of view, the "Jihadi" realized he stood alone and unsupported
in his desire for violence and war. He soon left and we continued
to draw the support of onlookers. Another young person, emerging
from a bookstore gave us his phone number and e-mail address and
said he wanted to join us. People were eager to know whether we
would come back and and wanted to know when and where the next big
peace rally would be held. A large number of street children were
vociferous in their support for our campaign and wanted to hold
our placards. It is important to educate these children and make
them aware of the issues we are all facing. Finally, a group of
approximately 25 people walked with us to show their support. We
are full of hope and excited about tomorrow ·
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core group of 5 was joined by 6 new individuals today. We gathered
outside Mottas General Store and were soon joined by a large group
of children. The "Jihadi", probably a shop-keeper, was present again
· We asked him if he had changed his mind about war but his faith
is strong. Well, the world doesn't change in a day · Today we walked
towards Boat Basin, informing people along the way about the Peace
Rally on Saturday, 3rd November, 2001, outside the Press Club. Our
merry band of children, led the way, with calls for "Amn" (Peace).
Outside Mr. Burger, we spoke to a group of 20-30 people, including
waiters, and people selling a variety of wares. Most of them were
against the relentless bombing in Afghanistan and the loss of civilian
life. A few words about the children who seem to be most eager to
join our cause ·These children are filthy and live on the streets,
begging for food and money. They follow us around because we respect
them. We talk to them and listen to them. It will take a while for
them to even begin to comprehend the issues that confront us. We
have started by discussing the war in Afghanistan with them. They
are aware of the war but are not sure whether it affects Pakistan
in any way. We will continue talking to them and will hopefully
take them with us to the rally on Saturday.
is a day of consolidation and reflection. Our website (http://www.pakistanis4peace.org)
is being tweaked and will hopefully be online by tomorrow.
commemorating Universal Children's Day was in progress at the PIA
Planetarium, Hassan Square. We requested the organizers to allow
us to stand at the entrance with our placards. It took us a few
minutes to convince them and we were finally granted permission
when they saw that our placards were devoid of controversial slogans.
We had a lively discussion with members of the organizational committee,
as well as with a representative of an influential Urdu newspaper.
These daily efforts provide us with an opportunity to speak to a
variety of people who we would otherwise never encounter. From office
to home and back every single day is all that we did. Now, for once
in our lives, we have a chance to share our thoughts and spark a
minutes later ...
Rangers outside Pizza Hut asked us to leave immediately ... we complied
with their wishes and moved 10 feet to the left. The local shop-keepers
did not have any objections! Spoke to some students and a few professionals
was the day of the "big" rally that was organized by the
Joint Action Committee at the Karachi Press Club at 4:30 pm. 30
people showed up and of them, 12 were from Pakistanis4Peace (P4P)
- a real achievement since we have only been "active"
for 5 days. Since we were in "large" numbers and the organizers
themselves were not there on time, we got an excellent chance to
display our placards and distribute our pamphlet (more on this later
in the write up) to the press. There were a few of the "same
old" people that always show up and as usual raised slogans.
P4P consciously did not become part of any "murdabad"
slogans for obvious reasons and asked the protestors to stand in
silence for five minutes for all the victims of war and terrorism.
This was observed.
on, a representative of the Joint Action Committee verbally attacked
one of our key members and said that "you don't have any rights
to speak, this is OUR event". Sabeen quite successfully challenged
this statement and the matter was dropped. Thumbs Up, Sabeen for
shouting back at the cynics. Sabeen was also asked to say a few
words by ARY Digital.
the protestors were dispersing we decided to walk and asked everyone
to join us ... We got a mild response as it was already 5:30 (time
for NGO activists to go home!) so 16 of us walked to and from the
Shell Petrol Pump nearby. The lessons for today's protests are that
even the "converted" are not fully convinced as to where
they stand and the issue has to be made clear in front of the public.
The pamphlet is out today and was very well received by civil society
and the presswallahs. The urdu translation although complete, could
not be printed out due to Murphy's Law acting on my computer. We'll
have it ready for Sunday's demo.
"family day" at Park Towers, a "happening" mall
in Karachi's elite Clifton area. 7 Pakistanis4Peace arrived with
high hopes and big dreams ;-) Not desirous of clashing with the
authorities (that would defeat the objective of peaceful, strategic
dialogue), we headed towards the first visible man in uniform to
request permission to distribute our pamphlets and stand in a corner
with our placards. The expected, instinctive, gruff "NO"
was received. Contacts always help though ... We approached another
uniformed guard, a "friend" and talked to him about our
campaign ... he passed us on to the Marketing Manager of Park Towers,
who was doing his "rounds". He agreed to the distribution
of the pamphlets outside the glass doors of the mall, near the Candy
Floss machine. After positioning ourselves in front of the Philadelphia
Cheese stall, we were soon admonished by Mr. Marketing Man who said
he absolutely would not allow placards. We were unsuccessful in
our attempts to convince him that he needed to take a stance if
he believed in something. Three of us stayed where we were, sans
placards, and the rest, crossed the road and took their positions
just outside the jurisdiction of Park Towers, to attract the attention
of folks coming in and out of the Mall.
placard-holding group soon attracted the attention of a bunch of
young men on motorbikes. They stopped out of sheer curiousity and
demanded more information, which was provided. Once convinced that
the cause was noble, ("amn to acchi cheez hai") they parked
their motorbikes on the side of the road and joined us. Their presence
made a noticeable impact and more people started joining in, reaching
a grand total of 15.
gentleman, also amongst those holding aloft placards for peace stated
that all he was interested in was the destruction of America ("hum
to America kee tabahi chahtey hain"). We asked him how he could
possibly believe in the concept of peace if he wanted to destroy
an entire nation. This sparked off an interesting discussion - they
finally came round to admitting that it was the policies of the
US that they were against and NOT the people who live there. We
discussed with them the fact that political negotiation is a more
viable option than exploding a bomb in someone's face, that the
answer to conflict is not war. The ensuing silence was a small victory
were distributed in great numbers at Karachi University and the
Institute of Business Administration, bright and early in the morning.
Later in the evening, pamphlets were handed out to people who teach
at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. A fellow activist,
who is getting married, missed no opportunity to pass on the word
whilst shopping and running errands.
campaign for peace has had such an affirmative effect on me that
I rarely miss an opportunity to spread the message.
had taken me to Gulf Shopping Mall to buy bangles for his wedding.
Standing at the Bangles stall, I could not resist searching for
the "right" people and once through with the shopping,
I went around distributing our Pakistanis4Peace website pamphlets
... It was the best response I have gotten so far.
targeted women shopping alone. I remember my mother once telling
me that women who shop alone are usually the kind who are pretty
sure of themselves. I donÕt know where the connection lies, but
I just felt that these women would at least hear me out and ...
Bingo! I stood with these women for at least five minutes each and
they all had something or the other to say to show their support
and a couple of them even took extra copies to distribute to friends.
Next I targeted young girls with their mothers. These girls turned
out to be exactly as I had anticipated, interested and friendly.
They promised to visit the site, inquired about the peace rallies
and offered to spread the word.
in all, my day ended on a good note and it felt great to have spread
the word "PEACE".
7th and 8th
at work have made it difficult for all of us to meet for the last
couple of days ... however, our voices are active on the forum ...
We have had a few unfortunate mishaps with our web hosting company,
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to the site.