Press Releases

KARACHI, Jan 17, 2002: The peaceful vigil planned by the Joint Action Committee for Peace, Karachi on Friday Jan 18 is being held as scheduled at Quaid-e-Azam's Mazar at 5.00 p.m. The authorities have given permission for the vigil, which is being participated in by lawyers, doctors, teachers and journalists, IT specialists, retired armed forces officers, political, labour, women's rights and human rights activists.

Participants will carry white banners for peace and light candles at the mausoleum of the country's founding father. Besides the non-government organizations and individuals who are a part of the Joint Action Committee for Peace, various other political parties and groups are joining the vigil. They include Iqbal Ahmed Parekh, Jamshed Town Nazim, Kanwal Sindhi, President Sindh Journalists Network for children (SJN), Yusuf Mustikhan of the National Workers Party, and Muzaffar Ali Shujra of the PPP. The MQM's Nasreen Jalil, Kunwar Khalid Yunous and Khalid bin Walid have said that they will consider participation.

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JAC welcomes the restoration of the joint electorate system. JAC also appreciates the Jan 12 speech of General Pervez Musharraf but believes that the process of accountability should be extended to those responsible for formulating and implementing the policies that led to religious extremism in the country. JAC demands that India and Pakistan end the tension and resolve their problems through peaceful dialogue. JAC also demands that the citizens' right to peaceful assembly be restored and respected. JAC also demands that action is taken against those police officers responsible for disrupting their rally of Jan 7, and an inquiry into the attack by the Rangers on the peace rally to Wagah. We strongly condemn that attack as well as any other such forcible disruption of peaceful demonstrations.

PEACE RALLY AT HASAN SQUARE, KARACHI, Jan 03, 2002: Members of the Joint Action Committee and Citizens for Peace have joined forces in the struggle for peace in the region, with a consensus on the basic agenda 'No to War, No to terrorism'. Mindful of the dangers of a war, which could lead to a nuclear holocaust in the subcontinent, JAC urges India and Pakistan to exercise reason and restraint, reduce tension at the borders and solve their problems through peaceful dialogue. JAC will hold another rally on January 07 at 5.30 pm at Hasan Square. The rally will be attended by peace lovers from all walks of life, individuals as well as representatives of non government, labour, political, civic, women's rights and human rights organisations. Those attending are requested to wear white (or some item of white clothing) and bring a white candle. The 'Cloth banner signature campaign' initiated at the Citizens for Peace December 31 candle-lit rally will be continued. Further actions are planned to continue the agenda for building a peaceful society, including an Amn Mela to be participated in by artists and singers, and 'teach-in' seminars at educational institutes.

LIGHT A CANDLE FOR PEACE KARACHI, Dec 29, 2001: Alarmed at the escalation of tension between India and Pakistan, ordinary citizens of Karachi are planning to assemble at the Press Club on Monday the 31st December 2001 at 5.30 pm to express their concern at this tension and urge restraint by the governments of both countries.

The initiative has been taken by peace loving citizens in Karachi, who met recently at a private residence to voice their feelings on the subject of growing militancy and tension between the two neighbours, India and Pakistan. They decided to provide a platform for individuals, NGOs, labour and human right organisations under the banner of 'CITIZENS FOR PEACE'.

Citizens for Peace welcome the participation at the rally of any and everybody who agrees on the following one-point agenda: WE URGE INDIA AND PAKISTAN TO EXERCISE REASON AND RESTRAINT, REDUCE TENSION AT THE BORDERS AND SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS THROUGH PEACEFUL DIALOGUE. This rally, participated in by individuals as well as various rights groups, is planned as the first of various 'peace actions'; follow up actions discussed include similar rallies at different venues of the city and 'teach-ins' on the issue of war and peace. Those attending the Dec 31st rally are requested to wear white (or some item of white clothing) and bring a white candle. Many participants are also planning to bring white flags, white balloons and white cardboard doves for display, but there will be no banners other than relating to the one point agenda agreed on.

A signature campaign for peace will be initiated along the lines of the 'Cloth banner campaign' undertaken in Lahore and Islamabad to protest the nuclearisation of South Asia. December 31, the last day of the year 2001, will see peace rallies in Lahore and Mumbai also. In Mumbai, various groups are meeting under the banner of 'People for Peace' to call for an end to the war hysteria in India and for peace. In Lahore, members of the Joint Action Committee, an umbrella organization of some 30 groups, are meeting at the Lahore Press Club on December 31, and then proceeding with white flags to the Wagah border where they will light torches for peace. Concerned citizens in Citizens in Islamabad have also rallied for this cause. Another peace rally is planned on Jan 1st at the Press Club at 3.00 pm by the Action Committee for Civic Problems, which has called for the participation of all sections of society, particularly political parties. Meanwhile, a peace delegation from India to Pakistan has been forced to cancel its proposed visit due to the cessation of air, road and rail links between the two countries.

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Press Clippings

Dawn - 19th January, 2002

Peace activists hold demo - By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Jan 18: A large number of people staged a peaceful demonstration at the Mazar-i-Quaid on Friday evening. The demonstration ws organised by the Joint Action Committee for Peace (JACP). The demonstrators were carrying placards and banners with various slogans, calling for peace, on them. They stood on the footpath outside the Quaid-i-Azam Academy on M. A. Jinnah Road.

The demonstrators called upon the governments of both India and Pakistan to reduce the tension on the borders, sit around the negotiating table and solve all their issues through dialogue. A signature roll was also kept at the venue. The volunteers were asking the supporters of peace to sign on it. Later the demonstrators lighted candles and stood there for sometime, before dispersing peacefully.

The demonstrators included lawyers, doctors, teachers, journalists, IT specialists, retired army forces officers and political, labour, women and human rights activists. The demonstrators had to stand on a narrow footpath and many a time they spilled over on the up-track of the M. A. Jinnah Road during the rush-hours when people return from the downtown offices and business centres.

The authorities did not allow the demonstrators to stand on the wider footpath on the side the Mazar. The traffic on that down-track of the road is also comparatively less. Some of the slogans written on the placards and banners were: "we want bread not bombs", "we want education not war", "no sabre rattling", "we want freedom not war", " foreign forces quit kashmir", "down with state and religious terrorism", "India - Pakistan war means suicide", "all we are saying give peace a chance", " Kashmiris want independence not war", etc.

This was the third such demonstration to b held by concerned citizens to force the governments of Pakistan and India to scale down the tension at the border and live in peace and harmony, like good neighbours. The first such demonstration was held at the Press Club, while the second one was held at the Expo Centre where the police manhandled peace activists and a couple of them were taken into temporary custody. The DIG had promised action against ASP Asif Ejaz. But, as was expected, it turned out to be an eyewash and no action has been taken against the police official for his high-handedness.

Dawn - 8th January, 2002

Peace activists not allowed to hold demo - By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Jan 7: Police dispersed a large number of peace activists - took two of them into custody - who had come to stage a peaceful demonstration near the Expo Centre on Monday evening. Police sources said that the ASP, Asif Aijaz, who had taken both the peace activists into custody released them after some time. A representative of Joint Action Committee, the organisers of the demonstration, Beena Sarwar, later speaking at a Press conference said that a councillor of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had informed the DIG Karachi about the peace demonstration near the Civic Centre and he (the DIG) had said that if the activists did not intend to take out a procession then there was no problem.

The organisers also said that they would address a press conference at the Press Club tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3pm to announce their future line of action. She said that police pushed away the demonstrators, majority of whom were women and children, who were waiting for their companions to arrive so that the demonstration could start, and snatched the placards inscribed with slogans of peace, and threw them away. Ms Sarwar said: "We were shocked at the policy of our government, which on the one hand did not take any action against the religious groups which were giving calls for Jihad, but on the other the police violently attacked those people who had assembled for peace."

A large number of peace activists had gathered on the service lane near Expo Centre and Civic Centre in Gulshan-i-Iqbal at the scheduled time of 5.30pm and were still unfolding their banners when they were encircled by a large contingent of police, which had been posted there for security purposes as the Sindh Governor, Mohammedmian Soomro, was to inaugurate an exhibition at the Expo Centre in the evening. The police probably got panicky at the large number of peace activists, and asked the demonstrators to leave the area immediately. The demonstrators tried to inform the police that they had informed their DIG, but the local police chief, ASP Asif Aijaz, who introduced himself as "area commander", did not listen and using strong language ordered them to vacate the area immediately. Soon, the policemen started pushing the activists. When some activists raised a hue and cry and asked the police not to push the women, a large number of policewomen were called and soon after their arrival, the police started more pushing and using force against the peace activists and dispersed the demonstrators taking two of them into custody.

The police also tried to take another demonstrator, Dr Riaz of Karachi University, into custody but the demonstrators resisted and the university teacher had his eye-glasses broken in the scuffle that followed. Two activists who were taken into brief custody were Javed Iqbal Burki of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Aslam Martin of the Idara Amn-o-Insaf. The demonstration was organized to press the governments of India and Pakistan to defuse tension at the borders, sit across the negotiating table and solve all their problems through dialogue. The organizers had planned that after holding the banners, inscribed with peace messages, for some time, they would light the candles and later disperse peacefully. This was the second such demonstration, the first one was held at the Press Club last week.

Dawn - 1st January, 2002

Demo against growing war hysteria - By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Dec 31: A large number of people staged a demonstration at the Press Club on Monday to protest against the growing war hysteria between India and Pakistan. The participants of the demonstration, organized by the Citizens for Peace, called upon both the governments of India and Pakistan to settle their disputes without going to war. They said that it had been proved time again that all major conflicts that had resulted in war had been settled through negotiations ultimately. They said that though both the countries were poor, they had been spending a major chunk of their budgets on non-developmental expenditure, such as defence, and that was why they could not spend much on the health and education sectors. They urged both India and Pakistan to exercise reason and restraint, reduce tension at the borders and solve all their disputes through peaceful dialogue. They urged both the governments to control fanatics in their countries who were fanning the flames of discord between both the neighbouring countries. They said that like-minded people under the banner of "People for Peace" were also organizing similar peace rallies in Lahore and Mumbai (India). They said that in Lahore, members of a Joint Committee, an umbrella organization of some 30 groups, planned to meet at the Press club and then proceed with white flags to the Wagah Border where they would light torches for peace.

Most participants were wearing white - colour of peace - and carrying banners with slogans in support of their demand for peace. A signature campaign was also launched and all the demonstrators signed the signature rolls. They also asked the passers-by to take part in the signature campaign. Some of the banners read: "We want bread and not bomb"; "Give us education and not war"; "Stop sabre rattling"; "War does not determine who is right - only who is left" etc. Later, the demonstrators, with burning candles in hands, began a peace walk from the Press Club to the Fawara Chowk. Representatives of various organizations, including the Women Action Forum, War Against Rape, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Aurat Foundation, Pakistan India Forum for Peace and Democracy, Labour Party of Pakistan, Helpline Trust, Pakistan Crescent Youth Organization, etc, took part in the peace walk.

Dawn - 4th November, 2001

Daily Khabrain - 4th November, 2001

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