(SACW Feb 1, 2009 Dispatch# 2604)


Lahore: A massive turnout at the peace rally organized by the Aman Tehreek from Regal Chowk to Punjab Assembly building in a bid to defuse tension and war-mongering between India and Pakistan was seen on  January 31, 2009.


A large number of citizens from different walks of life, social and cultural organizations, political parties,  professional organizations, NGOs, trade unions, students and teachers came  together to work towards one point agenda ‘Peace.’


The South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), Communist Mazdoor Kisan Party (CMKP), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), South Asian Partnership (SAP), Aurat Foundation, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), students and lawyers participated in the rally. They demanded an end to terrorism and Talibanization in the country. They also called for the rehabilitation of girls’ schools in Swat. The participants were white flags as well as banners and placards inscribed with peace message. They chanted anti-war slogans.


They said the Pakistani government should respond positively to the dossier provided by the Indian government regarding probe into the Mumbai attacks.


They said that the government should make concerted efforts to establish its writ and restore peace in the valley in Pakistan instead of war-mongering. They said millions of people in India and Pakistan were starving and jobless but their governments were thinking about war in these conditions. They said that they ‘needed bread not weapons’ and ‘peace not war.’


The PPP workers were also chanting party slogans and extended their support to the cause of peace. They said that their part in collaboration with the other political parties to defuse tension between the two countries.


Students from various educational institutions also turned up at the rally as they were also chanting slogans for peace. They urged the government to take stringent steps against those militants who were found guilty of blowing up girls’ schools in Swat.


They condemned the Mumbai attacks and warned the governments of India and Pakistan that the war between the two countries would benefit terrorists who wanted to keep control over the whole region.


Students were also distributing flyers, promoting peace. They also collected funds for peace activities. They also gave out pink, yellow and white flowers to the participants. A signature campaign was also part of the rally as many people were signing a white sheet in support of peace. The activists also set at liberty pigeons at the end of the rally. Some blind performers also staged a drama on theme of peace at the rally which was appreciated by the participants.

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