KARAMAT ALI: 1945-2024

PIPFPD, India chapter

The Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD, India chapter) extends heartfelt condolences and solidarity to the peace-loving people of South Asia on the passing of Karamat Ali on 20th June 2024

Karamat Ali was renowned as a veteran labour activist, affectionately known to both old and new members of the forum, as Karamat Sa’ab. We remember him fondly as a legend, a crusader for justice, peace, and democracy, and a passionate lover of literature, poetry, and music. He with Justice Dorab Patel, Dr Mubashir, Rahman Sahib were captains of the valiant vessel PIPFPD who steered our ship through many storms.

As the Executive Director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research and a founding member of the Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy, Karamat Ali advocated tirelessly for the rights of labourers, fisherpeople, women, and the oppressed. His passing is a profound loss to the people of South Asia.

Throughout South Asia, he was recognized for his leadership roles in various forums, including his founding of People’s SAARC and the South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication. He was also a key figure in the Pakistan Peace Coalition and the South Asia Labour Forum. Additionally, he served as the founding president of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum.Alongside Thomas Kocherry, Mohd. Ali Shah, and Jatin Desai, he was among the first to consistently work for the release of fisherfolk prisoners from India and Pakistan.

Karamat Ali played a pivotal role in organizing all conventions of PIPFPD; Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Allahabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar. In particular the 6th Joint Convention of PIPFPD in Karachi. Despite his illness in recent years, he continued to inspire the younger generation through initiatives like Guftagu Band Na Ho, a series of online conversations and cultural exchanges across South Asia. Following the World Social Forum 2024, he actively participated in monthly meetings promoting dialogue between India and Pakistan, advocating strongly for their continuity. Though Karamat Sahib may no longer be with us, his ideas remain ingrained in the forum, guiding its future endeavors.

We draw inspiration from his joy, care, generosity, and commitment to the well-being of all, as well as politically, from his towering presence in our shared struggles against social and economic injustices and violations of the rights of the marginalized. His unwavering faith in the common people, disdain for power and privilege, and relentless dedication to democracy were integral to his vision for lasting peace.

With deep sorrow and an irreplaceable sense of loss, we bid farewell to this soul of the peace and democracy movement in Pakistan and India. This immense void, this profound grief—these are treasures of decades of unwavering defiance against oppression that cannot be expressed in words. This grief will remain etched in our hearts forever.

Allama Iqbal’s lines resonate our grief:

Marne waley marte hain lekin fana hote nahin

Woh haqeeqat mein kabhi hum se juda hote nahin

Marne walon ki jabeen raushan hai iss zulmaat mein

Jis tarah taare chamkate hain andheri raat mein

They die but they are not gone

In reality they remain close to us

Their brows shine in this darkness

Just as stars glow in dark nights

Contact details: pipfpd.india@gmail.com / 9868165471

21st June 2024, New Delhi

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