SAARC must play a pro-active role to fulfill the aspirations of the people of South Asia


Dhaka, 20th January, 2011, the civil society organization and their representatives of South Asian countries urged to SAARC leaders to play a pro-active role to fulfill the aspiration of the poor people of South Asia, in a press conference title “ Peoples’ SAARC on ‘Envisioning New South Asia: Peoples’ Perspective” held at Dhaka national press club. The press conference is held after two days of discussion on the different development and pro-people issue for South Asian people especially SAARC countries. In the press conference the speakers also mentioned that the South Asian countries are the home of largest number of poor people in the world and the region is plagued by conflict, poverty, lack of access to basic necessities and services; and ravaged by conflicts of various kinds, rampant unemployment, feudalism, abysmal living conditions of the large majority, these further complicated by religious sectarian violence and state sponsored violence, both domestic and cross border unrest and insurgence.

The press conference is moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury form EquityBD and key note presented by Rachita Sharma Julian from Nepal. Among others Mr. Keramat Ali form Pakistan, Dr. Sarbaraj Ghatka from Nepal, Jotin Dessai from India and Rokeya kabir from Bangladesh also spoke in the press conference.

In the presentation of key note, Rachita Sharma of Nepal said that, we have urgent need to find solutions to the deep seated problems in the South Asian region and clearly, these cannot be found in the existing failed neo-liberal paradigm. It is also clear to us that the solutions to what are common problems spanning the entire region are more likely to be effective if they are regional cooperation in scope and regional unity can be a good beginning to finding solutions and alternatives.

Jotin Dessai of India said that, we condemn all sort of killing in the name of so called terror fighting and illegal border crossing and trade. That’s why we urged to our SAARC leaders to show their real commitment of terror fighting and proposing to take common platform on this issue. He also said that tightening of visa restrictions does not affect those who carry arms and carry out armed attacks on innocents, because they don’t need apply for visas rather affected are those have families and searching livelihood options in neighboring countries. He also claimed that, only free VISA regime among SA countries can able to stop the illegal trade and border smuggling.

Mr. Keramat Ali of Pakistan said that, we believe that we have common problem and we have to be open for South Asian people and their livelihood. We should take a common policy and action for utilization of common natural resources especially water. He also mentioned that the big or mega dam doesn’t benefited the poor rather benefited the contractor and corporate and it should eliminate through a common position of SAARC leaders. He also condemn SAARC leaders for deferring SAARC Food Bank concept

Dr. Sarbaraj Ghatka of Nepal said that we have almost need to people mobilization for fighting poverty, inequality and injustice, where our governments claiming them SAARC leaders are not able to do this properly. That’s why we are civil society activists are trying from our level best to influence our respective government to promote gross development policy for our South Asian people.

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