Boat Rally in Pakistan Opposing Development on Islands

As the federal government announces the construction of cities on Pakistan's islands; the fisherfolk host a boat rally in Pakistan to oppose development.

In light of recent events, and talks going on about developing cities on Pakistan’s islands; fishermen and several trade unions have joined together in a boat rally in Pakistan. Whereat least 20 fishing boats, and some small speedboats were set to sail on the islands from Ibrahim Hyderi’s busy and undeveloped Jamote Jetty to the twin Bundal and Dingi (also known as Buddu) Islands as part of their movement called, ‘Samundari Jazair Bachao Tehreek’ organized by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum on Thursday.

Many trade unions have also joined the boat rally in Pakistan such as the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and the Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF), non-government organizations like the Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (Piler), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Indigenous Rights Alliance, Aurat Foundation, several research groups, and politicians. They, on their boats, raised red and blue banners along with political party flags in their hands.

They flapped their flags in the boat rally in Pakistan and also chanted many slogans, such as “Stealing of Sindh’s resources unacceptable”, “Stealing of islands unacceptable” and “Snatching the livelihood of the poor is no progress!” While on the other hand, Sindhi folk songs were being played at full volume on these boats, where some Sindhi folk or old women were also tempted to dance.

However, the protestors could not carry their boat rally to Dingi Island because of the denied access by the Pak Marine boats present on the coast. The rally then began to move forward to the Bundal island, but due to severely low tides, they had to address the boat rally through microphones from their boats only.

According to PFF chairman and convener of the movement Mohammad Ali Shah, the development of cities on these islands is unconstitutional and against provincial sovereignty. He further stated that even though this particular area falls under Sindh jurisdiction, no permission was taken from the Sindh government before deciding to develop modern cities.

“The islands are part of the Indus Delta, which is a Ramsar site and construction of the city or cities here will be a violation of the international Ramsar Conven­tion,” he reminded. This has been tried once before as well by the federal government, however, they also failed to build cities on these islands because of the fishermen and the boat rally held back then in Pakistan.

Moreover, The PFF chairman was also joined by chairman of the Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party Dr. Qadir Magsi, leader of Sindh United Party Zain Shah, Jeay Sindh Mahaz leader Abdul Khaliq Junejo, Sindhiani Tehreek’s leader Noor Nisa Palijo, Shaheed Fazil Rahu Yadgar Committee’s Shahnaz Rahu, MNA Jam Abdul Karim, MPA Raja Razzaq, MPA Mahmood Alam Jamote, fisherfolk leaders Suhail Jamote, Jan Alam Jamote, activists and researchers Khuda Dino Shah, Illahi Baksh Bikek, Gul Hassan Kalmati, Zehra Khan of HBWWF and Nasir Mansoor of NTUF.

All of which seem to be in favor of the boat rally in Pakistan, and hold a united stance by saying that the construction of cities on such islands is a violation of Pakistan’s constitution.

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