PFF caravan demands protection to Indus DeltaMarch 2, 2016
THATTA: A large number of community people joined Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) caravan on Thursday at Keti Bunder, while proceeding to creeks, the mouths of River Indus, where the river ends in to the sea.
After reaching there, the PFF put it a title to keep River-Free Movement, showing love to the river stream by showering rose petals. Several women were shouting slogans to save Indus Delta, save the people and stop sea intrusion and stop migration of people to express solidarity with the deltaic communities, who are under threats of losing their lands, houses and source of livelihoods due to endless sea intrusion.
The caravan on its third-day, with same enthusiasm, after paying tribute to the river stream, arrived in Baghan, the last land route to the province, where community people, civil society and political activists received the participants. Then it proceeded to another route of Warr Town to reach its coming destination of the day, Makli, where community people, hailing from different villages and the city were waiting to receive it warmly. The 14-day caravan started from Karachi on March 1 with demand of ensuring food sovereignty and climate justice to avoid further destruction.
PFF Chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah, Vice Chairpersons Fatima Majeed, Mustafa Meerani, Gulab Shah, Yasmin Shah, Ayoub Shan and a large number of people, belonging to fishermen and peasants communities, led the caravan. More than 100 participants, including fisherwomen, peasants women in the caravan, wearing specially designed caps continued to proceed enthusiastically. The banners holding participants inscribed with slogans demanding food sovereignty, climate justice, stop deforestation, restore mangroves and riverine forests, save fresh water bodies.
PFF chief Mohammad Ali Shah in his message said the River Indus formed this delta, which was named eighth delta with thick mangroves forests, fertile land, fresh water, crops, fish stock and prosperity. But, he said after building the mega water projects on the River Indus it seems there is no water share for the deltaic communities as far as delta itself for maintaining its ecology.
He said the government data shows the sea erosion has eaten away three million acre fertile lands, crops, villages and causing mass migration all over there. It is just to warn these people that the sea may engulf their entire region, leaving them no place to live in future to come. It is time for the communities to come together and join such caravans, taken out by PFF to take the case on the world forums to save their life, livelihoods, which are associated with the flowing river.
The caravan participants were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans demanding to ensure water flow to the delta, save river ecology, stop deforestation, restore mangroves and riverine forests, save fresh water bodies. The routes defined for this unique caravan, include Karachi, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Mithi, Umer Kot, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Nowshehro Feroz, Dadu, Jamshoro & Hyderabad. At all destinations, the caravan participants daily will have meetings with communities to spread message for showing ownership of the great River Indus, Indus delta, tributaries, freshwater bodies and natural resources, demanding to ensure “food sovereignty and climate justice”.
On the last day, March 14, the caravan will mark the annual International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams at the bank of the River Indus, Al-Manzar Jamshoro, where hundreds of people will participate.