A Peace Convention and the wisdom of Ali Nawaz

Article posted to my yahoogroup in June 2002  – the Rs 4000 minimum that Ali Nawaz from Balochistan talked about now would be more like Rs 10,000 (right, economists?). Although little has changed for him and people like him, the ‘Balochistan package’ and the historic NFC award agreed upon on Dec 11 at least offer some hope in terms of more equitable resource distribution and opportunities. This is the difference between dictatorship (no matter how mild) and democracy (no matter how messed up)

The News on Sunday, Jun 16, 2002

A Peace Convention and the wisdom of Ali Nawaz

by Beena Sarwar

Ali Nawaz works at a motorcycle factory at Hub Chowki in Balochistan, near Somiani, the sun-baked coastal area from where Pakistan recently test-fired the nuclear-capable Abdali missile as a warning to a war-ready India. From here, it takes over two hours to get to Karachi, driving east along the coast of the Arabian Sea. On Saturday June 8, along with some two dozen of his fellow workers, Nawaz made this journey using the factory van headed to the noise and rush of Saddar in the heart of Karachi.

The motorcycle workers are not interested in the bazaar; besides the fact that they can’t afford the goods on sale, there are more important things on their mind — like the Peace Convention organized at the Karachi Press Club by the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) and the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan.

As many as twenty five out of the forty one workers at Nawaz’s factory attended the Convention of their own accord. Why? Continue reading

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