Fisher people’s Assembly held

Thursday 4 August 2005, by Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum

KARACHI: Hundreds of fishermen at the “Fisher people’s
Assembly” Wednesday demanded the government to provide
basic facilities to fishing villages of the coastal
areas.

The “Fisher people’s Assembly,” organized by Pakistan
Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) in collaboration with ActionAid
Pakistan (AAPk) at Karachi Press Club (KPC) was
presided over by veteran author and journalist
Shamserul Haidry as a Speaker of the assembly. He was
assisted by a panel comprising senior scholar Nazeer
Memon and Adam Malik of AAPk.

Country Director of ActionAid Pakistan Ms. Rubina
Saigol and PFF Chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah also
attended the assembly.

The representatives of fishermen from various fishing
villages presented their problems before the speaker.
They said fishing villages along Karachi coast are
devoid of even basic facilities like drinking water,
education and health etc.

They said the defunct union councils and City District
Government of Karachi (CDGK) had failed to provide
facilities for the fisherfolk population of the city.
Lack of drinking water, overflowing sewerage system,
depleted roads and absence of education and health
facilities are the proof of neglect by the
authorities.

They pointed out that over exploitation of fishing
resources by big fishing trawlers and urged the
government to cancel licenses of foreign trawlers.
They also underlined the need to ban destructive nets,
which are destroying the fishing stocks in the sea.
They also expressed concern over increasing pollution
along the coast due to disposal of municipal and
industrial waste into the sea and cutting of mangrove
trees.

In his remarks, the Speaker of the Fisher people
Assembly Shamerul Haidry appreciated the fisher
people, particularly women for their presentation
about problems of fishing villages. He said it is pity
that no attention is being paid to plight of
fishermen, where as the rulers get their votes from
these villages.

He said fishermen are facing a lot of problems, but no
government has ever paid attention to solve those
problems. He deplored that due to lack of any
sustainable fishing policy, the problems of fishermen
are multiplying.

He asked the candidates of the local government
elections to take cognizance of plight of fishermen
and hoped that after their success take interest in
solution of fishermen’s problems.

Speaking on the occasion, Nazeer Memon said that
fishermen of entire coast are living their lives like
animals as no facilities have been provided by the
government. He deplored that millions of fishermen in
Indus Delta region are thirsty because sweet water of
Indus River is not coming most of the time during the
year.

He said hundreds of thousands of Indus delta fishermen
have migrated to other parts like Karachi because it
has become difficult to live in coastal villages. He
said the sea has intruded hundreds of thousands of
agriculture land, which has destroyed the livelihood
resources of people.

Earlier, PFF General Secretary Saeed Baloch welcomed
the participants of the assembly and threw light on
purpose of organizing the assembly.

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