Published: Express Tribune – August 8, 2011
By Aroosa Masroor
Participants call for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament.
Pakistan needs to learn from Japan and its resolve for nuclear non-proliferation. It should commit to nuclear disarmament for peace in the region, Saeeda Diep, the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) chairperson said on Saturday night.
Diep was addressing the participants of a candle light vigil organised in front of the Punjab Assembly in commemoration of the victims of the 1945 Hiroshima bombing. The participants of the vigil denounced the use of nuclear weapons.
Diep said Pakistan’s nuclear programme was a threat to world peace and its own security. “In an environment where no member of the society is safe, militants cannot be allowed to gain access to the nuclear arsenal”, she said.
She said that Pakistan was facing various challenges including social and political unrest, poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. She said the country was not in a position to support a nuclear programme.
Some 30 people participated in the vigil. Umair Vahidy, an IPSS communications volunteer, regretted that peace rallies always had a low turnout. Vahidy said that 50 IPSS members had volunteered to participate in the 6th International Youth Peace Festival, scheduled on September 28 in India. “It will be a five-day event focusing on a peaceful and non-nuclear South Asia”, he said.
The participants demanded that the government shift funds and focus from its nuclear programme to the well being of citizens. They also demanded ‘de-weaponisation’ of Pakistan to reduce violence in society, reduction of defence budget and its reallocation towards human development, social security and inter-faith harmony.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.