Statement of the Coordination Committee of the Pakistan Social Forum
Lahore, 13th March 2003

We the assembly of political and social activists, trade unionists,
students, teachers, people's movements, are gathered here today as
part of the burgeoning global movement against neo-liberalism and
militarism, symbolized by the process known as the World Social Forum
(WSF). On February 15th, this global movement came of age and
highlighted that it does represent the interests and beliefs of
people across the world based on peace and justice for all. We pledge
allegiance to the goals of this movement and aspire to further the
cause of this movement here in Pakistan. We have met here in Lahore
over the past two days to take this process forward in anticipation
of the next WSF in India in 2004. A coordination committee has been
formed for this purpose and the South-Asia Partnership-PK (SAP-Pk)
will act as the secretariat.

Today the threat of militarism and neo-liberalism is greater than
ever, given the imperialist advance of the US in Afghanistan and the
now imminent invasion of Iraq. We reject the neo-imperialist order
that is being framed by the US, and call upon all peace-loving people
to articulate their opposition to US aggression. The military
strategy of the US is simply an extension of the neo-liberal
capitalist order that has been imposed on poor people of the world
incessantly since the fall of the Berlin Wall. We consider the
impending attack on Iraq an attack on all people of the world, and
not the clash of civilizations that has been depicted both by the
hawks in the Bush administration or the extremist elements who are
engaging in sloganeering of a similar character. It is very likely
that US aggression will not stop at Iraq.

The international system that has evolved since WWII faces a serious
crisis of legitimacy if the US does go ahead with its plan to attack
Iraq regardless of world opinion. In particular, the United Nations
mandate will be forever damaged if the US attacks in spite of
opposition in the Security Council and across the globe. It is
imperative that the UN is not further discredited. In particular, we
demand that the government of Pakistan unequivocally vote against war
in the SC. We also welcome the stance of the governments of France,
Germany, Russia, and China who have clearly heeded the public uproar
in these countries against war.

We refuse to believe that the people of the world should be left at
the mercy of the market and the whims of corporate globalization.
Should international law be sacrificed at the altar of US hegemony,
institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and
regimes such as the World Trade Organisation will be left to dictate
the future of the vast majority of people across the world. We will
resist this slide toward oppression at all levels.

We demand that the government of Pakistan get military bases
currently under US control, vacated forthwith and that the same takes
place in all countries of the world where the US has maintained a
military presence. We also stand for global disarmament of nuclear
weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. In addition regional
tensions in South Asia remain high and a threat to over one billion
people in the sub-continent. We demand that the governments of India
and Pakistan resume dialogue on all outstanding issues particularly
nuclear weapons and Kashmir, and remove restrictions on movement of
common people.

The WSF process stands for democratization at all levels. We too here
in Pakistan want democratization of state and society. The global
hegemonic order is based on the ability of the national elite in
countries such as Pakistan to manipulate decision-making processes
and monopolise resource allocation. We strongly condemn the manner in
which the state continues to suppress the rights of those who are
resisting the advance of neo-liberalism including the urban and rural
landless, students, workers, and all other groups seeking to secure
basic livelihoods. We stand clearly for democratic practice at all
levels and in particular demand complete withdrawal of the military
from the political sphere.

We oppose violence and war at all levels, and oppose the propagation
of ideologies founded on violent principles. We cannot condone the
onslaught of communalism, religious extremism and parochialism at any
level and stand for principles of diversity, tolerance, and
co-existence. If the US war march continues, we fear that such
principles will be condemned to oblivion.

We will build a movement here in Pakistan in accordance will all of
these principles. We will engage in direct and political action. We
appeal to all citizens, political parties, and civil society
organizations to join this struggle against neo-liberalism and

Issued by, Secretariat Pakistan Social Forum (PSF)