Pakistanis March To Demand Action On Climate Emergency
Climate Action March was organised in 30 cities in Pakistan on Friday (today), to protest government and business inaction on climate change. The first ever protest against the climate crisis, and historic in its nature, was a huge success.
Their manifesto, amongst other concerns, demands the government to declare a climate emergency, halt coal-fired energy products and recognise air pollution as a public health issue.
A sizeable amount of people, primarily consisting of young students, congregated outside Lahore Press Club at around 3 30 pm. Schools and universities, invested into the cause, had arranged transport for their students, and the local organisers ensured that they were at the front, fighting for their future.
Slogans were raised and enthusiastically chanted by the thousands of gathered individuals. ‘Ham Lahore ko bachany niklay hain, hamaray sath chalo, sath chalo’ and ‘Justice Justice, we want Climate Justice’ echoed on the streets of Lahore as thousands made their way to Al-Hamra. Theatre troupes like Azad Fankaar kept up the energy of the crowd, accompanying the slogans with passionate performances on their musical instruments.
Upon reaching Al Hamra, the organisers generously provided the crowd with cold water, and started their sequence of performances and speakers. Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement started by explaining their demand to release climate prisoners, delving into Baba Jan’s arrest after he protested for the rehabilitation of displaced people by an unprecedented landslide—as a result of climate change- in Attabad in 2010.
It was followed by several other addresses, including one by Babar, a core organizer, about how every man and woman is susceptible to the harmful effects of the upcoming smog, and need government intervention to ensure their protection. Dr Veertaujan, a doctor, stated that the climate change isn’t a future reality, but a current problem, and diseases like Dengue etc have been transported from Africa to susceptible Pakistanis because of the interconnected nature of the global climate crisis.
Activist Farooq Tariq elaborated on its particular devastating effects on the farmers in Pakistan and how they have been forced to adapt to these changes, and currently need help to secure their livelihood. Thus, the Climate Action Protest 2019 is being termed as a historic first step towards ensuring a better future for our children.