03/30/2006, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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World Social Forum 2006 draws to a close in Pakistan

by Qaiser Felix

"The visible presence of Catholics during the Forum was a great joy for us," the Karachi Archbishop told AsiaNews.

Karachi (AsiaNews) – The "visible presence" of the Catholic community in the World Social Forum 2006 "was a great joy for us. We are happy we could contribute to preparations of the event, in which Caritas Pakistan played a key role."

Mgr Evarist Pinto, Archbishop of Karachi, was talking to AsiaNews about the latest annual meeting of the forum that took place in his city from 24 to 29 March; the other two were held in Bamako (Mali) and in Caracas (Venezuela). The delegates – social activists, intellectuals and thinkers – came from 58 different countries.

Discussions kicked off with a plenary session in the municipal sports complex in Kashmir Road, where around 10,000 people, in tents put up for the event, came together. Buleh Shah and Shah Adula Latif, mystic poets of Punjab and Sindh, recited their poems before the crowd.

The archbishop said: "It is a matter of pride for us that the event took place in our country and city. I would like to thank the National Catholic Theological Institute and Christ the King Seminary, which played an important role in the successful outcome of the forum."

He added: "There was a feeling of friendship and harmony among the participants, all united in the common purpose of bringing about a better world.  The theme of the meeting was in fact 'Another World is Possible'." 

Many speakers at the meeting in Karachi stressed that "the birth of a new world is possible, different from that dominated by the neo-colonial culture of the west, which promulgates social injustice through the use of the economy and media."

Asma Jehangir, chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights of Pakistan, challenged the concept of free market that "advocated free movement of goods and capital but did not allow workers to cross borders in search of employment and prosperity".

The WSF was set up in Porto Alegre (Brazil) with the aim of fighting poverty, environmental degradation and disease around the world: social injustice, the rights of workers and minorities, problems facing people with special needs and women, are among the issues tackled. The founders maintain that market globalization based on capitalism is unjust.

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