Home Muhammad Activists pledge to continue Muhammad Ali Shah’s fight for the rights of the fishing community

Activists pledge to continue Muhammad Ali Shah’s fight for the rights of the fishing community

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In a condolence protest on Saturday, human rights and labor activists paid rich tribute to Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) founder Muhammad Ali Shah on Monday, saying he had spent his life fighting no only for the rights of the fishing community, but also for other oppressed communities, such as peasants and people affected by the Thar Coal project.

Shah had died on August 19 due to complications from Covid-19. He was 66 years old.

The condolence event was hosted at the Pakistan Arts Council by the Joint Action Committee, an alliance of civil society organizations based in Karachi, to reflect on the life and achievements of the leader of the fishing community deceased.

In 1998, Shah founded with his companions the PFF, a national organization of the fishing community.

Speakers at the event recalled that Shah has always called for justice with regard to fishermen imprisoned in Pakistani and Indian prisons, the construction of dams on the Indus, the abolition of the system of contracts on the lakes and the construction of illegal jetties.

The late human rights activist was also sentenced to prison terms as he fought for the rights of fishermen, it was said.

Recently, Shah campaigned against the federal government‘s announcement to build towns on the twin islands of Bundal and Dingi. He has also played an active role in demanding the implementation of basic human rights from the Awami Tehreek platform.

Due to his long-standing struggle, Shah was also named the Asia region chair of the World Fishermen’s Forum (WFFP), a global forum for artisanal fishermen.

Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute for Workers’ Education and Research (Piler) said Shah’s friends would continue his fight and move the PFF forward in a democratic manner.

Faisal Edhi, philanthropist and director of the Edhi Foundation, recalled when he worked with Shah for the release of fishermen languishing in prisons in Pakistan and India for fishing in disputed waters. “The struggle to free innocent and poor fishermen from prisons in both countries must be continued,” Faisal said.

Abdul Khaliq Junejo, head of Jeay Sindh Mahaz, said that although the PFF is a non-governmental organization, it was organized by Shah on a political basis and it also focused on the participation of women in PFF campaigns.

PFF Senior Vice President Fatima Majeed said her father, Majeed Motani, was jailed in an Indian prison for fishing in disputed waters in the 1980s. “When Shah, Motani and other leaders of fishermen formed the PFF, we have been associated with the organization since then, ”she added.

Praising the late activist for his fight for a cleaner environment, PFF General Secretary Saeed Baloch said Shah had run various campaigns to raise awareness of the challenges of climate change and pollution.

Shah’s children, Yasmeen Shah and Mehran Shah, said their parents, Shah and his wife Tahira Shah, had spent their lives fighting for the rights of the fishing community and their mission would be continued. Tahira, who was the vice president of the PFF, died in a car crash near Sujawal in 2015.

The chairperson of the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women, Nuzhat Shirin, Mahnaz Rehman of the Aurat Foundation, Nasir Masnoor of the National Federation of Trade Unions, Zulfiqar Shah de Piler, researcher Ely Ercelan, historian Gul Hasan Kalmati and journalist Dodo Chandio were also among the speakers who paid tribute to Shah. .


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