Lucknow Declaration 2011 endorsed by the 2nd Uttar Pradesh State Convention of Pak-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) on 10th July 2011 strongly voices need to establish a nuclear bomb-free, visa-free, and clean energy policies in the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations. Magsaysay Awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey, senior Advocate Ravi Kiran Jain, Pakistan’s noted human rights activist Saeeda Diep, senior social activist and former inspector-general of police SR Darapuri, Adviser to Right-to-food Commissioners appointed by Supreme Court Arundhati Dhuru, were among the prominent people present during its adoption.

The Lucknow Declaration 2011 reads:

We, the delegates of this Second UP PIPFPD Convention hereby resolve that the following steps be taken both by civil society and the governments of South Asia:

1. Improve and strengthen a relationship of friendship and cooperation among the countries of South Asia. To achieve this, these countries should become Visa Free so that the people of the region enjoy full freedom to meet each other, and thus the common socio-cultural and historical heritage of the region is taken forward, and trade is enhanced. It is further resolved that initiatives be taken to give shape to SAARC economic union. Keeping in view the above stated objective, children, senior citizens, members of civil organizations, students, and teachers of schools, colleges and universities be given top priority in the granting of visas.

2. Democratic and humanistic values be strengthened in these countries, and adequate social and legal protection be afforded to the oppressed and marginalized sections of society, particularly to women, dalits, and ethnic and religious minorities; active steps be taken for repealing laws, and ending social practices, that are discriminatory towards these sections.

3. India and Pakistan take the lead in putting an end to their nuclear weapons and begin working towards making the entire South Asian region a Nuclear-free Zone in a time-bound manner. This may be done in a phased manner, beginning with the freezing of nuclear weaponry, followed by disarmament, and culminating in total disarmament.

4. Recent nuclear emergency in Japan leaves no doubt that this world needs to renounce nuclear power for military and civil/ energy purposes, as soon as possible, to put an end to any further catastrophe in the name of ‘energy’, ‘security’ or ‘technology’. Nuclear power is clearly the most dangerous options for civil or military use. Countries that have been using nuclear power such as Germany have resolved to abandon nuclear energy by 2022. Germany converted one of its semi-finished nuclear energy plant into an amusement park making its vote clear for non-nuclear clean energy options. Nuclear power plants in Uttar Pradesh (UP), rest of India, and Pakistan, must be closed down and both nations should embrace clean energy options.

5. The 2011 Lucknow Delcaration endorses that the much-touted India US Nuclear Deal is not about India’s energy security. Energy security lies in using indigenous energy resources such as coal, gas, hydro (small, micro dams or run of the river categories), solar, wind energy, biogas etc., and ensuring our future energy supplies from Iran and other countries in West and Central Asia. Obviously, augmenting indigenous coal production, building hydro plants (small, micro dams or run of the river categories), investing in oil exploration, securing gas supplies through Iran Gas Pipeline are much more important for India’s energy security than buying imported reactors and importing uranium for such nuclear plants. Although we realize that fossil fuel based method of energy production is also harmful contributing to global warming and ideally like European Union and Japan we should aim for a low-carbon energy production system. India’s future energy policy should be low carbon and no nuclear. India, in the interest of the region, must withdraw forthwith from this Indo US Nuclear Deal and thereby establish a strong and correct precedent. In general India should move away from becoming an ally of the US and should go back to its position of being a member of NAM. Pakistan has already witnessed the dangerous result of becoming a US ally and paying a heavy price today. India and Pakistan instead should work together to promote a relationship based on trust and also work towards securing peace in all disturbed areas including Kashmir and Af-Pak. They should work together to end the scourge of terrorism from both countries. For this to happen, values like equality, communal harmony, secularism, democratic thinking and justice, must prevail over right wing religious extremism in both countries.

6. Democratic values and systems of governance must become the prevailing norm for the entire South Asian region.

7. Immediate steps be taken by all the governments of the region to halt militarization and to gradually reduce military expenditure in a publicly stated, transparent and pro-active manner; the resources thus saved be allocated for such common concerns as health and education.

8. Given the common socio-cultural and historical heritage of the region, active initiatives for peace and harmony be taken by progressive forces to counter the sectarian and communal forces destabilizing the region.

9. Steps be taken for the restoration of rights to natural resources like water, land and forests, to their rightful ownership by the common people of the region; the illegitimate and destructive appropriation of these rights by the forces of globalization, which we believe are anti-people, be halted. We therefore pledge our continuing support for all pro-people movements in their struggles against the forces of globalization acting under the direction of what we believe to be the illegitimate and self-appropriated power of bodies like the WTO, World Bank, IMF and ADB.

Original article in Citizen News Service (CNS)



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