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“Pakistan youth work for nuke-free world”
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“Pakistan youth work for nuke-free world”

Faheem Bin TariqYoung people are active in the campaign for a nuclear weapons-free world, writes Faheem Bin Tariq, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Karachi, Pakistan, who describes a new youth institute’s goals.

Nuclear arsenals do not make any country safer.  With their all power and unforgiving command, rather they are a massive threat to the security of mankind.

With a purpose to engage young people for a world without nuclear weapons, Global Zero Karachi Institute on non-nuclear proliferation was organised during first week of November in collaboration with Youth Against Arms in Karachi (Pakistan).

The aim of the institute is to grow a team of talented, passionate movement-builders who believe that the only way to eliminate the nuclear threat to existence is to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, secure all nuclear materials and eliminate all nuclear weapons.

It is worth mentioning that Pakistan was found involved in nuclear proliferation for the manufacture of weapons during the last military rule, though the current government is very open to exploring the possibilities of peaceful nuclear technology to meet the country’s energy demands.

The 15 young participants, who along with their studies work as writers, social media practitioners, graphic designers, content creators, project managers, and engineering researchers, graduated from this first-of-its-kind institute in Pakistan and are working as Global Zero ambassadors for a world without nuclear weapons. At the institute, these ambassadors learned how to combine media, online and grassroots initiatives, cutting-edge policy development, and direct dialogue with decision makers to mobilise a local movement to end the nuclear threat.

The best part of the institute was the two-minute introductions, which included a statement about why the participants care about a nuke-free world. Indeed the responses were quite thoughtful:

“Possessing nuclear power can never assure national security, USSR got disintegrated with all of her nuclear arsenals.”

 “Prestige should be extracting peace out of an atom not some poisonous detonation to kill innocent people.”

 “Won’t this world would be heaven if in next decade instead of spending estimated US$ 1 trillion on nuclear weapons will be spend on eliminating hunger.”

After the participants were trained on effective communication, diplomacy and campaigning, a representative of the organising partner, ‘Youth Against Arms’, talked about activities for  making the world a more peaceful place, and highlighted the steps taken in Pakistan to help the government strengthen its national security while engaging more young people in the decision-making process.

During the discussions on global disarmament, not only did the participants speak articulately and passionately about their vision for a world without nuclear weapons, but also they expressed an amazing commitment to take the key learning across borders for collaboration.

Ms. Haneen Khalid, country director for Pakistan at Global Zero, answered the reservations of one participant on nuclear discourse in Pakistan this way: “Our foremost focus is entirely on the USA and Russian nuclear arsenals in the initial phases, and our activists work round the clock there to lobby with their local leaders to pledge for a world without nuclear weapons. Any one country disarming in isolation is certainly not a sustainable solution. You might be interested to know that students from Pakistan are some of the staunchest supporters of a world without nuclear weapons, as we have learned working extensively with them over the last year. Our activities here are aimed to show that people in Pakistan support these efforts and stand side by side with activists all over the world as we try to build a safer future.”

While brainstorming for a nukes-free world, participants pitched in some amazing ideas on partnering with their peers in different countries for pressing US and Russia to initiate the process of nuclear disarmament by announcing lessening of their nuclear stockpiles, which count in the thousands.

There are still some 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world, most in the arsenals of the USA and Russia. A nuclear exchange between these super powers could return the planet to an ice age, probably resulting in nearly universal death. Also the arch rivals India and Pakistan, which were engaged in three deadly battles in last fifty years, are in possession of over 200 nuclear weapons. These two rivals are  signatory to neither the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty nor the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. Yet an exchange of nuclear weapons between them could trigger a nuclear famine killing at least two billion people.

Ms. Javeria Awan and Mr. Faraz Liaquat, who are alumni of the US State Department’s international students programs, offered participants an overview of lobbying tactics as practiced in USA and Russia for convincing politicians about a world without nuclear weapons.

What is needed today is for the young people to get involved in negotiations, debates and dialogues in good faith to end the nuclear arms race, and to achieve total nuclear disarmament for more secure and peaceful world.

Reach me on Twitter @FBTariq

Photo: courtesy of Faheem Bin Tariq


About me: I am a youth activist and leadership facilitator who believes in the power in youth. With a mission to empower youth, I have impacted lives of at least two million young people across Pakistan. I am currently pursuing a Bachelors degree with dual majors in Architecture and Planning.

I was the British Council’s Global Changemaker (2012-13) and served as UNESCO Youth Peace Ambassador (2011-12).


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/




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