ISLAMABAD: Activists gathered in front of the National Press Club in Islamabad on Friday to register their protest held on account of Global Climate Action Day, which is marked with climate strikes taking place around the world.
They were holding placards such as “Farmer’s Lives Matter” and “No more empty promises”. They chanted slogans, recited poetry and made speeches to highlight the urgent issue of the climate crisis.
They demanded prompt action from the government and the governments across the world. One of the organisers and founders of Fridays For Future Pakistan, Iqbal Badruddin Jamal, spoke on the occasion, “I don’t want future generations to face the worst of climate change, and be forced to spend their time worrying about it when they could just be kids instead. That’s why I am striking and will keep doing so until our government and corporations take us seriously.”
The strikes took place in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Mardan, Peshawar and Gilgit. The protesters also highlighted local climate issues. Rida, the founder of Impact Pakistan, and another organiser said, “Pakistan needs to ban gasoline cars instantly. These cause massive levels of pollution and harm our air.”
Hania Imran, an organiser of the strike, remarked on the occasion, “It is important we have demonstrations and protests such as these. People are dying in Pakistan and around the globe. People are suffering. We need to stand up for them and demand action on this crisis. Planting trees is not enough.”
Fatima Shehzad from Progressive Students Federation and one of the speakers at the protest, said, “The issue of climate change will not be solved by the system that puts growth and profit over the lives and futures of the youth.”
Razan, another organiser, said, “This issue impacts different people in different ways. I am not here just for myself and my future. I am not even one of those that will be most affected by climate change. What will our underprivileged population do? What can they do when the worst of the climate crisis hits us? Where will they escape to?”
Anam Rathor, another organiser, demanded the government to honor its international commitments on climate justice by reducing its dependence on fossil fuel energy and move towards more sustainable forms of energy consumption.
In the end, the youth groups demanded climate action and climate justice from their government, corporations and businesses, and from governments around the globe.