3rd August 1987: The Nagarparkar Declaration

A statement by the people on the development of the Thar region, Sind, Pakistan:

  1. We, the residents of Nagarparkar and of the Thar region, and development specialists in different disciplines based in various cities of Pakistan alongwith citizens resident in other parts of Pakistan, constituting the first-ever such group of people to meet together in Nagarparkar on this the third day of August, 1987 do hereby affirm that on the basis of existing research and data and on the basis of our own survey of parts of the region, the Thar is potentially a productive region whose resources in people, agriculture, livestock and minerals, if properly developed, with people’s participation, can establish an enduring basis for a self-supporting economy which is not entirely dependent on rainfall and which enables optimum employment and high productivity contributing to the economic progress of Sind and of Pakistan.
  2. At a time when both Sind province and Pakistan have many priorities competing for limited resources, the Thar region nevertheless deserves special attention because:
    • in comparison to other parts of Sind, the Thar region suffers severe disparities.
    • whereas 30 per cent of Sind’s population has convenient and quick access to drinking water, only 6 per cent of the Thar population has similar access.
    • whereas about 35 per cent of Sind’s population falls below the poverty line , over 80 percent of the Thar population is below the poverty line.
    • whereas a dispensary is available in the rest of Sind for every 7,000 persons, in Thar there is one dispensary for every 13,000 persons.
    • whereas literacy in Sind is 31 per cent, in the Thar region it is only 13 per cent.
    • whereas the length of metalled roads in the rest of Sind is 0.05 km., for every 10 sq.km., in the Thar it is less than 0.02 km.
    • the Thar already makes a significant contribution to the Sind economy by providing about one-third of its livestock and yet the Thar receives, in return, a proportionately low investment in basic services.
    • given even modest infrastructural support, the Thar region can increase the variety and volume of its contribution to the economic progress of the province and the country.
  3. Presently, the Thar region is suffering one of the worst periods of its history. Sustained drought over the past 4 years has further highlighted the absence of infrastructural facilities and the difficulties of access to all parts of the Thar.
  4. A potent threat to the ecology of the area has also emerged.
  5. There is widespread human malnutrition and under-nutrition.
  6. The livestock of Thar is experiencing starvation the people are next in line.
  7. The children of Thar, who have an equal right to the basic protection from disease and infection already available to children in other regions of Pakistan, personify the deep agony
    of the Thar.
  8. The cause of the Thar region is a supreme national concern that transcends all political divisions and personal differences all who care can cooperate in relevant, practical action to provide immediate relief, medium-term support and longterm development planning.
  9. While immediate action is required to render desperately needed aid there is also needed, with equal urgency, a comprehensive review of mediumterm and long-term development programmes in order that they reflect accurately up-dated, on-theground reality and in order that they meet the genuine
    needs of the people.
  10. The situation demands the mobilization and active participation of the people in the process of development. The solution lies in an unprecedented degree of constructive cooperation between institutions and individuals, at the grass-roots level in the Thar region and at all other levels in the district, division, province and country.
  11. To do justice to the demands of the situation, there is required a new people’s development alliance, a framework within which one and all are able to
    work together:
    a the people themselves, rural-based and urbanbased
    b all specialist government line departments
    c Sind Arid Zone Development Authority
    d Local Bodies
    e official administrative system.
    f international aid agencies
    g national and local institutions
    h concerned citizens
    i development specialists

    The coordination required between so many different sectors is a complex challenge but it is one that has to be attempted because it is only through such cooperation that the people will be able to attain a decent standard of living. We therefore hereby establish the Thar chapter of a people’s development alliance.

  13. On the basis of our observation, investigation and discussions, we recommend that specified measures be implemented to help the Thar region and the Thar people to take their rightful place in national progress.
  14. On behalf of the residents of the Thar:
    Nur Mohammad Shah
    M. Usman
    Nawaz Khoso
    Abdul Karim
    Wali Mohammad Balouch
    Ms. Leero
    Abdul Latif
    Ashraf Ali
    Soonar A. Kumar
    and Lal Khan

On behalf of the urban-based specialists: Dr. A. Ghaffar Billoo, Dr. Hussain Buksh Kolachi, Dr. Farida Yasmin, Dr. Qurrat-ul-Ain Bakhteari, Professor G. Mastoi, Dr. Laique Azam (Late), Professor Ghous Buksh Isani, Mrs. Manizeh Tariq Hussain and Senator Javed Jabbar.

The workshop has recommended immediate measures, i.e. by December 31, 1987.

In the next 8 weeks, the workshop will release:

recommended medium-term measures, i.e. during the 7th Five-Year Plan, 1988-93 and long-term planning prinicples, i.e. for implementation by the year 2000.