Online Campaign Urging India, Pakistan to Improve Relations Gains Momentum

Date:

Candle Light Vigil on the India-Pakistan Wagah Attari /Border in Amritsar

After passing a resolution in this regard by a group of individuals who have come together in loose cross-border solidarity coalition called  themselves as “Peace-mongers” (Aman Parast)  launched an online signature campaign a few days ago.  The campaign has been gaining momentum as it has drawn signatories from India, Pakistan, and beyond, ranging from artists, journalists and filmmakers to lawyers, historians and physicians, to retired army generals and officers, politicians, economists, and students.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Concerned with the rising tensionS between India and Pakistan which is threatening to spiral out of control, over 800 thought leaders including senior retired army officers, former diplomats and prominent people from all walks of life from both the sides of border on Tuesday urged both the governments to “to take all steps possible towards improving relations” and to “develop an institutionalized framework” for ensuring harmonious and uninterrupted dialogue process.

After passing a resolution in this regard by a group of individuals who have come together in loose cross-border solidarity coalition called  themselves as “Peace-mongers” (Aman Parast)  launched an online signature campaign a few days ago.  The campaign has been gaining momentum as it has drawn signatories from India, Pakistan, and beyond, ranging from artists, journalists and filmmakers to lawyers, historians and physicians, to retired army generals and officers, politicians, economists, and students.

The resolution titled as “Resolution for peaceful relations between India and Pakistan”, states:

“In the 70 years since independence and Partition, the people of India and Pakistan have seen too many conflicts and the loss of many valuable lives. Enough of the distrust and tensions. Those who suffer particularly are ordinary people denied visas and those in the conflict zones, especially women and children as well as fishermen who get routinely rounded up and arrested for violating the maritime boundary.”

It also recognized the Kashmir dispute as major source of tension between India and Pakistan and urged both the nations to resolve it with uninterrupted dialogue with all stake holders.

“The signatories call for implementing the 2003 ceasefire agreement and recognizing that “the Kashmir dispute above all concerns the lives and aspirations of the Kashmiri people”. They urge policy makers to work to resolve it through uninterrupted dialogue between all parties concerned”.

The resolution’s subtitle “Make dialogue uninterrupted and uninterruptible”  borrowed from Indian politician and former diplomat Mani Shankar Aiyar’s phrase  that “Every time there is a move towards improving relations, some form of disruption takes place ranging from jingoistic statements to militant attacks,” and initiated in the backdrop of a series of events in recent weeks goes on, “The traditional response to such disruptions only strengthens those who want continued tensions between our two countries”.

It also urges both the countries to “develop an institutionalized framework to ensure that continuous and uninterrupted talks between India and Pakistan take place regularly no matter what” and renounce “all forms of proxy wars, state-sponsored terrorism, human rights violations, cross-border terrorism, and subversive activities against each other, including through non-state actors or support of separatist movements in each other’s state”.

Opposing the harsh visa regime, the resolution calls upon both the countries to “support and encourage all forms of people-to-people contact, and remove visa restrictions and discrimination faced by citizens of both countries”. This must be taken further “to allow visa-free travel between India and Pakistan”. The two countries must “increase trade and economic linkages and cultural exchanges”, it stresses.

The resolution endorsed by eminent Urdu poet and filmmaker Gulzar, Fahmida Riaz, K. Satchidanandan, Kishwar Naheed, Kamla Bhasin, Adil Jussawala, Bina Sarkar Ellias, and Harris Khalique, Prof Noam Chomsky, singer Shubha Mudgal, writer Nayantara Sahgal, historians like Romila Thapar, K. N. Panikkar, Mubarak Ali, Ayesha Jalal, and Uma Chakravarti, to politicians like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Omar Abdullah, Salman Anees Soz, Afrasiab Khattak, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and Hasil Bizenjo, rights activists like Asma Jahangir, Harsh Mander and Sandeep Pandey, and economists like Prabhat Patnaik and S.M. Naseem. Besides this, retired army officers including Air vice Marshal Kapil Kak,   Sqn. Ldr. Anil Sehgal, Col. N. N. Bhatia, Navy Capt Joginder Singh, Navy Cdr Atul Bharadwaj, Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh, and from Pakistan Gen. Talat Masood, Gen. Mahmud Ali Durrani, PAF Air Vice Marshal Shehzad Chaudhry, and Lt Col Nadir Ali have endorsed the resolution.

Dozens of top journalists have endorsed the resolution which contains the pledge to “act responsibly and stop broadcasting hate speech and creating public hysteria aimed at the other country and/or vulnerable communities.”

Prominent people from countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have also endorsed the resolution, indicating the impact of relations between the two South Asian giants in the region.

The signatories’ list, updated daily online by volunteers at various websites including Aman ki Asha (www.amankiasha.com) includes eminent visual artists like Salima Hashmi.

theclarionindia
theclarionindiahttps://clarionindia.net
Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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