Over 250 prominent Indians, Pakistanis sign powerful message for peace

Published: May 8, 2017
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Pervez Hoodhbhoy, Mahesh Batt, Kamla Bhasin and Asma Jahangir

Pervez Hoodhbhoy, Mahesh Batt, Kamla Bhasin and Asma Jahangir

Almost 250 prominent Pakistanis and Indians have come together to seek peace between the two neighbouring countries.

In a resolution, they call upon “both governments and their security establishments to take all steps possible towards improving relations.”

The statement was initiated on May 5 and since then nearly 250 thought-leaders, journalists, lawyers, activists, filmmakers, physicians and students have endorsed the privately-shared statement.

Islamabad keen on taking forward Pak-India relations through dialogue: Basit

The signatories recognise the interruption of dialogue between countries due to “jingoistic statements to militant attacks”. However, they now call upon governments of both countries to engage in ‘uninterrupted’ dialogue.

“The traditional response to such disruptions only strengthens those who want continued tensions between our two countries,” the statement read.

Calling for a peaceful subcontinent, the following are some of the demands made in the resolution.

1. Develop an institutionalised framework to ensure that continuous and uninterrupted talks between India and Pakistan take place regularly no matter what. Make dialogue un-interrupted and un-interruptible.

2. Ensure that political leaders, diplomats and civil servants from both countries conduct talks on the side-lines of all international and multilateral forums.

3. Recognise that the Kashmir dispute above all concerns the lives and aspirations of the Kashmiri people, and work to resolve it through uninterrupted dialogue between all concerned parties.

4. Implement the 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.

5. 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.

6. 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 further taken forward to allow visa-free travel between India and Pakistan.

7. Increase trade and economic linkages and cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan.

The signatories also asked media houses to “prevent the growing militarisation of debate”. They further asked for a stop to the propagation of hate speech aimed at the other country.

While signatories on both sides know that this statement won’t affect policy between both the countries, they hope it will “serve as a pebble thrown in a pond that will have a ripple effect.”

From Pakistan, prominent names included, Kishwar Naheed (poet), Asma Jahangir (advocate Supreme Court), Afrasiyab Khattak (ex-Senator), Raza Rumi (Editor Daily Times), Dr Pervez Hoodhboy (physicist/teacher), Karamat Ali (Executive Director PILER), Dr. Ayesha Jalal (Writer/Professor of History), Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa (scholar), Beena Sarwar (journalist), Bushra Gohar (politician, activist), Anis Haroon (activist), Jibran Nasir (activist), Adil Najam (academician), Asma Shirazi (TV anchor), Air Vice Martial Shehzad Chaudhry, Taimur Rahman (Assistant Professor LUMS) and Nasim Zehra (journalist/TV anchor).

India willing to build ties with Pakistan in a terror-free environment: Mukherjee

From India, the prominent signatories included Mani Shankar Aiyar (writer, former parliamentarian), Mahesh Bhatt (film producer), Prem Shankar Jha (journalist, columnist), Seema Mustafa (journalist), Kamla Bhasin (activist), Kavita Krishnan (Secretary All India Progressive Women’s Association), Anuradha Bhasin (Co-chair Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy), Admiral L. Ramdas (former Chief of Naval Staff) and Gen. Tej Kaul (Executive President of India Pakistan Soldiers Initiative for Peace (IPSI).

The resolution’s full text can be read here.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • [email protected]
    May 8, 2017 - 2:33PM

    FYI, common liberal Indians respect and love the Pakistani liberals but do not trust the Indian pseudo-liberals. The liberal Pakistanis should reach out to other common liberal Indians. That will be more effective than going through these tarnished middle-men.Recommend

  • Farooq Ahmed
    May 8, 2017 - 3:25PM

    Salute to all individuals and leaders advocating peace and dialogue Recommend

  • Javed Iqbal Agha
    May 8, 2017 - 3:33PM

    There are millions of citizens on both sides needing clean potable water, actual toilets,
    better healthcare, better education, etc etc

    People of Kashmir deserve peace as well.
    Any injustice cannot continue.Recommend

  • Lorie
    May 8, 2017 - 3:35PM

    This the best solutions in both countries……world peace…Recommend

  • Dr. Saleem Siddiqi
    May 8, 2017 - 3:39PM

    People on both sides need peace but extremists especially from Indian side have another Agenda.
    Hope sanity shall prevail and people may able to voice their majority so that both these neuclar states may come to the table.

    Regards
    Dr. Saleem SiddiqiRecommend

  • Sultan Alvi
    May 8, 2017 - 4:05PM

    Good gesture, It has my full support. This list should be made available on the internet for ordinary citizens to sign and show their support for peace.Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    May 8, 2017 - 7:30PM

    Do these so called prominent Pakistani personalities like

    Madam Asma Jehangir, Pervez Hodbhoy etc. ever bother

    utter a single word against Indian torture and

    killing of unarmed Kashmiri boys and girls?Recommend

  • Retired
    May 8, 2017 - 9:41PM

    Peace is the only way forward …. South Asia has the highest number of malnourished, out of school children after Sub-Saharan Africa. Even south east Asian states like Cambodia and Vietnam, devastated by war in the 70’s are miles ahead of Pakistan in exports, income, health and education.

    Stop this mindlessness and solve people’s problems. If Germany and France can resolve their differences after brutal wars lasting well over a century why can’t we?

    Almost all countries of the world, even developed and high income, have border disputes and contentious territories. USA and Mexico, France and Germany,Turkey and Greece, Gibraltar between Spain and Britain …. I can go on and on and on! Dispute does not mean 1.5 billion people should remain hostage, deprived of basic human amenities while a small majority saber rattles and cries for war! Recommend

  • Birahmani Ghulam Haider
    May 10, 2017 - 1:26PM

    Dear Madam/Sir,

    Kindly share with me regular news alerts and enlist me member

    Thanks and regards.

    Birahmani Ghulam Haider Recommend

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