The heads of two think tanks of India and Pakistan Friday condemned the July 13 Mumbai blasts that killed 21 innocent people and injured 140.
In a joint statement issued in Islamabad, Sherry Rehman and Amitabh Mattoo expressed solidarity with the victims’ families. Rehman is the President of Jinnah Institute, while Mattoo is the Director of Australia India Institute.
They hoped that the perpetrators would be brought to speedy justice and that the dialogue process between India and Pakistan will not be disrupted. Rehman said that the people of Pakistan stand in solidarity with their Indian neighbours in the time of this grave tragedy, having already suffered severe damage at the hands of terrorism.
They said Pakistan and India had been making steady progress in the bilateral dialogue process recently, and were poised to hold substantive talks at the ministerial level on key issues including trade, terrorism and Kashmir.
Progress on fronts for mutual cooperation is more likely to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on both sides of the border. They urged both countries to work hard at confronting terrorists together and sapping them of the hate-based ideologies these groups draw strength from.
Jinnah Institute and Professor Amitabh Mattoo have been leading a programme of track-II dialogue between high level policy makers from India and Pakistan, where policymakers from both sides of the border had consistently warned against the possibility of such events. Based on recommendations from this dialogue, Rehman and Mattoo stressed that this is just the kind of upturn in peace that terrorists wish to sabotage.
And a post-Mumbai like break in cooperation and communication between the two countries would benefit neither stat, they said. They stressed that it is essential to keep channels of communication open and encourage intelligence and information sharing between the two states. They also emphasised the need to develop joint counterterrorism strategies and crisis protocols to combat the network of terrorist groups working in the region.
Given the immense power of public platforms as either peace multipliers or threat escalators, they advised all public figures to demonstrate responsibility and work towards ways forward.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ