At least 250 prominent Indians and Pakistanis have come together to promote peace and harmony between the two countries. In a resolution, these eminent people have called upon both the governments and their security establishments to take all steps possible towards restoring peace and 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. They have also urged both the governments to engage in ‘uninterrupted’ dialogue.
Here’re some of the demands made in the resolution.
1. Dialogue between India and Pakistan should be continuous and uninterrupted. “Make dialogue un-interrupted and un-interruptible,” reads the resolution.
2. It must be ensured that the political leaders, diplomats and civil servants from both countries should hold talks on the side-lines of all international and multilateral forums.
3. Both the countries should try to resolve the Kashmir issue and must recognise that the Kashmir dispute above all concerns the lives and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
4. 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.
5. Encourage people from both the countries to contact each other and remove visa restrictions and discrimination faced by citizens of both countries.
6. Increase trade and economic linkages and cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan.
While signatories on both sides know that this statement won’t affect policy between both the countries, but they hope that 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).
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).