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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 42 New Delhi October 8, 2016

Restart the Dialogue Process: No Alternative to Normalising the Situation - PIPFPD’s Call to Leaderships in India, Pakistan

Sunday 9 October 2016

The Pakistan-India Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) notes with concern the escalation of jingoism both in the use of language as well as actions by India and Pakistan in recent times. The announcement of ‘surgical’ strike by the Indian Army across the border inside the territory of Pakistan Administered Kashmir in which it claims to have killed 35 ‘militants’, is an unacceptable action in gross violation of established international law and the objectives of the United Nations. Though Pakistan has claimed that the Indian Army’s claim of the ‘surgical operation’ is a ‘false claim’, the truth remains shrouded in propaganda and counter-propaganda which is the hall-mark of a war-like situation, What is known is that villagers from Uri across the LoC and the international border in Punjab in the plains are abandoning their homes and hearths and have started moving from their villages in search of safe sanctuary.

The Indian Government’s threat to scrap the Indus Water Treaty is not only a gross violation of the rights of the lower riparian state, its cancellation will create a massive humanitarian disaster leading to collapse of agriculture and supply of drinking water in several parts of Pakistan It will be a crime against humanity as it will punish millions of innocent civilians.

We, the members of Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy, strongly condemn the manner in which both India and Pakistan are using the tragedy of Kashmir as a political weapon to berate each other in the UN Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly. It is an attempt to completely deny the legitimacy of the struggle of the Kashmiri people to protect their cultural, linguistic and social identity and self-rule.

We urge the leaderships of the two countries to restart the process of dialogue as there is no other way to normalising the situation. We also appeal to the people striving for peace to make their voices heard loudly. Let us as citizens of the two countries get together to create an atmosphere where our children can live in peace and not be impelled to take the path to violence.

Asha Hans, Anuradha Bhasin (Co-Chairpersons,PIPFPD India), Jatin Desai (General Secretary,PIPFPDIndia), I.A. Rehman (Chairperson, PIPFPD Pakistan)