New Delhi, May 7: Perturbed over the increasing tensions between India and Pakistan, prominent personalities including former parliamentarian Mani Shankar Aiyer, retired bureaucrat Harsh Mander, advocate Asma Jahangir, historians Ayesha Jalal and K N Panikkar, and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt issued a joint statement appealing the governments of both countries to make dialogue an “un-interrupted and un-interruptible process” for a lasting peace. The statement noted that the dialogue has been interrupted whenever some form of disruption takes place ranging from jingoistic statements to militant attacks. Also Read - Delhi Violence: Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Activist Harsh Mander's Plea, Pulls Him up for 'Provocative Speech'
Here’s the full statement Also Read - Delhi Violence: SC to Hear Plea Seeking Hate Speech FIRs Against BJP Leaders on March 4
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. Also Read - 'Civil Disobedience': Activist Harsh Mander Says Will Officially Register as Muslim if CAB Passed
We condemn all forms of violence regardless of its objectives.
Deeply concerned at the current rise in animosity and antagonism between India and Pakistan, we urge both governments and their security establishments to take all steps possible towards improving relations.
We note that whenever it seems that relations might improve, some form of disruption takes place ranging from jingoistic statements to militant attacks. The traditional response to such disruptions only strengthens those who want continued tensions between our two countries.
We move this Resolution towards a peaceful subcontinent and make the following demands to the governments of India and Pakistan, urging them to:
- 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.
- Ensure that political leaders, diplomats and civil servants from both countries conduct talks on the side-lines of all international and multilateral forums.
- 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.
- Implement the 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.
- 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.
- 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.
- Increase trade and economic linkages and cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan.
Further, we pledge to uphold the principles of impartial reporting and urge media houses on either side to prevent the growing militarisation of debate. We must act responsibly and stop broadcasting hate speech and creating public hysteria aimed at the other country and/or vulnerable communities.