SAHR-SAFMA Peace Mission to New Delhi
Let People Unite Against Terrorism and War
Lahore-New Delhi: 21-24 January 2009
The South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) and South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) have jointly decided to take a Peace Mission from Pakistan to New Delhi from 21st to 24th January 2009. The 19-Member Delegation will interact with civil society, media and political leadership of India to stress the need to keep the peace process going, jointly fight the scourge of terrorism at all levels and in every manner and avoid war in the best interest of the peoples of India and Pakistan. The Peace Mission will explore the possibilities of reciprocation by the civil society of India.
The Peace Mission condemns, unequivocally and unreservedly the November 26 terrorist attack in Mumbai as a most heinous crime against innocent people. We share the grief of the families of victims and the people of India whose friendship we cherish.
Unfortunately, this outrage has brought India and Pakistan to a dangerous crossroads and we hope we will not be diverted from the path of peace. The two countries must not allow the terrorists to hijack the peace agenda. They must resume the Composite Dialogue process, and the sooner the better. War or even a state of suspended hostility between India and Pakistan will blight the whole region’s future.
India’s rage after Mumbai was justified and the world had sympathy for it. When Pakistan revealed its hurt it didn’t wash with the world and ended with bringing Pakistan’s democratic experiment under tremendous strain. Unfortunately the media on both sides did not pay due heed to the long-term interests of the subcontinent’s teeming millions.
After passing through a denial mould, Pakistan has acknowledged that the surviving Mumbai raider came from Pakistan which it should have accepted much earlier. Subsequently, the interior ministry has ordered an investigation and vowed to bring the culprits to justice. We hope the investigation will be thorough and fair and the Pakistan establishment will take all possible measures not to let anyone use its soil for murderous games. Meanwhile, India must eschew anger and get Pakistan to engage in negotiations on the basis of verified facts of the Mumbai attack. Whoever planned the Mumbai carnage wanted to foment conflict between India and Pakistan and prevent the latter from securing peace in its north western regions. They did succeed partially, but they must not be allowed any further success.
We appreciate the role of the international community in helping to defuse the situation and yet the South Asian context remains relevant. It is important that both India and Pakistan accept a South Asian cooperative methodology of resolving inter-state disputes. The wisdom may not appear realistic at the moment but it is unassailable. We must insist on evolving a SAARC mechanism for looking after our common problems.
Mumbai should not threaten Indo-Pak relations, nor should it endanger South Asia. It should compel South Asia to seek solutions to problems that are bound to become more trans-border than they are now. Terrorism is spreading like a disease. It has engulfed Afghanistan, a SAARC member, and has spread to most of Pakistan too. Some traces of it are already visible in India where a majority of the South Asian population lives. Instead of accusing each other of terrorism, the SAARC states must get together and discuss it as a common problem. A regional consensus against terrorism and extremism and a common strategy to fight it – that is the only answer.
It is only in this context that SAARC states could ask one another for the surrender of terrorists guilty of cross-border outrages. There are two possible reactions to trouble as it looms on the horizon. One is to build high walls and block communication so that calamity stays on the other side of the border. This has not worked and may work even less in the days to come. The only casualties are the peace process and the truth. The other way is to open up the region to trade routes and transport networks allowing free movement of people, goods and information. The SAARC protocols on terrorism need to be made more effective.
The Mumbai attack was paradigmatic, which means patterns of behaviour must change fundamentally now for the sake of survival of SAARC states. This change cannot come through war. It must come through cooperation at both bilateral and regional levels. India and Pakistan must strengthen Joint Anti-terrorism mechanism. On the other hand, SAARC must evolve regional mechanisms and institutions to collectively fight terrorism, cross-border crimes, smuggling, narcotics trade and evolve a judicial forum to prosecute the terrorists and criminals wanted by one state or the other. We must forge friendship and burry the hatchet forever. We wish India well, so should you Pakistan. The people must unite against terrorism and war and persuade their governments to forge unity against the common enemy.
Imtiaz Alam Asma Jehangir,
Secretary General, SAFMA SAHR-HRCP, Pakistan
List of PEACE DELEGATION TO INDIA
- Mr. Haji Muhammad Adeel (Senator Awami National Party)
- Ms. Farzana Adeel (Wife)
- Mr. Ali Haroon Shah (former member Provincial Assembly & member of working committee PML N)
- Ms. Asma Jahangir (Chairperson HRCP)
- Mr. Ibn Abdur Rehman (IA Rehman) Senior Journalist & Bureau member of South Asian for Human Rights (SAHR)
- Ms. Salima Hashmi (Artist &Human Rights Activist)
- Mr. Iqbal Haider (former Senator, Law Minister & Co-chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
- Ms. Syeda Maimanat Mohsin (Jugnu Mohsin) (Publisher and editor Friday Times)
- Mr. Muhammad Tehseen ( Executive Director South Asia Partnership)
- Mr. Brig (r) Rao Abid (Peace activist)
- Mr. Dr. Abdul Hameed Nayyar (educationist research fellow SDPI)
- Ms. Samina Bano Rahman (Women’s Action Forum)
- Mr. Kamran Arif (HRCP & specialist on FATA and Northern Areas)
- Ms. Mussarrat Hilali (Vice Chair NWFP, of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan)
- Mr. Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed (former member National Assembly & PPP working committee)
- Mr. Imtiaz Alam (Executive Director SAFMA)
- Mr. Nusrat Javeed (Senior Journalist)
- Mr. Mustansar Javed (Senior Journalist)
- Mr. Munir Ahmed (Munoo Bhai) (Senior Columnist)
- Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi (Independent political and defense analyst)
For Media Coverage
Ms. Phyza Jameel (Bureau Chief CNBC Pakistan-Lahore)
Ms. Asma Sherazi (TV Journalist and encore person)