The Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) expresses its deep concern regarding the current stalemate in talks between India and Pakistan. There is an apparent breakdown in the peace process since attacks on Mumbai on November 26 2008.
The leaders of both the countries, however, have had quite a few meetings on the sidelines of various summits in the last two years. The last meeting of Indian External Affairs Minister Mr. S M Krishna and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi held in Islamabad in July 2010, particularly had generated quite a lot of hope for restoration of the full dialogue process. Unfortunately, there was no breakthrough. Both the Foreign Ministers decided to meet again by the end of the year. But, now it seems that substantial progress will not be achieved in the near future.
We are reminded of Indian PM, Dr Manmohan Singh’s oft-made statement that ‘dialogue is the only way’ while Pakistan has been concerned about substantial gains from the process. We urge both the governments to immediately resume the full peace process. It is noteworthy that prior to attacks on Mumbai, we had four rounds of composite dialogue and fifth was on. The resumption of peace process will help not only citizens of India and Pakistan but whole of South Asia.
We also urge both the governments to revive the India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners set up by the Foreign Ministries. We also appeal that the unanimous recommendations of the Judicial Committee be implemented. The release of innocent fishermen and other civilian prisoners will help as a big CBM. We have verified list of 51 Pakistani nationals incarcerated in the Central Jail, Amritsar. Some of them have been in this jail since 1997. We are in possession of names of 50 Indian nationals in Pakistani jails. Among these is a person, who has already spent nearly 24 years in Central jail, Mianwali.
The forum further urges both the governments to liberalise the visa regime and make it stress-free in order to promote people-to-people interaction which will in turn make peace enduring.
The situation in Jammu & Kashmir is a matter of concern for all us. The protests movement spearheaded by the youth since June 2010 has been largely peaceful, It is unfortunate that stone throwing young boys have been shot and killed. During the past six months about 120 persons have been killed. While appreciating Government of India’s decision to appoint a team of three interlocutors, we urge the government to take more concrete steps like reducing the presence of security forces from the valley, removing the larger number of security bunkers from the urban areas and release all the persons arrested since June unconditionally. The Government needs to begin the process of punishing the erring members of the army and other security forces who have been implicated in enforced disappearances, custodial killings and torture. These steps will go a long way in reducing the mounting tension in the valley and in facilitating a meaningful dialogue the people and the interlocutors.
A meaningful involvement of the people of Jammu & Kashmir will be possible only when human rights violations in the region are stopped and justice issues are addressed. A peaceful and democratic initiative to resolve the Kashmir dispute is the urgent need of the day.. We further urge the government of India to resume dialogue with all sections of the Kashmiri society without pre-conditions. We also urge the Government of Pakistan to take immediate steps to stop militants from crossing the LoC and initiate a transparent and a democratic dialogue with the peoples of Azad Jammu and Kashmir so that their views and aspirations for the future of Kashmir may be freely articulated.
The Forum reiterates its position on the Jammu & Kashmir that ‘it is not a mere territorial dispute between India and Pakistan; the people of Jammu & Kashmir should be involved on both sides of the LoC in any dialogue process’.