Joint Statements from AHRC and 50 Indo-Pak Scholars and Activists

Posted: 2 December 2008 by Little Alex in India-Pakistan; 26/11, International Affairs
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,



The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on the Mumbai attacks:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-305-2008
December 02, 2008

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

INDIA: ‘Super cop’ is no solution to terrorist threat

The Mumbai terrorist attack was one more occasion for the Indian politicians to call for calm, peace and national unity. Political parties like the Communist Party of India (Marxist) convened a special Politburo session and repeated the rhetoric, in addition to demanding that the Government of India approach the UN Security Council. The Hindu fundamentalists like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made use of the incident to stir up further anti-Pakistan, essentially anti-Muslim, sentiments.

The Union Home Minister Mr. Shivraj V Patil resigned. The Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh convened urgent meetings with high-ranking officers, ministers and defence chiefs. The meeting decided to speed-up the formation of a Federal Investigation Agency and to set up four new centres of the National Security Guards (NSG) in the country.

The final word was that of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Indian National Congress. Mrs. Gandhi gave the ultimatum that her party will tolerate no more terrorism and called upon the Indians to eradicate it from the country. The question is whether the Government of India has any responsibility to prevent such incidents, or whether the people has to embark upon justice delivery themselves? [read full statement]

A diverse group of Indo-Pak scholars and activists have also signed and released a joint statement in India and Pakistan on 30 Nov 2008 to the press:

Mumbai bloodbath
We are deeply shocked and horrified at the bloody mayhem in Mumbai, which has claimed more than a hundred and ninty lives and caused grievous injuries to several hundred people, besides sending a wave of panic and terror across South Asia and beyond. We convey our profound feelings of sorrow and sympathies to the grieving families of the unfortunate victims of this heinous crime and express our solidarity with them.

As usual, all sorts of speculations are circulating about the identity of the perpetrators of this act of barbarism. The truth about who are directly involved in this brutal incident and who could be the culprits behind the scene is yet to come out and we do not wish to indulge in any guesswork or blame game at this point. However, one is intrigued at its timing. Can it be termed a coincidence that it has happened on the day the Home Secretaries of the two countries concluded their talks in Islamabad and announced several concrete steps to move forward in the peace process, such as the opening of several land routes for trade – Kargil, Wagah-Attari, Khokhropar etc –, relaxation in the visa regime, a soft and liberal policy on the issue of release of prisoners and joint efforts to fight terrorism? Again, is it just a coincidence that on this fateful day the Foreign Minister of Pakistan was in the Indian capital holding very useful and productive talks with his Indian counterpart? One thing looks crystal clear. The enemies of peace and friendship between the two countries, whatever be the label under which they operate, are un-nerved by these healthy developments and are hell bent on torpedoing them.

We are of the considered opinion that the continued absence of peace in South Asia – peace between and within states – particularly in relation to India and Pakistan , is one of the root causes of most of the miseries the people of the region are made to endure. It is the major reason why our abundantly resource-rich subcontinent is wallowing in poverty, unemployment, disease, and ignorance and why militarism, religious and sectarian violence and political, economic and social injustice are eating into the very vitals of our societies, even after more than six decades of independence from colonial rule.

At this moment of unmitigated tragedy, the first thing we call upon the Governments of India and Pakistan to do is to acknowledge the fact that the overwhelming majority of the people of India and Pakistan ardently desire peace and, therefore, the peace process must be pursued with redoubled speed and determination on both sides. The sooner the ruling establishments of India and Pakistan acknowledge this fact and push ahead with concrete steps towards lasting peace and harmony in the subcontinent, the better it will be not only for the people of our two countries but also for the whole of South Asia and the world. While the immediate responsibility for unmasking the culprits of Mumbai and taking them to task surely rests with the Government of India, all of us in South Asia have an obligation to join hands and go into the root causes of why and how such forces of evil are motivated and emboldened to resort to such acts of anti-people terror.

It is extremely important to remind the leaderships of Pakistan and India that issuing statements and signing agreements and declarations will have meaning only when they are translated into action and implemented honestly, in letter and spirit and without any further loss of time. It assumes added urgency in the prevailing conditions in South Asia , with the possibility that so many different forces prone to religious, sectarian and other forms of intolerance and violence may be looking for ways to arm themselves with more and more sophisticated weapons of mass murder and destruction. The bloodbath in Mumbai must open the eyes of our governments, if it has not already happened.

We urge upon the governments of India and Pakistan to immediately take the following steps:

  1. Cessation of all hostile propaganda against each other;
  2. Joint action to curb religious extremism of all shades in both countries;
  3. Continue and intensify normalization of relations and peaceful resolution of all conflicts between the two countries;
  4. Facilitation of trade and cooperation between the two countries and in all of South Asia. We welcome the fact that the Srinagar-Muzaffarab ad and Poonch-Rawlakot borders have been opened for trade and that the opening of the road between Kargil and Skardu is in the pipeline.
  5. Immediate abolition of the current practice of issuing city-specific and police reporting visa and issue country-valid visa without restrictions at arrival point, simultaneously initiating necessary steps to introduce as early as possible a visa-free travel regime, to encourage friendship between the peoples of both countries;
  6. Declaration by India and Pakistan of No First Use of atomic weapons;
  7. Concrete measures towards making South Asia nuclear-free;
  8. Radical reduction in military spending and end to militarisation.




Comments
  1. […] free trade, Pat Buchanan’s article making the case that war is what terrorists want, and pleas from regional organizations and scholars to not feed that terrorist propaganda with more […]

  2. Kamran Islam says:

    Peace process should not be held hostage: PIPFPD

    The joint statement was issued by Tapan Kumar Bose, General Secretary, PIPFPD (India chapter) and Anis Haroon, General Secretary, PIPFPD (Pakistan Chapter) on 6-7 December 2008 at Delhi (India)

    “We stand united with the people of Pakistan in condemning terrorism, religious fundamentalism, state terrorism and all other forms of violence against the peoples of South Asia and the world. We unequivocally condemn the terror attacks that have taken place in India and Pakistan, especially in Mumbai, Delhi, Malegaon, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad. We grieve with the families of the bereaved and injured in these attacks. We want that perpetrators of all such crimes against humanity be brought to book and tried through the due process of law, and to ensure that the knee jerk temptation to target particular communities is resisted and there is no miscarriage of justice.”
    The resolution further said:
    “We stand united with the people of Pakistan in urging both the governments of India and Pakistan to desist from surrendering to war hysteria and the politics of hate. At this critical juncture it is all the more necessary to continue with the peace process and defeat the intentions of those who are determined to derail it and thereby undermine not only peace but also democracy.”
    “We reiterate that progress in the implementation of the agreed confidence building measures and the composite peace dialogue are necessary for developing trust between the two countries so as to pave the way for de-militarisation and entrenching democracy and people’s genuine progress,” the resolution further said adding that this alone can save
    South Asia from forces of terrorism and fundamentalism.
    “We appeal to the governments of India and Pakistan to allow the delegation of PIPFPD-India to go to Pakistan for the VIII Joint Convention of PIPFPD to be held in Lahore, from December 27 to December 29.”

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