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Aaghaz-e-Dosti appeals for peace over escalation in ceasefire violations


Aaghaz-e-Dosti appeals for peace over escalation in ceasefire violations

The youth led voluntary initiative for Indo-Pak Friendship, Aaghaz-e-Dosti (li. Beginning of friendship) expresses concern over increased incidents of ceasefire violations between the two countries across Line of Control.

‘’We believe that governments of the two countries are capable enough to engage in dialogue with each other and should do their best efforts to reduce these incidents of violations and cross border firings till the extent that it should not happen at all. Such cross border firings often result as fatal to soldiers and civilians on both sides and both countries must understand the pain and suffering of these soldiers and civilians who are human being. ‘’

For countries like India and Pakistan where there is glorification of war and where common people love their country and its soldiers beyond all limits, such ceasefire violations are more dangerous. However, it is the responsibility of respective governments that without compromising to any glory or honor; dialogues, negotiations and diplomatic steps should be taken to avoid any loss to lives of soldiers on both sides.

Another constituency of affected people is of those who live in border areas. There are media reports available that even children have been died as they got trapped in these firings. Many houses have been made damaged on both sides despite a considerable number of population live on both sides of line.

Aaghaz-e-Dosti highly appreciate governments’ initiative during 2003 when ceasefire violations were brought down through a mutually agreed agreement between the two governments and their armies and we are highly hopeful that the same should be done by the present governments on both sides. Aaghaz-e-Dosti express its hope with the leadership of both sides in Governments, Diplomatic Missions and Armed forces who can definitely bring down these violations through initiating and establishing dialogue process. Meetings of two NSAs also bring some hope to us for its positive results are yet to come on ground and most required on border where lives of innocent people are on stake.

Aaghaz-e-Dosti also appeals with Governments of India and Pakistan to resume meeting of DGMOs of both sides and to remove heavy casualty arms and ammunition from front lines from both sides as its immediate availability and use would only result in more casualties. Being a most volatile start in 2018, escalated incidents of ceasefire violations must be brought down with efforts of governments and people. 

We at Aaghaz-e-Dosti believe that our efforts in fostering people to people relations would continue. We are the youth group who believe in ideology of peace and love. On one side, we are deeply distressed upon the disappearance of our member Raza Khan in Pakistan, however our hope still remains with the Government of Pakistan as we feel that Government would do its best efforts to protect peace workers. However, our commitment to peace is undeterred and without any fear and we feel that being voice of youths, who are in majority in both countries, our voice will be heard by leaders on both sides and effective steps will be taken in welfare of humanity and with the vision of long lasting relations of two countries. Doing this would save much lives from both sides and will be a real service to people. 

Issued by

Aaghaz-e-Dosti Team

News published on:

The Nation (Pakistan)

Rising Kashmir

Kashmir Times

Kashmir Pen


Aaghaz-e-Dosti appeals to the Governments of India and Pakistan to Stop Ceasefire Violations

Aaghaz-e-Dosti appeals to the Governments of India, Pakistan to stop ceasefire violations and restore Peace across LoC

Photo Source: IB Times

We, at Aaghaz-e-Dosti are common people, mostly youth, of India and Pakistan, who are concerned about recent unfortunate developments across LoC wherein incidents of ceasefire violations have been widely reported on both sides. This exchange of fire has claimed lives of armed forces personnel and even of civilians on both sides. We are deeply disturbed by reports that border villages have been affected with such cross-border fire where even houses have been damaged. 

On the Indian side, it is said that over 1000 people have been evacuated from border villages to provide them with safe living areas, and approximately 87 schools have been shut including 51 in Nowshera sector and 36 in Manjakote and Doongi zone. With the shut down of schools, approximately 4600 students are affected.  It is said that firing from long range mortars and automatic weapons are still continuing. 

On the Pakistan side, it is said that unprovoked firing from India has resulted in the loss of civilian lives and injury to few others. It is said that the Indian side violated ceasefire in sectors mainly in Karela, Kotkotterra, Sabzkot, Baroh, Tandar, Khanjar. 

We need to understand that an entire population living in the vicinity of LoC is tramautised by such violations that can start at any point in time.

We appeal to the governments and security forces of both sides to find measures to stop these violations, to restore peace and to respect ceasefire agreement of 2003. 

We also firmly believe that beheading and mutiliation of soldiers must be stopped, and strict instructions to security forces by governments must be given against such acts.

Civilian population on both sides of the LoC desire and deserve peace, while their lives depend on the peaceful relations between the two nations. 

We believe that governments on both sides are capable of taking effective and positive measures in this regard. We remember that various effective, people friendly measures such as ceasefire agreement, dosti bus service, samjhauta express train service, cross LoC trade routes opening etc have been taken in the past by governments of both sides, and there are so many things that still remain that need to be done in the larger interest of the people, especially for those who are directly affected by such violations.    

We have all the faith in our governments and we believe that their concerned officials may have been working on restoring the peace. Yet, through this appeal, we would like to convey our request and the desire of millions of people, especially the young whose future needs to be respected and safeguarded, to strengthen the strife for peace across borders.

 Issued by

Aaghaz-e-Dosti Team

The Border Clash And Jingoism: We Don’t Have To Pacify Ourselves But Realise

by Devika Mittal

It was a happy day for some of us who had gone to kotla stadium on the last match of the T20 series between India and Pakistan with our face painted in flag colours of both countries, displaying poster and distributing pamphlets with messages of peace and friendship to the cricket fans of both countries. We were moved by the appreciation that we got, especially from people from Pakistan. Some of them had themselves came to us, introduced and asked for the pamphlet. Our event, under the initiative of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, turned out to be a huge success even on social networking sites and was picked up by some major news portals.

It was deeply satisfying and paid off our labour as we thought that we have started on our journey to move for a better future together. But two or three days later, the media reported the border clash but initially, I had not imagined how it would change things overnight. The social networking sites became another battlefield. Status messages and comment thread, the “shared photo culture” developed by Facebook pages and new pages devoted to questioning peace initiatives, digging old graves, debating if India is a “soft” state or if India always stabs Pakistan(by the Pakistan side) and poems dedicated to soldiers and the army.

It was and is all over – on the news channels ofcourse, endless news debates but almost all debating if we should continue the ties or not, on Facebook posts, in Facebook pages and ofcourse in the tea-time discussions. Following the clash, there have also been innumerable articles generally by what is known as yellow journalism challenging and finding the loopholes in all the claims starting from the report of beheading to the role of a third party to manipulate the politics in its own favour.

But the question no longer is about who started it and did it involve beheading or not because the damage has already been done. What has sadly come out of this is the notion that it’s only “we” who want peace and that “they” have always stabbed “us”. This notion exists on both sides of the border.

And this notion is enough to persist another decade of hatred and suspicion. People on both sides have sided with the army that have otherwise, accounted for human rights’ violations and with the politicians whom we refuse to accept as our representatives. They refuse to see any “anti-nation” sentiment. And once again, the “nation” as an identity has become important surpassing the individual and the individual opinion and desire. The peace activists or anyone with a voice of dissent are once again seen as not only “anti-nation” but as passive, ideal and those who have not seen the “reality”. This article is not to pacify anyone or to convince. It is only to bring out some “realities” which cannot be challenged.

This is based on my own personal observations and on the articles that I have come across. If I talk about the articles, I have read many articles which have brought out the loopholes in the theories put forward by both the countries. There have been questioning of the hazy and inconsistent reporting by the army on both sides, loopholes in the reports and questions for media to have covered issues which have shown India or Pakistan only in a bad light. This brings us to one fact that the truth is partial. None of us can claim to know the truth. There is a need to establish a neutral news source accepted by both countries.

For those who feel that peace is only the desire of one side is mistaken. To begin with, if this was true, Aman ki Asha would not have received equal appreciation on the other side of the border. Coming to my personal observations, I have been following the posts and tweets of people of across the border (Pakistan) and have some interesting revelations. It is true that some of them, like some of us, have tagged peace initiatives as bogus and indulge in a sort-of “godification” of army generals and soldiers. But it is also true that many have also condemned this incident. I have some friends there and there has been no change in the nature of our interaction. I also came across a facebook post today by someone asking if peace should be continued with India? I found the very status very interesting as the same question is posed by most of us as in this status, there is an assumption that “we” are peaceful. Most of the comments favoured yes. There was a comment that said that we should, if they also do the same. Those who said no had also added reasons stating how India has often stabbed back or because they do not want peace. It was essential to give this “private” post as it reveals some facts and demands an action.

We and here I mean the people or anyone who likes to have an opinion should be critical of our own Government, media and army. On both sides, we need to accept that there are people who do not want peace, for their own motives. But more importantly, we need to accept that humanity is beyond boundaries. On both sides, there are humans and human lives. Those who want war or can even think of it should imagine what it is like to live in the bordered state. Or even ask an average soldier if he wants war. A soldier has seen a war and knows what it involves. But he takes part because he has to. A famous Bollywood movie, Heroes, puts it beautifully, “hum hamara kaam kar rahe hai aur wo wahan apna” (We are doing our work and they are doing theirs).Their duty is to defend their respective motherlands and they do that. And no-one thinks about them because if they did, they wouldn’t have asked for more hatred. War is not the solution to anyone, never has it been and will never be. It is true that “we” must not sit back if the “other” retaliates but we must do that in a constructive way because the fire will not just burn them.

We need to realise that there are people on both sides, there are “wounds” to be healed on both sides, sufferings, impartial truth and misunderstandings on both sides. People on both sides have their own challenges to meet. To an average Indian and Pakistani, earning their daily bread is much more important than demanding war. We have to realise… not to pacify ourselves but to realise.

Devika Mittal is a core member of Mission Bhartiyam and the convenor of Aaghaz-e-Dosti India. She tweets at @devikasmittal

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