Appeal by People of India and Pakistan to stop ceasefire violations immediately and start dialogue
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister of Pakistan
This is difficult time to see disturbances along Line of Control where reports are coming of frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan and India that is resulting loss of lives of soldiers on both sides and also of civilians. It is also reported that people who are living nearby border areas are fleeing from their villages to save their lives.
It is said that this is first time when artillery used after the ceasefire agreement of year 2003. Reports are coming of civilians which include even school students who got stranded in their schools due to heavy shelling. Bunkers are being provided to villages. More than 400 incidents of violations have been recorded in this year 2018 only. Many schools have been closed, walls of schools and houses are damaged, agricultural fields are destroyed and studies are hampered. These all are in contrary to fewer such incidents in earlier years.
We, who are concerned about these frequent violations see that role of diplomats and political leaders of both sides are extremely important and crucial in this time. Many think tanks and experts found that engagement through dialogues with each other always help in reducing numbers and intensity of such violations. Retired officers of security forces also claim that in the absence of any diplomatic engagement, armies of both sides are bound to answer each other in their own way.
We have example of effective engagements of both sides during the year 2003 when despite earlier present vicious atmosphere, Government of both sides together took the role for the verbally announced agreement that brought down numbers of incident sharply from 8376 incidents in 2002 to almost Nil incidents during 2004 and 2005 and then only fewer violations in years.
We, who are citizens of India and Pakistan and support peace-building hereby appeal to Government of India and Pakistan:
- To start dialogue process between diplomats and political leaders of both sides immediately
- To start frequent meetings of DGMOs of both sides immediately
- To remove heavy shelling arms , artillery from front lines immediately
- To take immediate measures to stop ceasefire violations to protect lives of soldiers and civilians on both sides
- To bring a renewed ceasefire agreement by both sides in written form and with SoPs to guide security forces for steps to be taken
- To ensure safe living for border population, including opening of schools
- To provide compensation to farmers of both sides whose crops destroyed in shelling
- To provide special provisions , weightage and concessions to students whose studies affected due to shut down of schools for the reason of these violations
We appeal you with all hope that your effective steps would not only saves lives of people including soldiers, but would also develop a confidence among people on both sides that their leaders are capable to handle situation and care for people. We must remember that if dialogues can save even a single life, we must go on with dialogue without any ego. We are well wishers of democratic values and we want to see a developed, more engaged and peaceful South Asia which is not possible without efforts by Govt. of Pakistan and India considering Indo-Pak line as one of the heaviest military deployment and volatile region.
Endorsed by people of India and Pakistan:
|Aabida Ali||Activist||Karachi, Pakistan|
|Abha Bhaiya||Activist, feminist||Himachal Pradesh, India|
|Admiral L Ramdas||Former Chief of the Naval Staff, President Emeritus PIPFPD – Pakistan India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy and Patron – India-Pakistan Soldiers Initiative for Peace||Alibagh, India|
|Ali Abbas||Social Worker||Hyderabad, India|
|Aman Gupta||Software Developer||Hyderabad, India|
|Ammara Ahmad||Writer||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Amit Ranjan||Faculty Member||National University of Singapore|
|Anil Kr Singh||Academician||Faizabad, India|
|Anuradha Bhasin||Editor- Kashmir Times||J&K, India|
|Atiqa Shahid||Hum Sab Aik Hain||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Beena Sarwar||Peace Activist, Journalist, Editor-Aman ki Asha||USA|
|Bharat Bhushan||Journalist||New Delhi, India|
|Bhargavi||PIPFPD, India||Delhi, India|
|Bhawani Shanker Kusum||Sarvodaya Worker||Jaipur, India|
|Bina Sarkar Ellias||Writer, editor, publisher, international gallerie||Mumbai, India|
|Brig (Retd) Rahul Bhonsle||Retd Brigadier||Delhi, India|
|Chaman Lal||(Retd) Professor of JNU, Former President JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) and Fellow (Senator), Panjab University, Chandigarh||Punjab, India|
|Chintan Girish Modi||Peace educator||Mumbai, India|
|Devika Mittal||Convener-India, Aaghaz-e-Dosti||New Delhi, India|
|Dr. Dhananjay Tripathi||Assistant Professor, South Asian University||New Delhi, India|
|Dr. Jagjit Singh Sandal||Retd Officer, Airport Authority of India||Hosiarpur, Punjab, India|
|Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi||ED-PVCHR||Varanasi, India|
|Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat||Activist, Columnist and Founder – Jammu Kashmir RTI Movement||Srinagar, J&K,India|
|Dr. Sandeep Pandey||Activist, Founder-Asha Parivar||Lucknow, India|
|Dr. Walter Fernandes||Senior Fellow, North Eastern Social Research Centre||Guwahati, India|
|Harsh Narayan||Filmmaker & Creative Director||New Delhi, India|
|Hasnain Ashraf||Advocate, High Court||Punjab, Pakistan|
|Hayat Amiree||Social Worker||Delhi, India|
|Jawed Naqvi||Freelance Journalist||New Delhi, India|
|Kamayani Bali Mahabal||Advocate, Activist||Mumbai, India|
|Kapil Kak||Air Vice Marshal (retd), Member-Track-2 initiatives on India-Pakistan Relations||Delhi, India|
|Lalita Ramdas||Citizen – Educator – Peace Activist||Alibagh, Raigad, India|
|Meena Menon||Journalist||Mumbai, India|
|Mohd Tahseen||Human Rights Activist||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Nadeem||Social Activist||Lucknow, India|
|Obaid||Activist, Journalist||Lucknow, India|
|Pamela Chaterjee||Activist||Almora, Uttarakhand,India|
|Prakarsh||Social Activist||Gurgaon, India|
|Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy||Former Prof, JNU||New Delhi, India|
|Prof Anuradha Chenoy||Former Prof, JNU||New Delhi,India|
|Rafat||Social Activist||Lucknow, India|
|Ravi Nitesh||Founder-Mission Bhartiyam||Delhi, India|
|Raza Rumi||Editor Daily Times/Faculty Cornell Institute for Public Affairs||Newyork, USA|
|Reema Abbasi||Journalist and writer||Karachi, Pakistan|
|Ruchhita Kazaria||Aarcee Enterprises Advertising||Kolkata,India|
|S. K Singh||Social Activist||Faizabad, India|
|S. N. Subba Rao||Veteran Gandhian||Delhi, India|
|Saeeda Diep||Peace activist and executive director- Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS)||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Salima Hashmi||Artist, Educator, Curator, Writer||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Samir Gupta||IT Professional||Ghaziabad, India|
|Sarita Kumari Ghanerao||South Asian Women’s Network , Ex VP-All India Rajput Women’s Organisation||Pali, Rajasthan, India|
|Satyapaul||Secretary General- South Asian Fraternity||New Delhi, India|
|Sehyr Mirza||Independent Journalist||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Shahnawaz Alam||Social Activist||Lucknow, India|
|Sharad Patel||Social Activist||Lucknow, India|
|Sheema Kermani||Founder-Tehreek-e-Niswan||Karachi, Pakistan|
|Sheharyar Riizwan||Journalist||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Sonya Fatah||Assistant Professor, Ryerson University School of Journalism||Canada|
|Sushobha Barve||Peace Activist||Delhi, India|
|Swati Sharan||Peace activist||Hamilton, Canada|
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.
News published on:
The Nation (Pakistan) https://nation.com.pk/02-Mar-2018/aaghaz-e-dosti-urges-pakistan-india-to-reopen-diplomatic-channels?show=preview?unique_ID=636504300008702949
Rising Kashmir http://risingkashmir.com/news/aaghaz-e-dosti-urges-india-pak-to-reduce-loc-tension
Kashmir Times http://www.kashmirtimes.in/newsdet.aspx?q=76867
Kashmir Pen http://www.kashmirpen.com/aaghaz-e-dosti-appeals-for-peace-over-escalation-in-ceasefire-violations/
Poem on the death of a soldier in a ceasefire violation
by Ravi Nitesh (India)
Vo ek jawan jo kal tak mustaidee se khada tha wahan,
Vo hind ka ho ya pak ka, par data tha wahan,
Use sikhaaya tha tumne ki apnee zameen se pyaar karo,
Waqt aa jaaye toh apnee jaan desh par qurbaan karo,
Bade fakra se usne shareer par khaayeen goliyan,
Nahee maloom usko , ki siyasatein laga rahee boliyan,
Naam ram ho ya raheem ho, farak kya padta hai,
Sarhad-e-hind ho ya pak ho, farak kya padta hai,
Khoon wahee hai, rang wahee hoga,
Jis maa ne khoya beta, usko dard wahee hoga,
Tum uske dard se apna naata tod lete ho,
Sirf zameen ke waaste, insaniyat se muh mod lete ho..
India-Pakistan: Conquering Hatred
by Vidya Bhushan Rawat (India)
The biggest casualty of the Indo-Pakistan war mongering jingoism is the community of people who believe in people to people dialogue and have mutual admiration for art, culture and sports. Even when there is so much of air of distrust between the government, it need to be understood that Pakistan has not yet matured as democracy and its government continue to function under the watchful eyes of powerful military. The military get strength from being the most ‘efficient’ and ‘uncorrupted’ institution in Pakistan but the fact is that to get continuous legitimacy of political interventions, it is essential for it, to discredit the political class as a whole and therefore find a route to stage a well-orchestrated coup.
Many of us feel proud for our track record as a ‘democratic’ country amidst our neighbors who have mostly been suppressed by the military dictators or old religious thugs pretending to have God’s blessings to lord over them. Pakistan was a country build up on the dreams of a secular idea by M.A.Jinnah yet the man could not see it grow and today it is a shattered nation completely in the grip of those who devalue their own father of nation. Today’s Pakistan is not a country what Jinnah visualized but a country where the forces of jingoism and fanaticism rules despite being ‘extra-state’ actors. It is these forces who are now becoming extraordinarily powerful in our countries as they have developed bullying tactics to get their thing done and get away with everything particularly if they happen to ‘represent’ the ‘majority’ communities.
Hence it was very difficult for the government of India to touch Bal Thackarey despite all his unconstitutional rhetoric as well as the violent activities which resulted out of his hate speeches and writings. Narendra Modi or Uma Bharati to Kalyan Singh, all ‘respected’ leaders of their party and future aspirants for various power positions of India yet we have no apologies about them and their action. Actually, state does not act except move slowly and by the time their issues come for justice, they are mostly no more. So, no political leader in India has got any punishment for spreading hatred on communal and caste lines. Hence when Owaisi is arrested his supporters cite example of Modi and Thackrey. Subsequently, when the Hindutva leaders are caught they will careful take up one two such cases where government has not acted and these issues become complimentary for political outfits using religion for their own purposes. The Hindutva hate mongers may not be in the ‘most wanted’ list of they are not ‘wanted’ internationally but definitely in the court of law they used the law for their own purposes. Then there are other members of the Parivar who have always used such tactics to intimidate the Muslims and Christians in the country. In Pakistan, these extra-state actors play dubious role of supporting Taliban in Afghanistan as well as linking the cause of Kashmir to Islamic revivalism in the valley. These extra state actors have full support from those in power because they speak the language which the power elite feel constrained to talk about and covertly support through various mechanism.
India and Pakistan are two unequal neighbors. Despite everything, historically too, India will remain an elder brother and there is nothing wrong in being elder except behaving elderly too is important for both of us. Circumstances have not made Pakistan a plural democratic political system like India but that cannot erase our common heritage that we have worked and build up in so many thousands years. We are different countries and societies just because of a law that separated us which is just 65 years old but our civilization is much older than the British Empire came here. How can the two people with same language, culture, idea are divided. Pakistan is not able to develop its democratic institutions strongly but my problem is with those who claim we have ‘better’ democracy. If Hina Rabbani Khar does not know how to speak as a foreign minister then one can understand very well that she does not come from a political background but Sushma Swaraj and her party’s political understanding and struggle should have made their reaction more mature and political rather than being simply jingoistic.
It is humiliating when our political class, intellectuals, media all jump in for closing every relationship with Pakistan. Why should you deny me listening to Ghulam Ali or why should Pakistanis not listen to Mohammdad Rafi or Lata Mangeskar. Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Arundhati Roy, Faiz Ahemed Faiz, Firakh, Sahir, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Kaifi Azmi, Ali Sardar Jafari and the list is long are not confined to our boundaries but have transcended them. In the most oppressing moments of history, art, culture and sports have always united people.
It does not humiliate a Pakistan player when he is asked to leave from India as our officials say that we do not want to play with an ‘enemy’. It is insulting that the Indian state is not able to provide protection to their guests who represent their country but not necessarily support every political and military thought of their nation. How can you call a player an enemy? Can we call a competition between Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali a war between the two countries or is it a treat to listen to both of them. How can I call Faiz Ahmed Faiz or a player like Waseem Akram my enemy. For that matter, how can Faiz be put in the category of the hate mongers like Tahir Qadri. How can Sushma Swaraj and like her become voice of India?
It is the game that media has played to serve their own internal purposes and strengthened to boost some of those who enjoy and make money on the martyrdom of others. The media uses the deaths for their own marketing purposes and celebrate them. When soldiers die, we are filling their homes with money and other support but if he return home undead, serving the nation for over 35 years, he does not get that much of money. The capitalist media glorifies deaths and link it to ‘valor’. In today’s 24 hour TV world, it is the best ‘activity’ to boost our TRPs and hence every anchor become a ‘rabid rabble rouser’, much more dangerous than Owaisis and Qadris as they want to push words in the mouth of people and use them according to their own convenience. The world is not threatened by these loudmouths like Qadris, Owaisis or Thackarays, as they are part of ‘State apparatus’ who only speak the language the powerful state want them to speak and if they have out lived their utility then an action is taken but it is only done when the state realize that their presence and association with it is counter-productive and politically detrimental.
As an Indian it is shameful for me to hear that attempt are being made to send artists, writers, journalists and sports persons back to Pakistan simply in the name of their being ‘unwanted’. Even in the height of mistrust, it is these voices of dissent and of love and affection that open the small window of peace and togetherness. One must remember that those who make the biggest noise about nationalism are the most dangerous species as they are least ready to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the people. They only enjoy the sacrifices of others and use every moment of a brave man’s life for his nation, as politics of their parties. It is time that people to people contact must not be allowed to submit to such fascist nationalist forces whose only interest is to keep people subjugated.
The people of Pakistan who want friendship with India and vice versa cannot be victimized because their political class is pushing the countries to war. It is only important for us to remember that war has never ever resulted in any solution to any issue and it will only bring disasters and catastrophe in the region. It is more insulting for us as Indian if our hearts are not bigger in welcoming those people who we love to watch playing on the ground and listen live or on our TV studios and films. It is time, we learn that at the end of the day, we have to live in the same world and a war will never make it better and will keep us in perpetual hatred. Millions of people who love each other’s and have relations and are just divided because of ‘nationhood’ would be denied the basic human rights by this thin dividing line. Can we allow this and remain in perpetual war so that our generations do not grow and suffer in hunger and malnutrition further. An eye for an eye is never a solution and we need not only mature political diplomacy to handle such crisis but stronger people to people contact so that war mongers and their hate cries are defeated forever.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist from India