Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD) welcomed the decision of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistani Prime Minister to attend the swearing in ceremony of Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister.
Nawaz Sharif’s presence along with other SAARC countries’ leaders has send a positive and strong message that only consistent dialogue processes can bring peace and prosperity in South Asia.
Jatin Desai, secretary PIPFPD said, ‘We hope that in the middle of hectic political activities, the SAARC leaders will be able to interact with each other and address the challenges they are faced with.’
‘We take this opportunity to urge Indian and Pakistani leadership to resume the paused composite dialogue’ he said.
While expressing his views, Desai said that, ‘The release of 151 Indian prisoners from Pakistan out of which 150 are fishermen is an extremely significant positive step in the peace processes and this is what various fishermen struggles and citizens groups have been working on since decades.’He said that, ‘Fishermen have consistently raised demands for a ‘No Arrest Policy’ which would be a significant Confidence Building Measure and we appeal to the Government of India to take ahead the demand for a joint fishing zone and an Economic Co-operation Agreement by both countries that would aim at shared marine resources which will benefit both governments and fishermen in both areas.’ ‘These are efforts that strengthen people to people contact and we believe that peace processes must pertain to issues that concern the common people of the two countries’, he further explained. ‘We say all this in order to also point out that the recent expulsion of two Indian journalists from Pakistan, an act for which no reason was given is disappointing and shocking since the journalists community has for decades been one of the strongest threads that has continued to enhance peace processes between the two countries’ said Jatin Desai. Intolerance in both countries has been on the rise and there is a need for the governments to not just talk of peace but engage with the issues that the common people in both countries are facing. While issuing official press release, PIPFPD said that, Issues concerning soldiers on the border belonging to either of the two countries; the effects of militarization on people living in border areas; extensive procedures for visa and bizarre visa restrictions; the creation of borders in the middle of the sea and arresting fishermen; soldiers of both countries dying due to severe weather conditions in Siachen rather than bullets are just some of the many issues that need to be addressed. This is a crucial time in both countries and it is important to understand the fact that there is a need for genuine political will and commitment to working for the people of the two countries.