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Peace activists disappointed at cancellation of talks between Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers in New York

24 September

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1.

Statement released by Pakistan-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) [India chapter] 22 Sept 2018

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2. [ Media report on statement by members of Pakistan-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) [Pakistan Chapter]

The News, September 24, 2018

Peace activists dismayed by India’s stubbornness over bilateral talks

Our Correspondent

Karachi

The Pakistan-India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) has expressed disappointment over the cancellation of a potential meeting between Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in the coming week.

“We are really disappointed, particularly with the attitude of the Indian government, which called off this meeting, and would urge the [Narendra] Modi government to reconsider its decision,” read a statement issued on Sunday.

Representatives of the forum said the proposed meeting was a major opportunity, as Pakistan’s new government seems keen to resume a formal dialogue with India, which would benefit both sides.

“People on both sides of the border want their governments to resume the long halted talks, as there is no other way but to have constant dialogue to resolve the pending issues,” read the statement issued and endorsed by representatives of different organisations.

“It is in the larger interest of the people of both countries to give peace a chance,” they said, adding that a long interval in the dialogue process has already negatively impacted both countries, which are homes to the largest number of the world’s poor, and any further delay in dialogue would jeopardise the efforts for progress and prosperity.

“The new Pakistani government wants to reduce poverty, and similar are the ambitions of the Indian government. However, this can only happen if both the neighbours maintain peace, not enmity.”

They said that though both the countries have contributed to creating a war-like situation, the Modi government’s hostilities, such as calling off scheduled meetings, have further escalated the situation.

The PIPFPD representatives also expressed concern over undue delays in holding the official Saarc summit, which was due in Islamabad but cancelled in 2016. Shying away from the summit has almost closed the doors of interaction and dialogue, they regretted.

They said that again the attitude of the Indian government is disappointing, as it keeps boycotting the summit. “It is ironic that one or two countries have taken the entire regional process hostage over their differences.”

They said that on the one hand the whole world is moving towards regional cooperation, but on the other, South Asia is the only region that is shying away from the process that would widen the gulf between the countries and would not benefit anyone in the region.

They urged both countries to allow their foreign ministers to meet next week and also agree on the dates for the next Saarc summit. They also asked other regional players, especially Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, to play their role in holding the summit at the earliest.

The representatives of the different organisations that issued the statement included Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research Executive Director Karamat Ali, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Sindh Vice-Chairperson Asad Iqbal Butt, Awami Workers Party Central Spokesperson Farooq Tariq, South Asia Partnership Pakistan Executive Director Mohammad Tahseen and Tehrik-e-Niswan Karachi President Sheema Kermani.