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Pakistan Peace Coalition Press Release on Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai

by Pakistan Peace Coalition, 15 July 2011

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PRESS RELEASE

Pakistan Peace Coalition condemns Mumbai Attacks; Calls for Regional Cooperation and Joint Mechanism on Terrorism

KARACHI, July 14: The Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) on Thursday strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 21 people and injured 150. “On behalf of Pakistan’s civil society and the general public, the PPC extends condolences to the Indian nation and pledged to play its role in fighting against the scourge of terrorism in its capacity as a coalition of pro-peace organizations, groups and individuals from across Pakistan committed to counter the increasing trends of violence in society,” a statement said.

Describing the attack as yet another demonstration of the malaise of terror that plagues South Asia, a statement released by the PPC said that South Asia will have to own terrorism as its internal/regional problem and put out a collective fight against it with determination and internal cohesion. “Whether it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, the fact is that terrorists find the region as their most comfortable base and continue to mount attacks on citizens within and across borders. No other region has terrorism as a common problem as South Asia does,” the statement said.

The PPC urged the South Asian countries to take up the earlier SAARC pacts on joint fight against terrorism seriously. The SAARC adopted the Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism way back in 1987. In 2008 too, member countries in the SAARC Summit in Colombo signed a legal cooperation pact to combat terrorism. Pakistan and India too, in 2006, established a joint institutional mechanism to identify and implement counter-terrorism initiatives and investigations. Afghanistan and Pakistan just recently agreed to set up a military ‘hotline’ in an effort to ease tensions triggered by cross-border raids and mortar shelling incidents. If all SAARC countries that have been victims of terrorism can enter into individual agreements over fighting terrorism, why can there not be a common mechanism to address the challenge that cripples South Asia’s progress, development, security and neighbourly ties.

The PPC urged Pakistan and India to revive the inactive cooperation mechanism on fighting terrorism while also push the SAARC countries to pursue the earlier SAARC agreements on the subject in letter and spirit.

The PPC also cautioned against using Mumbai attacks to halt the process of recently revived India-Pakistan state level dialogue. The Coalition urged that the forthcoming foreign ministers meeting between the two countries must go ahead as planned. Apart from the stated agenda of enhancing travel and trade, the issue of joint mechanism to combat regional terrorism must be brought on table. The two countries should also play a positive role in helping the SAARC process forward. Currently, India and Pakistan are seen as the most negative influence on SAARC, derailing any movement to promote regional cooperation. The two neighbours can at least throw their weight behind the forum and encourage positive engagement between the SAARC countries to promote cooperation on terrorism.

The Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) is a civil society initiative for peace launched in September 1998 following the nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan. The PPC comprises numerous pro-peace organizations, groups and individuals from across Pakistan. Sharing the common goal for de-nuclearisation and peace in South Asia, the PPC and its component organisations work with regional movements and organizations on broader themes of: reduction in defense expenditure to promote human development in the two countries; de-nuclearisation of South Asia; and counter the increasing trends of intolerance and violence in society. Currently Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) hosts the secretariat of PPC. Mr. B. M. Kutty is Secretary General of PPC.