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India-Pakistan Peace Now - Global Vigil on Sunday, 27 January 2013 - Press Statement

by sacw.net, 27 January 2013

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PRESS RELEASE / STATEMENT- INDO-PAK PEACE: APPEAL BY CIVIL SOCIETY

India-Pakistan Peace Now - Global Vigil being observed in several cities around the world on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013

The following statement framed by citizens of India and Pakistan summarizes the formal appeals made by various organizations listed below

We, the people observing this global vigil for peace between India and Pakistan on January 27, 2013, want to tell the governments of India and Pakistan that people in dozens of cities across six continents want them to continue the dialogue and take forward the peace process.

We appreciate that the governments of India and Pakistan have reiterated their commitment to continue the dialogue process and to strengthen the mechanisms for resolving disputes on the LoC and minimising violations.

We condemn the recent violations of the 2003 Ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) and condole the loss of lives on both sides.

We condemn any kind of mutilation or beheading of human bodies.

We believe independent investigations must be made into these reported incidents so that the truth is known.

We urge the media, politicians, and other public figures to show restraint and not create or add to a war hype that has the potential to derail the peace process.

We urge India and Pakistan to immediately resume the implementation of the new visa policy that was to begin on Jan 15, 2013 by allowing senior citizens visa-on-arrival facility at the Waga-Attari border. People-to-people contact needs to be enhanced not restricted.

We urge both governments to take immediate steps to resume normal trade and travel across the LoC. Dialogue between India and Pakistan must be uninterrupted and uninterruptible. Any deviation from this process will only encourage and strengthen extremist, hawkish and fanatical elements on both sides who want to derail the peace process. The families of soldiers and members of divided families suffer most due to cross-border tensions.

We urge India and Pakistan to stay the course and continue with the progress made towards normalising relations that began in March 2010, with steps like easing the visa regime, improving trade relations and other confidence building measures. These steps have the potential to contribute to long-term peace, economic stability and SAARC-wide integration.

Posterity will judge our courage and patriotism not from the revenge we wreak but from the peace we win in these troubling times and from the progress resulting from such peace. A prosperous and well-connected South Asia is our best response to these divisive factions.

This statement draws upon several appeals issued by citizens from India and Pakistan since Jan 8, 2012:
1. India and Pakistan citizens’ joint statement
2. AJK civil society elders’ statement
3. The Poonch civil society appeal
4. Members of divided families appeal by the India Pakistan Families Solidarity Association (IPFSA).
5. The Society for Promoting Rationality (SPRAT), India
6. Indians and Pakistanis’ letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari
7. Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD) statement.
8. Kashmir Initiative Group statement