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Statement by Citizens of India and Pakistan on Cancellation of Secretary Level Talks

Call for Early Resumption and Increased Bilateral Initiatives for Peace

20 August 2014

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Statement by Citizens of India and Pakistan on Cancellation of Secretary Level Talks

Call for Early Resumption and Increased Bilateral Initiatives for Peace

We the citizens of India and Pakistan are concerned and dismayed by the decision of the Government of India to call off the Foreign Secretary Level talks between India and Pakistan that were scheduled on 25th August 2014 at Islamabad in the background of Pakistan High Commissioner Mr. Abdul Basit’s meeting with ​a ​leader of Huriyat Conference.

It is important to note that after a very positive period of peace and increased cooperation between India and Pakistan between 2011 and 2012, the relations between the two countries have again become unstable since January 2013 with continued skirmishes on the borders. It is reported that this year has seen over 50 cease fire violations that is not in the interest of either country or for peace and cooperation in the entire region. The situation demands increased bilateral exchanges and continued adherence to the policy of uninterrupted and uninterruptable talks to resolve the long standing issues.

In such a situation any disruption in taking forward the bilateral processes would be unfortunate and strengthens the hands of the hawks and hardliners and will be detrimental for the people of the sub continent and undermine the efforts to boost the economy and eliminate poverty from the region.

It must be noted that meetings between Huriyat leaders and the officials and visiting dignitaries from Pakistan has been a practice for long. Whenever Pakistani President, Prime Minister or foreign ministers visit India they meet Huriyat leaders. Even during Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime in 2001 when then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf came to India he had a meeting with the Huriyat leaders. However, in the current instance, when the Indian Government had requested the Pakistan High Commission to avoid meeting Huriyat leaders, Pakistan could have deferred the meetings in the interest of the larger peace process. On the other hand if India had any reservations about such meetings despite their communication, they could have expressed their resentment in many ways prior to resorting to a step like cancellation of the talks altogether.

We urge that undue importance should not be given to such meetings and the process of dialogue should continue under all circumstances in the interest of finding durable solutions and avenues for cooperation and development in the region.

We also urge that the Secretary Level talks should be reconvened at the earliest opportunity and both the Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif must meet on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York next month to address all differences and work towards a durable solution.

Admiral Ramdas, Mumbai Adam Malik and Muneer Memon - Society for Secular Pakistan
Ashok Chowdary, Lucknow Anoushae Alam - Pakistan Peace Coalition
Jatin Desai, Mumbai Assad Iqbal Butt - Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Kamla Basin, New Delhi B.M. Kutty - PILER and Pakistan Peace Coalition
Kuldip Nayar, New Delhi Dr. Sonu Kangharani - Hisaar Foundation
L.S. Hardenia, Bhopa Ishaq Mangrio - Hyderabad Press Club
Lalita Ramdas, Mumbai Karamat Ali - PILER
Mahesh Bhatt, Mumbai Lateef Mughal - Peoples Labour Forum
Mazher Hussain, Hyderabad Mohamad Tahseen, South Asia partnership
P. Kodanda Ramiah, Bangalore Muqtida Mansoor - Political Analyst
Ramesh Yadav, Amritsar Noman Quadri - Lawyer & Human Right Activist
Sandeep Pandey, Lucknow Saeed Baloch - Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
Salam Dharejo - Peace Activist
Suleman G. Abro and Zulfiqar Halipoto - SAFWCO
Momin Khan Momin - Centre 50 plus