The Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), largest people-to-people bilateral group in the region, has expressed its “strong disappointment with the Indian government” for cancelling the scheduled meeting of Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers on the sidelines of UN General Assembly later this month.
PIPFPD had called a public meeting in Allahabad on 22 Sep 2018 with renewed hope for peace following newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s letter to Indian PM Narendra Modi seeking resumption of dialogue between the two countries.
Khan had also asked for a meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York later this month, that India had agreed to.
Meanwhile, however, the goodwill was sabotaged by events of the last few days with both countries accusing the other of killing its soldiers and civilians. PIPFPD at its meeting condemned “all acts of violence” including “inhuman acts like beheading of soldiers or civilians, by state or non-state actors”.
Speakers at the meeting included well known activists like advocate Ravi Kiran Jain, professors Sushil Khanna, Dinesh Mohan and Manoranjan Mohanty, and journalists Anuradha Bhasin, Tapan Bose and Rita Manchanda.
“However, it should not be forgotten that dialogue alone is the answer to causes of acts of terror. Governments cannot be irresponsibly cancelling opportunities of dialogue, when they are most required,” said PIPFPD in its statement issued after the meeting.
The peace group reiterated that “Dialogue is the only answer to conflict, mistrust, and breakdown of diplomacy between the two countries”.
“We sincerely believe that the dialogue should not have been cancelled as it would have provided an opportunity to interact with the new leadership of Pakistan. Dialogue is necessary as tension is growing between two countries.”
The statement ends with the “hope the meeting of Foreign Ministers of SAARC countries will be held as scheduled. We need to break the ice and see peace prevail.”