Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy
Statement Issued on – 24th April 2021
PIPFPD urges Indian Government to accept the offer of help by Edhi Foundation as an expression of mutuality of humanity and a peoples’ desire for peace and cooperation.
Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) warmly welcomes the heartfelt concern expressed by the people of Pakistan for the people of India as they struggle to overcome the dire impact of the present surge of the Covid 19 contagion which recognises no borders or nationalities. The overflowing of social messages of solidarity, with hashtags #IndianLivesMatter, #PakistanwithIndia and #PrayerforIndia going viral in Pakistan – shows a spontaneous groundswell of support and a mutuality of humanitarian distress at the suffering of peoples across the border confronting the Covid health crisis. Prejudices, animosities and competing ‘hurts’ are shifting and sloughing away in the face of the gravity of the impact of the Covid pandemic and its reminder of our common humanity.
PIPFPD greatly appreciates the offer extended by Edhi Foundation, a Karachi based humanitarian organisation for their support in offering healthcare assistance to the people of India in this massive health care crisis. In a letter to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (April 23, 2021), Managing Trustee Faisal Edhi offered to lead a health mission to India comprising 50 medically equipped ambulances and technical staff. He requested permission to enter India and offered to collaborate with assigned local administrative authorities.
According to professionals associated with health care in PIPFPD, this significant token gesture of cross-border people to people humanitarian support should be made pragmatically compelling if self-select healthcare establishments bordering Punjab or Rajasthan would come forward to partner with the Edhi Foundation Mission.
The Covid pandemic is a huge challenge as it lays waste what we hold dear, but it can be an opportunity to build anew, difficult relationships between peoples and between countries. The pandemic has shown we need each other, in our mutuality of dire need and distress if we are to survive and thrive. Governments of the region have recognised the fundamental importance of working together, but the historical baggage of an unresolved past of interstate Pakistan-India antagonism has repeatedly derailed cooperation.
In March 2020 Prime Minister Modi proposed that “SAARC nations’ leadership to chalk out a strong (common) strategy to fight Coronavirus” but the visionary project of sharing resources, expertise and best practices, of evolving SAARC Pandemic protocols on our borders floundered on the Pakistan-India mistrust and hostility.
People of Pakistan (and India) are showing the way forward based on the mutuality of our fate and of our lives, of the value and imperative of working together, and building peace if we are to survive and thrive. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan has tweeted a message of solidarity with those in our neighbourhood (India) battling the dangerous Covid wave and emphasised the need to confront, “this global challenge confronting humanity together.”
PIPFPD urges our governments to build on this opportunity, to respond to this recognition of the mutuality of humanity, our entwined present and future build peace and cooperation within our region. We demand that the government give substance to Covid diplomacy in neighbourhood and facilitate cross border health missions in true spirit.
We once again salute the gesture and offer made by Edhi foundation, a reiteration of the founding values of the institution as laid out by its missionary leader late Abdul Sattar Edhi.
The statement is signed by Dr Syeda Hameed, Tapan Bose and Vijayan M.J. on behalf of PIPFPD- India