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Indo-Pak peace campaign to begin on July 1 to counter war hysteria, Kailash Satyarthi, Malala to be star attractions

Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzai
By Our Representative
In a remarkable development, a Hyderabad non-government organization, Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), claiming to be “a national network of voluntary organisations working for communal harmony in India and peace in South Asia”, has roped in Nobel laureates Kailash Satyarthi from India and Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan for an Indo-Pak peace campaign proposed to be launched on July 1.
Called Peace Now and Forever Campaign, meant to address the objective of countering “deteriorating” relations between Pakistan and India, COVA managing-director Mazhar Husain said in an email alert to Counterview that the need for it was felt as “common people and even civil society seem to be getting increasingly scared to take a stand” on peace.
Warning that if things do not improve, soon, “no space may be left to talk of peace and questioning war hysteria could be branded downright antinational and blasphemy”, Husain said, “In such a situation it becomes an urgent requirement to provide platforms to enable common people and civil society to demand peace and condemn attempts at war mongering without feeling apologetic or guilty about their stand.”
A separate campaign note sent out to those organizing programmes in different Indian cities said, “Given the prevailing scenario of hate and the aggressive posturing by the fanatic and divisive groups in both countries, all programmes and activities should be planned with enough precautions appropriate to the areas concerned. Information to/permissions from all the concerned authorities should be obtained as required.”
To continue till August 15, when India and Pakistan became independent, as part of the campaign, the two Nobel laureates propose to launch a mobile app which would be used to enable Indians and Pakistanis, who have been to the other country, to video record their experiences there – all in a minute.
“Those who have never gone but would like to visit can say what attracts them”, Husain said, adding, he hoped the app would have “thousands of recording and flood the cyberspace with goodwill messages.”
The cities where the campaign has decided to partner with include Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Ayodhya, Bangaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Srinagar, and Vijayawada. It separately proposes to carry out an intense campaign in 20 cities and towns in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and 10 districts, too.
Pointing out that similar campaigns would be simultaneously launched in “many cities and towns in Pakistan” with the help of “partner networks and organizations”, the programmes include lectures on Indo-Pak relations in schools and colleges, mushairas and kavi sammelans, film festivals, artists’ camps, interfaith prayer meets, rallies and marathons, outreach to political parties and elected representatives, signature campaigns demanding peace, and so on.

List of demands
A list of demands prepared on behalf of the people of the two countries seeks an “institutionalised framework to ensure that continuous and uninterrupted talks between India and Pakistan”. Already floated for signatures, the demands say, the two countries must “recognise that the Kashmir dispute above all concerns the lives and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.”
Seeking to implement the 2003 Indo-Pak ceasefire agreement, demands say, the two countries should work for renouncing “all forms of proxy wars, state-sponsored terrorism, human rights violations, cross-border terrorism, and subversive activities against each other, including through non-state actors or support of separatist movements in each other’s state.”
Seeking to encourage “people-to-people contact” and removal of “visa restrictions and discrimination faced by citizens of both countries”, the demands want “increase in trade and economic linkages and cultural exchanges.”
Those who already signed the signatures include retired Indian and Pakistani armed forces personnel such as India’s chief of naval staff Admiral L Ramdas and India’s air vice marshal Kapil Kak, and Pakistan’s Gen Talat Masood and Gen Mahmud Ali Durrani.
Politicians who have signed the demands include Mani Shankar Aiyar and Omar Abdullah from India, and Afrasiab Khattak and Ashraf Jehangir Qazi from Pakistan. Film personalities who have signed include Mahesh Bhatt, NanditaDas, Girish Karnad and Naseeruddin Shah from India, and Jamal Shah, Saba Hamid, Samina Ahmed and Sarmad Sultan Khoosat from Pakistan.
Signatories also include prominent Indian historians RomilaThapar and KN Panikkar, and Pakistan’s Mubarak Ali and Ayesha Jalal. Senior activists, musicians, singers, poets and writers have also signed the demands.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Left to politicians, there will never be peace on the subcontinent. It is the people who can be friends and for this it is necessary that cultural exchange and sports be permitted freely, not hampered by vigilantes supported by political parties. When a Pakistani artiste is not allowed to perform in India or a Pakistani team/individual sports event forbidden, the people are the losers

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