Pakistan-India Parliamentarians, Journalists
and Experts Conference on Confidence-building and Conflict-resolution,
An Indian delegation consisting of parliamentarians, media
personnel and experts, met in Islamabad, Pakistan, on August 10
and 11, 2003, under the aegis of the South Asia Free Media Association
(SAFMA). After a meeting with the Pakistani delegation, a statement
entitled 'Sense of the Pakistan-India Parliamentarians, Journalists
and Experts Conference on Confidence-building and Conflict-resolution'
was issued. Following is the full text of the statement.
Parliamentarians from most
parties of the two parliaments, political leaders, media persons and
experts from Pakistan and India met at Islamabad on August 10 and 11,
2003, at the invitation of the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA).
After deliberating on the urgency of understanding between the two countries,
on confidence building measures and conflict resolution efforts, the
participants have reached a broad understanding on the following lines:
- While the recent initiatives by the governments of India and
Pakistan towards normalisation of relation are welcome, it is necessary
to expedite the process of dialogue at the levels of states and
people and approach all requisites of confidence-building, conflict
management and conflict resolution through an integrated, uninterruptible,
result-oriented and a well structured process.
- Inspired by the realisation among
people on both sides of the divide for burying the hatchet and resolving
our differences through peaceful means, the participants have agreed
to pursue a holistic vision that does not ignore any divisive issue.
- Conscious of the demands of realism
and in consideration of the two sides, the participants have taken
note of the issues that have fuelled confrontation between India
and Pakistan such as Pakistan's keenness for an early settlement
of the Kashmir issue and India's concerns about cross-border terrorism.
- They are convinced that while these
issues need to be addressed on priority basis, no purpose will be
served by ignoring possibilities of cooperation in various fields.
- This would create the goodwill and
confidence necessary for the resolution of conflicts and issues
that impede progress in other mutually beneficial areas.
- The participants agree on the need
for creating maximum space for people of the two countries to recognise
and respect each other and strive jointly for guaranteeing a better
future for the coming generations.
- All unreasonable restrictions on travel
between the two countries must be expeditiously dismantled.
- The participants, in addition to encouraging
the two governments to stay on the normalisation course, are convinced
that political parties should give priority to mobilising their
ranks for peace and good-neighbourly relations and allowing greater
space for all society organisations to support this process.
- The participants agreed that the establishment
of peace in the sub-continent could not be viewed separately from
the aspirations of the people for a genuinely democratic dispensation,
gender equality, the right of the under-privileged and the minorities
and their empowerment.
Source: Times of India,
August 12, 2003.