Dr Mubashir urges Pakistani and Indian govts to avoid rhetoric
LAHORE: Dr Mubashir Hasan, the founding member of the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, has urged Pakistan and India to respect the understanding they reached at Islamabad in January after the SAARC summit.
In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Dr Hasan said both countries had agreed not to indulge in rhetoric through the media because this was not helpful for negotiations. He said a few infringements were wisely not commented upon by the other government.
“The Islamabad agreement on rhetoric served the two nations in an outstanding way in the last five months,” he said, adding that both countries achieved a lot in their negotiations by keeping quiet in the media.
He said that now the governments had regressed to past habits of talking through the media. “There was no need for our foreign ministry spokesman to comment in the way he did on the emphasis placed by the Indian external affairs minister on the Shimla agreement,” he said.
Dr Hasan said there were influential people in Pakistan and India who did not agree which accord, the Islamabad summit in January or the Shimla agreement in July 1972, was better for peace.
He said both countries were slaves of unhelpful cultural practices. “Even as nations, we attach greater importance to words than to deeds. As the proverb goes, wounds inflicted by the tongue are deadlier than those inflicted by the sword,” he said.
He said the governments should not focus on rhetoric when the interest of a billion and a quarter people was at stake. “More important are the deeds. Who knows, after winning the elections, to what extent the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would have kept its commitments, as Pakistan understood them?”
Dr Hasan said the most important issue before the two nations was the participation of the people of Kashmir in the upcoming dialogue. “The first and foremost thing for both governments is to win the hearts and minds of the Kashmiris,” he said.
He said both governments would have to convince Kashmiris that the composite dialogue was a genuine effort to fulfil their wishes and aspirations. “They will have to be made a partner in the resolution of the issue.”
Dr Hasan urged both governments to let national and international human rights organisations access all parts of Kashmir on both sides. He said visas and passports should be freely issued to both citizens and there should be freedom of expression and the number of security force personnel should be decreased.