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Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA)
4410 Verda Lane NE, Keizer, OR 97303, USA


California Declaration for Peace in South Asia

Contact Persons:

N. Delhi, India: Mr. Harsh Mander /Ms. Shabnam Hashmi- 91 11 23327366/67
Lahore, Pakistan: Mr. Abid Hassan Minto - 91 - 42 – 631-5469
Newark, California: Mr. Hazem Kira – (510) 252 – 9858
East Lansing, Michigan: Mr. Shrikumar Poddar (517) 333 – 9273

08/04/05: The recent visits to the San Francisco Bay Area by two prominent leaders - Mr. Harsh Mander, member of “Act Now for Harmony and Democracy*” (ANHAD), and Mr. Abid Hassan Minto, President, National Workers Party of Pakistan* (NWP-PK) - has resulted in the following document.

Besides the above-named organizations, the signatories include Nonresident Indians for Secularism and Harmonious India* (NRI-SAHI), and the Pakistan American Democratic Forum* (PADF).

This civilian initiative seeks to involve those groups from both nations that have been tirelessly working for peace since independence of the two countries from Great Britain in 1947, and are least likely to be swayed by changes in global or regional agendas.

These groups want to help create a mindset for peace based on achievable milestones such as an end to arms race, protection for minorities, and resolution of outstanding conflicts by peaceful means.

The main purpose of this statement is 1) to deepen people to people contact, 2) widen and strengthen the peace process by engaging new groups as well as those who have been working for peace in South Asia for the last 55 years, and 3) provide additional moral, intellectual, social and cultural resources to help build lasting peace.

The joint statement reads:

1. “We welcome and support composite dialogue between Pakistan and India aimed at establishing just and lasting peace in the region.

2. “We believe that the final settlement between India and Pakistan should be based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence, namely, sovereign equality, non-aggression, non-interference, reciprocal and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence

3. “The final settlement should also enshrine the 10 principles of the Bandung Conference of 1955 with particular emphasis on “settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement, as well as other peaceful means of the parties own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations”; and “respect for justice and international obligations.”

4. Any creative, out-of-the-box, peaceful, just and lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue must incorporate five key factors: 1) genuine interests of all parties, 2) rights of religious and ethnic minorities, 3) equitable distribution of resources, most importantly water 4) overall stability, and 5) regional cooperation.

5. “Respect for existing treaties will be paramount in building confidence and finding a lasting solution. The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed by India and Pakistan in 1960 assigned the three eastern rivers, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas to India, and three western rivers, Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab to Pakistan. This treaty provides a useful framework to resolve serious and substantial differences over India’s 11 water management projects on rivers Chenab and Jhelum.

6. “Continued frank dialogue between Indian-Americans and Pakistani-Americans will help connect the peace process to a shared vision, mutually agreed criteria, thoughtfully identified milestones, and measurable outcomes.

7. “Advance democracy and strengthen democratic institutions throughout the region to ensure good governance.

8. “Foster greater economic engagement, cultural interaction and people-to-people contacts in the region.

9. “Invest in cross-border infrastructure projects for energy, transport and water resources.

10. “Invest in special funds and programs for poverty alleviation, health care, education and environment management.

11. Affirm mutual commitment to respect and uphold rights of ethnic and religious minorities in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

12. Draw upon regional as well as international support, expertise, and resources to develop innovative mechanisms to protect human rights and promote regional cooperation.

13. Set up a “draw down” schedule for gradual reduction in military budgets and arms race.

14. Promote an overall environment of peace and mutual support in the region based upon respect for sovereign equality among nations.