Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA)
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India-Pakistan Peace Day 2008
* September 20, Toba Tek Singh, Punjab , Pakistan: ACHA PEACE DAY IN PAKISTAN.
For a pictorial report, please visit: http://picasaweb.google.com/buildpeace2/ACHAPEACEDAYINPAKISTAN#
Indian & Pakistani soldiers exchange sweets on Pakistan Independence
Day at Attari-Wagah border
*PM Gilani calls Dr. Manmohan Singh on Indian Independence Day, APP, August 15, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Aug 15 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani called Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday evening to congratulate him and the people of India on the occasion of their Independence Day. Prime Minister Gilani made the call after having received a message of felicitation on Pakistan’s Independence Day from the Prime Minister of India (on August 13, 2008).
The Prime Minister while recalling a very satisfactory meeting between Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and President, Congress Party of India, Madam Sonia Gandhi, in Beijing, said that such interaction would serve to build the bridges between the political leadership of two sides and bring the people of India and Pakistan ever closer to each other.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh expressed his gratitude on Prime Minister of Pakistan’s telephone call to him and said that the contacts at personal level of leadership would greatly help in building confidence between the true representatives of the two democratically elected governments and in overcoming the misgivings held by two sides about each other.
Prime Minister Singh said that the greatest enemies of India and Pakistan are hunger, poverty, ignorance, disease and terrorism and both the countries needed to work together to fight these adversaries.
He further said that both countries should resolve all their bilateral issues including the Kashmir dispute through dialogue and adhere to the peace process.
The Prime Minister of India added that at times harsh statements emanating from either side cast a shadow over the cordiality of relations between India and Pakistan but the regular contacts at the highest level would help dispel the uncertainties created by them.
He asked Prime Minister Gilani whether the later would be visiting New York for the UN General Assembly Session so that a meeting could possibly be held between them on the sidelines of the UNGA session.
Prime Minister Gilani welcomed this proposition and assured his Indian counterpart of his government’s resolve to work for strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.
*Indo-Pak delegations urge peace SMN | August 15,2008
LAHORE: In a joint statement at the end of 'Cultural Peace Mela' held at Wagah border organized by South Asian Free Media Organization (SAFMA) on the eve of 61st Independence of Pakistan and India, the delegations, hailing from Pakistan and India, resolved to build the bridges of friendship, partnership and cooperation to fight together scourges of poverty, terrorism and extremism while upholding the banners of our national sovereignty and brotherly neighborhood.
At the end of the ceremony of holding candle vigil ceremony at Wagah border in which people across the borders lit the candles at midnight, they said they have wanted their governments to remove all hurdles in the way of free movement of people, goods and information across their borders and work together to promote cooperation in whatever area that they agree and create conducive conditions of trust and confidence to resolve our bilateral disputes through peaceful means. They welcome return to democracy in Pakistan and success of vote of trust in the government in the New Dehli while showing concern about recent escalation in tension between the two countries, India and Pakistan.
They condemned killing of Sheikh Abdul Aziz, a Kashmiri leader, and dozens of others in the terrorist acts in recent days and appreciated the resolve shown by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to push forward composite dialogue process despite recent provocation. They rejected the current restrictive visa regime and restrictions on the free movement of people, goods and information and called upon the governments and the people to revise visa regime and allow a liberal visa on the border posts and other entry-exist points while exempting journalists, business people, academicians, artists, writers, students and elderly from the formalities of visa.
They urged Indian and Pakistan to show political will areas where they agreed and had complementary interests and take measures to resolve the differences and disputes including Jammu and Kashmir.
*'Break Bread Together' seminar by SAFMA THE NEWS | August 15,2008 http://www.southasianmedia.net/index_story.cfm?id=523072&category=Frontend&Country=MAIN
THE governments of Pakistan and India should remove all hurdles in the way of free movement of people, goods and information across the borders.
This stated by speakers at a seminar on ‘Breaking Bread Together’ organised by the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) on Thursday to celebrate the 61st Independence Day. They said both countries should work together and resolve bilateral disputes through peaceful means to promote cooperation.
People from all walks attended the event with enthusiasm which was held to promote peace between Pakistan with India. An Indian delegation headed by SAFMA India President K K Katiyal, which came to Lahore to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day, also attended the seminar.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Director I A Rehman, who chaired the seminar, said the governments of Pakistan and Indian conspired against the people of both countries and the large numbers of people were deprived of the fruits of freedom, as they could not cross the border freely. He said that ordinary people should be allowed to move across the Indo-Pak border freely.
SAFMA General Secretary Imtiaz Alam said that they had asked the leadership in both countries to discuss the matters of mutual interest before the general elections in India in March or April next year.
He hoped that democratic government in Pakistan would initiate the peace process with India.
He said, “As soon as the dust of impeachment settles, the government of Pakistan would be able to start the peace process with India.”
He said that both Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were in favour of having good relation with India but the ISI and RAW were concern over it. He called upon Indian and Pakistan governments to stop proxy war against each other in their respective countries and in Afghanistan as well. He said a troubled Afghanistan was not in the region’s interest as it would cause regional stability. He demanded that the visa policy should be liberalised, adding that ISI, IB and Foreign Office were opposed to it.
Najam Sethi said that 61 years ago Indian Muslims were a nation in search of a home and after 61 years they had a land (home) but where was the nation?
He said the earlier generation associated its roots to the South Asia but today’s generation of Pakistan was not associated to the South Asia and looked towards Saudi Arabia and Middle East for its identity.
He said the current era was of nation states. It is not an age of Muslim Ummah versus Christianity.
He said ‘Islamisation’ came into being in the service of the US against the Soviet Union, adding that behind the Islamisation was the military-mullah state.
He said that now it was essential for Pakistan to fight the ‘War on Terror’ as its own war. “War on Terror may have begun as the US war but now we will have to fight this war for us,” he said.
SAFMA India President KK Kitial said that Pakistan and India needed to preserve what they had gained. He said that the issues that could be resolved at once should not be pending.
Historian Ayesha Jilal said that gravity of scenario was serious for both the countries. She said that insecurity gripped both the countries.
She said that in February 18 elections in Pakistan, people had shown that they did not support theocracy. She said people in both the countries had a deep sense of despondency. She said that jihad did not mean only the armed struggle. She said it should be against poverty and disease.