New Delhi: While both India and Pakistan continue to accuse and shell each other of violating ceasefire agreement, killing more than 18 innocent civilians and injuring about 60 till date, civil society initiatives from both sides have reprimanded political forces and media for “worsening the situation” and have appealed both countries to restore peace and harmony.
Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) and Aaghaz-e-Dosti, have appealed to both India and Pakistan to immediately stop ceasefire violations.
Since October 1, there has been an exchange of fire on the Indo-Pak border. It is not clear, who had started the ceasefire violation, but as usual, both countries claim to be only responding.
Terming the violation as a “matter of grave concern”, the New Delhi based PIPFPD, accused both the nations of resorting to ‘border nationalism’ to boil political temperature among the people. There are elections round the corner in key Indian states including Jammu and Kashmir and the political turmoil in Pakistan.
The Forum said that wars and military actions have yielded nothing but death, destruction and misery for the people of ‘divided’ Jammu and Kashmir. “The experience shows that the dispute will not be resolved through use of military means and can only be resolved through political dialogue based on mutual trust.”
“We call upon the governments of India and Pakistan to allow the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play an active role in monitoring the ceasefire. UNMOGIP is meant to supervise ceasefire line established under Karachi Agreement in 1949. Joint monitoring of the border is the best option in the prevailing situation. It is required at this point that a team of UNMOGIP brings out a status report after visiting affected areas on both sides of the border.”
Far away from the international border the waters of the Indian Ocean and the fishing activity their have been severely impacted by the increased number of orchestrated arrest of fishermen by India and Pakistan. In last one week Pakistan has caught 22 Indian boats and arrested around 125 Indian fishermen. Indian authorities have also arrested six Pakistani fishermen and one boat. This goes on to prove that the tension on the border is directly impacting fishing communities of both the countries.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint initiative of India-based Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based The Catalyst – TC, reminded that this is not first time when such violations are happening, and said, “we must know that for both the countries, peace is of utmost importance and also our common need is to being focused on development rather than spending huge money of taxes for arms and ammunition. We also see that how through reducing such tensions, both of us can save billions of rupees and can divert this amount for development. We believe that any dispute can be resolved only by talk and mutual negotiation and agreements and not with violence. Any war like situation will only benefit arms manufacturing companies and will be harmful for both the countries, their development and their people.”
The organisation cautioned saying, “by such news of ceasefire violation, people become provoked, they also express their anger, but at the same time, we also view it as our right to know about the correct situation and the reasons responsible for it. We all have the right to know it because it is our money that is being spent and result in the loss of lives. Also, since such instances affect us, our society and harmony between our countries, we must be concerned about this and we must have the right to know the situation in detail.”
Both organisations appealed to both India and Pakistan to urgently stop ceasefire violations and implement ceasefire agreement in letter and spirit, and asked the media to stop using the event as another opportunity to “proliferate hatred for the sake of their TRPs”
They said that “restoration of dialogue and peace talks at the highest level alone can bring back normalcy and peace to the thousands of suffering people, living in border areas and also the fisher people who have been a casualty to this increased hostility.”