Mumbai Bloodbath: A Statement by Concerned Citizens of India and Pakistan

We are of the considered opinion that the continued absence of peace in South Asia is one of the root causes of most of the miseries the people of the region are made to endure. It is the major reason why our abundantly resource-rich subcontinent is wallowing in poverty, unemployment, disease, and ignorance and why militarism, religious and sectarian violence and political, economic and social injustice are eating into the very vitals of our societies, even after more than six decades of independence from colonial rule.

CommonDreams.org

This Joint Statement was released to the press simultaneously in Pakistan and India on November 30 2008.

We are deeply shocked and horrified at the bloody mayhem in Mumbai, which has claimed more than a hundred and ninty lives and caused grievous injuries to several hundred people, besides sending a wave of panic and terror across South Asia and beyond. We convey our profound feelings of sorrow and sympathies to the grieving families of the unfortunate victims of this heinous crime and express our solidarity with them.

As usual, all sorts of speculations are circulating about the identity of the perpetrators of this act of barbarism. The truth about who are directly involved in this brutal incident and who could be the culprits behind the scene is yet to come out and we do not wish to indulge in any guesswork or blame game at this point. However, one is intrigued at its timing. Can it be termed a coincidence that it has happened on the day the Home Secretaries of the two countries concluded their talks in Islamabad and announced several concrete steps to move forward in the peace process, such as the opening of several land routes for trade – Kargil, Wagah-Attari, Khokhropar etc -, relaxation in the visa regime, a soft and liberal policy on the issue of release of prisoners and joint efforts to fight terrorism? Again, is it just a coincidence that on this fateful day the Foreign Minister of Pakistan was in the Indian capital holding very useful and productive talks with his Indian counterpart? One thing looks crystal clear. The enemies of peace and friendship between the two countries, whatever be the label under which they operate, are un-nerved by these healthy developments and are hell bent on torpedoing them.

We are of the considered opinion that the continued absence of peace in South Asia – peace between and within states – particularly in relation to India and Pakistan , is one of the root causes of most of the miseries the people of the region are made to endure. It is the major reason why our abundantly resource-rich subcontinent is wallowing in poverty, unemployment, disease, and ignorance and why militarism, religious and sectarian violence and political, economic and social injustice are eating into the very vitals of our societies, even after more than six decades of independence from colonial rule.

At this moment of unmitigated tragedy, the first thing we call upon the Governments of India and Pakistan to do is to acknowledge the fact that the overwhelming majority of the people of India and Pakistan ardently desire peace and, therefore, the peace process must be pursued with redoubled speed and determination on both sides. The sooner the ruling establishments of India and Pakistan acknowledge this fact and push ahead with concrete steps towards lasting peace and harmony in the subcontinent, the better it will be not only for the people of our two countries but also for the whole of South Asia and the world. While the immediate responsibility for unmasking the culprits of Mumbai and taking them to task surely rests with the Government of India, all of us in South Asia have an obligation to join hands and go into the root causes of why and how such forces of evil are motivated and emboldened to resort to such acts of anti-people terror.

It is extremely important to remind the leaderships of Pakistan and India that issuing statements and signing agreements and declarations will have meaning only when they are translated into action and implemented honestly, in letter and spirit and without any further loss of time. It assumes added urgency in the prevailing conditions in South Asia , with the possibility that so many different forces prone to religious, sectarian and other forms of intolerance and violence may be looking for ways to arm themselves with more and more sophisticated weapons of mass murder and destruction. The bloodbath in Mumbai must open the eyes of our governments, if it has not already happened.

We urge upon the governments of India and Pakistan to immediately take the following steps:

Cessation of all hostile propaganda against each other;

Joint action to curb religious extremism of all shades in both countries;

Continue and intensify normalization of relations and peaceful resolution of all conflicts between the two countries;

Facilitation of trade and cooperation between the two countries and in all of South Asia . We welcome the fact that the Srinagar-Muzaffarab ad and Poonch-Rawlakot borders have been opened for trade and that the opening of the road between Kargil and Skardu is in the pipeline.

Immediate abolition of the current practice of issuing city-specific and police reporting visa and issue country-valid visa without restrictions at arrival point, simultaneously initiating necessary steps to introduce as early as possible a visa-free travel regime, to encourage friendship between the peoples of both countries;

Declaration by India and Pakistan of No First Use of atomic weapons;

Concrete measures towards making South Asia nuclear-free;

Radical reduction in military spending and end to militarisation.

Signatories:

India:

Kuldip Nayar, journalist, former Indian High Commissioner, UK., Delhi

S P Shukla, retired Finance Secretary, former Member, Planning Commission, Delhi

PEACE MUMBAI network of 15 organisations, Mumbai

Seema Mustafa, Journalist, Delhi

Manisha Gupte, MASUM, Pune

Dr. Ramesh Awasthi, PUCL, Maharashtra

Jatin Desai, journalist, Mumbai

Prof. Ritu Dewan, University of Mumbai

Prabir Purkayashta, DSF, Delhi

Prof. Pushpa Bhave , Mumbai

Paromita Vohra, filmmaker, Mumbai

Achin Vanaik, CNDP, Delhi

Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, Mumbai

Romar Correa Professor of Economics, University of Mumbai

Anjum Rajabally, film writer, Mumbai

Anand Patwardhan, filmmaker, Mumbai

Kamla Bhasin, SANGAT, Delhi

Dr. Padmini Swaminathan, MIDS, Chennai

Sumit Bali, CEO, Kotak Mahindra Prime Limited

Dr Walter Fernandes, Director, North Eastern Social Research Centre, Assam ,

Rabia, Lahore Chitrkar

Rakesh Sharma, filmmaker, Mumbai

Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, JNU, Delhi

Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, JNU, Delhi

P K Das, architect, Mumbai

Neera Adarkar, architect, Mumbai

Datta Iswalkar, Secretary, Textile Workers Action Committee, Mumbai

Madhusree Dutta, filmmaker, Majlis, Mumbai

Amrita Chhachhi, Founding member, PIPFPD

Mazher Hussain, COVA, Hyderabad

Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty, Delhi

Prof. M C Arunan, Mumbai

Pakistan:

Mr. Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairman, Human Rights Commission Pakistan and former federal Minister of Pakistan

Dr. Tipu Sultan, President, Pakistan Doctors for Peace & Development, Karachi

Dr. Tariq Sohail, Dean, Jinnah Medical & Dental University , Karachi

Dr. A. H.. Nayyar, President, Pakistan Peace Coalition, Islamabad

Justice (Retd) Rasheed A. Razvi, President, Sindh High Court Bar Association

Mr. B.M.Kutty, Secretary General , Pakistan Peace Coalition, Karachi

Mr. Karamat Ali, Director, PILER, Karachi , Founding member, PIPFPD

Mr. Fareed Awan, General Secretary , Pakistan Workers Confederation, Sindh

Mr. Muhammad Ali Shah, Chairman , Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Karachi

Mr. Zulfiqar Halepoto, Secretary, Sindh Democratic Front, Hyderabad

Professor Dr. Sarfraz Khan, Area Studies Centre ( Central Asia), Peshawar University

Syed Khadim Ali Shah, Former Member National Assembly, Mirpur Khas

Mr. Muhammad Tahseen, Director, South Asia Partnership (PAK), Lahore

Mrs. Saleha Athar, Network for Women’s Rights, Karachi

Ms. Sheema Kermani, Tehreek-e-Niswan, Karachi

Ms. Saeeda Diep, President, Institute of Secular Studies, Lahore

Dr. Aly Ercelan, Pakistan Labour Trust, Karachi

Mr. Suleiman G. Abro, Director, Sindh Agricultural & Forestry Workers Organisation, Hyderabad

Mr. Sharafat Ali, PILER, Karachi

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, PILER, Karachi

Mr. Ayub Qureshi, Information Secretary , Pakistan Trade Union Federation

Ms. Sheen Farrukh, Director, Interpress Communication Pakistan , Karachi

Mr. Zafar Malik, PIPFPD, Lahore

Mr. Adam Malik, Action-Aid Pakistan , Karachi

Mr. Qamarul Hasan, International Union of Food Workers (IUF), Karachi

Prof. Muhammad Nauman, NED University , Karachi

Mr. Mirza Maqsood, General Secretary, Mazdoor Mahaz-e-Amal

Ms. Shaista Bukhari, Women Rights Association, Multan

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