We seek renewal of the peace process: Pakistani delegation

January 23rd, 2009 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Three days after they arrived in India with the message of peace, a Pakistani delegation led by noted human rights activist Asma Jahangir Friday said it’s time civil society here too asked questions about the slow progress of the peace talks between the two nations.While admitting that the Pakistan government has an obligation to play a key role not to derail the peace process between the two countries, which took a backseat after the 26/11 Mumbai attack, Jugnu Mohsin, journalist and a member of the delegation, said that it’s not enough to simply point fingers.

“We understand the Indian people’s emotion after what happened in Mumbai. But we have not been unaffected by it as well. It’s the same monster terrorizing both the nations. And the solution can be arrived at only by cooperation,” he said.

“I, therefore, urge the civil society and each one of you here to ask questions about the slow progress of the peace talks. Why is that during the eight years of Musharraf regime, and he was supposed to be India’s blue-eyed boy, not a single agreement was signed between the two countries?” Mohsin said at a press meet in the capital Friday.

While he said the delegation members do not represent the Pakistani government, they met various political leaders like Karan Singh, chairperson of the foreign affairs department of the Congress party, A.B.Bardhan, secretary general of the Communist Party of India, Mulayam Singh Yadav, president of the Samajwadi Party, and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.

And although the response from the political quarters here was “lukewarm”, the delegation said it is more important to ensure that the talks don’t stop.

“What we are calling for here today is a renewal of the peace process. War is never a solution because that will impact both the nations severely,” Asma Jahangir said.

“All that we can say is that we, as civil society, are going on pressurising our government to cooperate for fair investigation into the Mumbai attack. We do think that the government should have admitted that the lone surviving terrorist captured after 26/11 was a Pakistani national,” she added.

To US President Barack Obama’s remarks that Pakistan and Afghanistan are the epicentres of terrorism, Imtiaz Alam, another member of the delegation, said: “We have every interest in removing terror from our country. For this, we call upon cooperation from all the South Asian countries”.

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