As we celebrate Independence of India and Pakistan
from slavery of the British, we continue to be slaves to threats of war,
secessionist movements, terrorist acts, and communal violence. It does not take
much to move us from the edge of peace to the brink of war, from celebrations
of harmony to declaration of hostility.
This state of affairs continues to divert resources away
from the real problems of our peoples, like the poor state of educational and
health facilities, continued abuse of women and children, and massive poverty.
It is time we face reality. Whatever role the Western
imperialists, international conspirators, our own political leaders,
bureaucrats, military establishments, vested interests, and terroristsare playing, just blaming them is not
Let’s be truthful and admit that the real culprits include
us. We the peace activists of and from the region have not done enough to
change the status quo. For the money and other resources consumed, we do not
have much to show for. If we were employees of a private corporation, we would
have been fired a long time ago.
Doing just something is not enough. We need to do more than
occasional protests, petitions, conventions, marches and vigils. It is not
sufficient to measure success in the number of posters put up, hand bills
distributed, emails sent, events held, or resolutions passed.
Whatever we do, it must be effective. It must make
measurable progress towards our goal of durable peace between India
and harmony among our various religious, ethnic, and regional communities.
What we need is an organized, coordinated, and sustained
mass movement. We need to enlist active support of people who stand to benefit
from peace and harmony - families divided by borders; businessmen who are
forced to trade through third countries; artists, writers and sportsmen who are
humiliated by visa and registration formalities. We need to convince men and
women on our streets and in our neighborhoods, why peace and harmony are in
We need to mobilize people. We need to get them out on every
street and in every public square demanding peace and harmony from our
government, political, religious and social leaders.
We cannot afford to wait for someone else to do something,
sometime, somehow, somewhere. Each one of us must be willing to commit everything
one has to help achieve our goal.
What are you going to do about it? When will you be ready?
PEACE & HARMONY NEWS
Muslim woman joins a Hindu in prayer for those killed in the Mumbai blasts (PTI
Photo, Via India West, July
28, 2006, p. A4)
*Muslim girls busy purchasing colourful 'Rakhis' for their
brothers at a shop in Patna on Sunday.,SouthAsia Media www.southasianmedia.net,
Jointly organized by People’s Development Foundation and
South Asia Partnership in Hyderabad,
and Vidya Ashram in Sarnath,
The First Virtual India-Pakistan Dailogue was held on
August 3, 2006. Many
prominent poets, writers, journalists, political workers and social and peace
activists from both countries shared their experiences with each other over the
AMRITSAR: Talking to the mediapersons
here on Saturday, MrSatnamManak, state convener of South Asian Free Media
Association (SAFMA), said the delegation of 13 Pakistanis (including 10
parliamentarians of different parties) would start their march from Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore, with placards seeking a permanent thaw in the
region. They will arrive at Wagah for a candlelight
vigil on the intervening night of August 14 and 15, on the invitation of
veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar.
would visit JallianwalaBagh
at Amritsar to pay their homage to
the martyrs of 1919. A seminar would also be organised
on the subject of Indo-Pak peace.
The UNP Sunday expressed its grave concern over the events of the last few
days, which has seen the total collapse of the cease-fire between the
Government and the LTTE. “We call upon the Government, as well as the LTTE, as
a mater of the greatest urgency, to take all steps to observe the cease-fire
and to return to negotiations, as the only means of achieving a just and
durable solution to the ethnic conflict.
DHAKA: A regional study has identified 10 regional road
corridors, five regional rail corridors, two inland waterways corridors, 10
maritime gateways and 16 aviation gateways for establishing a SAARC regional
multi-modal transport system. The South Asian Association of Regional
Cooperation Multimodal Transport Study also identified the problems of the
corridors and suggested specific measures to address them.
Multimodal transport means transportation of goods, by at
least two modes of transport, such as by rails and by sea.
NEW DELHI: HizbulMuajhideen, the frontline
militant outfit in Jammu and Kashmir,
has asked Kashmiri pundits (Hindus) to return to the valley. He said that the
militant outfit would not allow the sale or illegal occupation of temples.
TEHRATHUM: YogmayaKattuwal, 17, spent two-and-a-half years with Maoists
and then was in army custody for eleven months. She no longer carries a gun and
bullets. Instead, she is seen carrying pens and books these days.
*India: Child Labor in Homes, Hospitality
Industries Banned, India
West, August 11, 2006
NEW DELHI (AP):
The Indian government has banned the employment of children under age 14 as
domestic servants or in hotels, restaurants or small teashops in a bid to
protect the rights of poor children.
Foreign Minister KhurshidKasuri
on Thursday sounded cautiously optimistic about the future of the
Pakistan-India peace process and shrugged off the doomsday scenario being
projected in the media. MrKasuriemphasised that there was a large peace constituency
in both the countries and the peace process enjoyed bipartisan political
support on both sides. While conceding that the peace process was not easy, he
underlined that it required patience and steadfastness.
When contacted by Dawn, Indian High
Commissioner ShivShankarMenon saw no reason for the sudden panic over the
Indo-Pakistan peace process and maintained that things had been blown out of
“We both have leadership that sincerely wants the peace process to succeed,” he
noted, dispelling the impression that there was a breakdown in the dialogue.
The government and the Maoists today reached a five-point agreement to seek the
assistance of the United Nations in the entire peace process and create a free
and fair atmosphere for the election to a Constituent Assembly. Chief
government negotiator and Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula
and leader of the Maoist talks team Krishna Bahadur Mahara
said the five-point agreement was a “historic” event for Nepal
in the path to finding a peaceful solution to the decade-old conflict.
COLOMBO: The fourth meeting of the Heads of National TV,
Radio and News Agencies of SAARC countries will meet for two days from today at
the Ceylon Continental Hotel, Colombo to work-out a regulatory
framework to balance functioning between the private channels and public
service broadcasters in the SAARC region.
NEW DELHI: Sri Lanka asked LTTE rebels to return to peace talks Monday and
expressed its commitment to find a negotiated settlement to all issues even as
fighting between Tamil tigers and Government forces escalated in the country's
north-east region. A day after peace broker Norway began decisive efforts to find a breakthrough,
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister MangalaSamaraweera said his country was committed to honour the ceasefire despite numerous attacks against
Government forces by the rebels. "We still believe that we must get back
to the table. We feel LTTE is also feeling the same because of international
pressure," he told reporters after a meeting with senior leaders of the
Indian Communist Party (CPI) A. B. Bardhan and D Raja
at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
*India PM apologises to AsmaJehangirTHE HINDU |Friday, August 04,2006
ISLAMABAD: The four times-a-week bus service is running packed.
The surcharged atmosphere after the Mumbai blasts and the subsequent
postponement of talks between the two countries do not seem to have affected
the enthusiasm of people wanting to travel to India.
DHAKA: As Bangladesh struggles to tackle frequent blackouts, a feasibility
study on connecting the country's power network with India's Northeast Power Grid to import electricity has
begun, officials here said Saturday.
COLOMBO: The Maldives, the Indian
Ocean island nation known
for its picturesque beaches and idyllic resorts, has sought India's expertise in food processing and packaging
technologies to boost its tourism-oriented economy.
may soon get to see a retreat ceremony of border guards in the state on the
lines of the colourful one at Wagah.
The Union ministry of home affairs plans to introduce such a ceremony at the
land port of Petrapole in North 24-Parganas district.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has called on the 65-member Conference on Disarmament
to start negotiations for a universal, unconditional and legally-binding
instrument to guarantee that nuclear weapon states would not use or threaten
the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states that have formally
renounced them. The ambassadors of China, Nigeria, Russia, India, Morocco, Kenya, Germany, Algeria, Senegal and Switzerland also called for an early action on negative security
assurances for non-nuclear states.
DHAKA: Foreign Secretary Shyam
Saran said there was common understanding between India and Pakistan that the peace process is very important and the two
countries should try and take it forward.
Pakistan Foreign Minister KhurshidMahmoodKasuri said the
peace process was in the interest of both the countries and neither India nor Pakistan does a favour by talking to
each other. "It is in the interest of both the countries."
lube and diesel remain on the negative (trade) list, Pakistan has placed an order for import of lube oil. The first
cargo of 4,886 tonnes was shipped out from Haldia on July 6 and the second of around the same quantity
is being negotiated and is expected to be shipped in August,’ IndianOil Chairman and Managing Director SarthakBehuria told the media
COLOMBO: Under the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy
(SARI/Energy) Energ Markets Partnership funded by the
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 15 executives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan & Sri Lanka met with executives from
the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP).
ISLAMABAD: The proposed amendments to the Hudood
Ordinances include removing the offence of zinabiljabr, or rape, from the
ordinances and adding it to the Pakistan Penal Code. The bill explicitly states
that it is designed to “provide relief and protection to women against misuse
and abuse of law”.
MALE: The Maldives
could have a Supreme Court as early as 2007, following a landmark vote in the
Special Majlis.MPs from across the political spectrum
voted overwhelmingly in favour of creating a Supreme
Court, which will be the final authority on legal matters and will be
independent from the executive. Under the current constitution, drafted by
President Gayoom in the 1990s, the president is the
head of the judiciary with the power to overturn court rulings, appoint the
Chief Justice and appoint members of the Judicial Services Commission.
Giving a fresh impetus to the
ongoing peace process, the Government and National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Issac-Muivah) on Monday
agreed to extend the ceasefire in Nagaland by another
year and promised to move 'expeditiously' discussing all 'substantive' issues
for a lasting solution to the country's oldest insurgency problem.
NEW DELHI: India and Bhutan have
signed a new 10-year accord on trade and transit that gives the landlocked
Himalayan kingdom more entry and exit points for commerce, simplifies
procedures for import and export between the two neighbours,
and allows India to import a minimum of 5,000 megawatts from hydel power-rich Bhutan by 2020, India's commerce ministry
said on Friday.
Bangladesh and Pakistan
are likely to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in next three to four months,
said Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh MD Abdul Hannan
here on Friday during an interactive session with SITE industrialists.
Maoists extend truce, Rediff.com, July 27, 2006 IST
QUETTA: Pakistan handed over 58 prisoners
to the Afghan authorities on Sunday. “The Afghan authorities will investigate
the prisoners before releasing them to see if they include any Taliban,” said
Inspector Munsif Khan, of the Balochistan
police. Early last week, police arrested 250 Afghans, including Taliban and
members of a madrassa, on grounds that they lacked
Despite voicing certain reservations, leaders of the JUI-F, Jamaat-i-Islami
and ANP in principle endorsed the ARD's Charter of
Democracy here on Saturday at a seminar organised by
the PPPP. They all agreed that the military's role in politics must be brought
to an end to make Pakistan
a truly democratic country.
Tribal militants in North Waziristan
extended by another month their unilateral ceasefire on Saturday to allow more
time to the LoyaJirga
(grand council) to mediate between them and the government for peacefully
ending the bloody conflict in the area.
The Peace Committee comprising representatives of the parliamentary parties
today finalised the drafts of the Ceasefire Agreement
and the Treaty on Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws to be adhered to by the
Government of Nepal and the CPN-Maoist during the period of mutual ceasefire.
*Pak for Increasing Thar Train Service, PTI, India
West, July 21, 2006
Rajasthan: Islamabad has proposed
that the frequency of the Thar Express train between Munabao in India
and Khokhrapar in Pakistan
be increased to twice a week in view of large public response to it, railway
sources said here.
Despite a bad patch in relations between the governments of the two countries
since last week's bomb blasts in Mumbai, Indian and Pakistani officials met on
Wednesday to discuss ways to beef up border security and combat smuggling. The
talks between the border security officials at the Wagah
border check post came days after India postponed a meeting of foreign
secretaries due this week in New Delhi to review progress in a peace process
begun over 2 years ago.
Pakistani security guards
receive fruits from their Indian counterparts before their routine talks at Wagha.
Border Security Force officials greet their
counterparts in the Pakistan Rangers at the Wagah border on July 19.
* At Wagah,
it's all smiles, Rediff.com, July 19, 2006
MUMBAI: It was as if a teacher
had entered a rowdy classroom. An unusual hush settled over Churchgate
station as the glowing red digits on the hanging clocks announced it was . One could even hear the scrawny old
fans overhead, or the next person breathing…/ Suburban trains stopped
completely. Cable operators stopped services, cinemas halted screenings,
hospitals stopped everything except surgeries, and aircraft did not take off or
land for those two minutes… At Mahim station,
President APJ Abdul Kalam led the country in
observing a two-minute silence. Accompanied by ChiefMinister
A girl writes a message on a
banner during a peace march organized to express solidarity with bomb blast
VilasraoDeshmukh, Kalam laid a
wreath at a memorial at the station, one of seven places hit by the blasts…
Outside VidhanBhavan, all
vehicles, including private cars, were stopped. Even traffic signals went off.
The silence was observed at ManiBhavan
Meanwhile, the All-India
Christian Council and the Harmony Foundation held a multi-religious prayer
meeting and observed silence at all the railway stations where blasts took
place. It was supported by organisations such as the JamaitUlema, RazaAcademy,
and Catholic Secular Forum. Pooja Bhatt and RakhiSawant attended, along with
religious leaders like MaulanaMustaquim,
Joseph Dias, Abraham Mathai and Bishop Prakash Patole.
The Muslim organisationRazaAcademy released pigeons and white balloons from Minara mosque in South
Mumbai as a sign of peace.
About 98 postgraduate scholarships in teaching, survey engineering, geo-technical
engineering, public administration, human resource management, and business
administration will be offered to Bhutanese under the Government of India
assistance this year.
The cabinet meeting held today at the Prime Minister’s residence decided to
amend 23 laws and scrap 16 laws that contradict the House of Representatives (HoR) declaration of May 18.
*India to moot national govt in LankaTHE NATION | Monday, July 17,2006
The Indian government is attempting to broker a deal between the Sri Lankan
government and the main opposition to form a national government to solve the
national question expeditiously, diplomatic sources said.
A grand tribal jirga has been formed to discuss ways
to establish peace in North Waziristan Agency and
address the problems of the people of the agency. The jirga
consists of 45 members representing all the tribal agencies and the Frontier
Regions and will begin working from July 20, an official press release said.
PEACE EDUCATION & TRAINING
Peace University (TPU) in Cluj,
the world’s first on-line university for peace and development studies
announces the following courses On-Line
*September 2, Lahore, Pakistan: SECOND VISA-FREE & PEACEFUL SOUTH
ASIA CONVENTION. More info from RajeshwarOjha at firstname.lastname@example.org
*September 21: PEACE ONE DAY. This year, for the first time in
the history, Peace One Day will attempt to manifest commitments for its
celebration in all 191 member-states of the United Nations. Also
people are urged to join the global effort to observe a minute of silence for
peace at 12-noon on 21 September. More
info from www.peaceoneday.org, or
Jeremy Gilley Founder, Peace One Day, Block D, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick
Lane, London E1 6QL, Tel: +44 (0) 207 456 9180, Fax: +44 (0) 207 375 2007,
*September 23. Manchester, U.K.: TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ.
DON'T ATTACK IRAN,
a demonstration timed for the start of the Labour
Party annual conference and to coincide with a peace camp in the city organised by Military Families Against
the War (http://www.mfaw.org.uk/). The StWC national office will help with resources and advice.
Telephone 020 7278 6694 or email email@example.com.
*October 02-06, Chandigarh,
FOR PEACE being organized by The
and Yuvsatta, for Indian and Pakistani youth of ages
15-22 years “to
promote peace particularly between Pakistan
and India,” at DevSamajCollege
of Education, Sector 36-B. A number of mixed
group activities shall take place; no
lengthy and boring lectures would be made.
Excursion trips would be arranged, possibly
also to Solan (Hill
Station). Register before 31 July 2006. More info, including costs,