Activists urge immediate dialogue between Pakistan, India

LAHORE: Peace activists from Pakistan and India have urged Islamabad and New Delhi to address the recent escalation in ceasefire violations at Line of Control and Working Boundary in order to ensure safety of civilians.

People who endorsed the statement also brought government's attention towards the sufferings of civilians, students and farmers who are being deprived of their education and profession as they are living in areas where violence may erupt anytime.

Appeal endorsed by many eminent activists, academicians has been sent to offices of the Prime Minister of India and Pakistan as well as to high commissions of both the countries. “More than 400 incidents of violations have been recorded in this year 2018 only,” it stated.

A Pakistan Army spokesperson in a recent press conference said Indian ceasefire violations at Working Boundary and Line of Control (LoC) were the worst in history and in 2018, there have been 948 violations. He said India needs to realise that aggression at border will ruin prospects of peace.   

According to the appeal, "This is difficult time to see disturbances along Line of Control where reports are coming of frequent ceasefire violations both countries that is resulting loss of lives of soldiers on both sides and also of civilians."

It is also reported that people who are living nearby border areas are fleeing their villages to save their lives. It is said that this is first time when artillery was used after the ceasefire agreement of year 2003.

“Reports are coming of civilians which include even school students who got stranded in their schools due to heavy shelling. Bunkers are being provided to villages."

"Many schools have been closed, walls of schools and houses are damaged, agricultural fields are destroyed and studies are hampered.

“These all are in contrary to fewer such incidents in earlier years. We, who are concerned about these frequent violations, see that role of diplomats and political leaders of both sides is extremely important and crucial at this time,” it stated.  

Many think tanks and experts found that engagement through dialogues with each other always help in reducing numbers and intensity of such violations, it added

“We have example of effective engagements of both sides during the year 2003 when despite earlier present vicious atmosphere, government of both sides together took the role for the verbally announced agreement that brought down numbers of incident sharply from 8,376 incidents in 2002 to almost nil incidents during 2004 and 2005 and then only fewer violations in years."

They demanded to start frequent meetings of DGMOs of both sides immediately, to remove heavy shelling arms, artillery from front lines immediately, and to take immediate measures to stop ceasefire violations to protect lives of soldiers and civilians on both sides.

“We are well wishers of democratic values and we want to see a developed, more engaged and peaceful South Asia,” it stated.

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