JULY 2001- Contents
Travel & Adventure
the-south-asian.com July 2001
An Open Letter
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed
Pakistanis for Peace and Alternative Development (PPAD) is a world-wide network of Pakistanis, dedicated to working in the interest of peace, social justice and enlightened humanism in Pakistan, South Asia, and around the world.
The whole world in general and the people of Pakistan and India in particular are anxiously looking up to you for leadership and statesmanship. They expect you to take some bold and farsighted initiatives to spare South Asia the scourge of a potential nuclear war, grinding, abject poverty and mounting frenzy of religious and nationalist extremism. This you can achieve only by interacting with each other in a spirit of reconciliation, accommodation and sincerity when discussing those outstanding disputes and conflicts that have plagued relations between the two countries since they attained independence in mid-August 1947.
Indeed it would be tragic if this opportunity were wasted through the usual employment of diplomatic manoeuvres, zero-sum tactics and other shows of vanity and power. The people of Pakistan and India have had enough of such antics and now expect you to act resolutely but generously.
The Kashmir dispute is undoubtedly one of the central topics for discussion and negotiation. It is imperative that it is not treated as one about ownership of territory alone. We urge you to consider all options rationally and in a spirit of accommodation. It is our firm conviction that no solution can be found through resort to cross-border terrorism, limited war along the Line of Control or something as foolish and destructive as an all-out-war between the armed forces of the two states.
Most other regions of the world have decided to bury old nationalist dreams in favour of greater prosperity through trade, cooperative ventures and free exchange of cultural and educational experiences. Borders drenched in blood only a few decades earlier are now positive symbols of national identity. The most apt example is present-day West Europe.
The legacy of our elders – the various sufis, gurus, sants and sages – is indeed rich in humanist attitudes, ideas and ideals. There is of course the tradition of hatred, bigotry and cruelty deeply rooted in our past, too. We have to make a choice for now and for tomorrow and thereafter. Shall our present and future generations hold the olive branch or the gun when they interact with one another? Nobody can give a more reliable answer to this question than you and your governments.
1. Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed (Associate Professor)
Department of Political Science
S-106 91 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Members of the PPAD Committee (in alphabetical order)
2. Prof. Susan Mussarat Akram (Law), USA
3. Dr. Ghazala Anwar (Islamic Theology), New Zealand
4. Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry, SJ, SBt.
Pakistan Air Force (Retd)
Principal, St. Anthony's High School,
5. Nazeer Chaudhry (Business and Human Rights)
6. Dr Maqsood Choudary (Political Science), USA
7. Prof. Hassan Gardezi
Professor Emeritus (Sociology)
Sault Ate Marie
8. Faisal A. Gilani (Sustainable Development), Pakistan
9. Prof. Dr. Bilal Hashmi, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus (Sociology)
Eastern Washington University
Cheney, WA. 99004 (USA.
10. Owais Hasin (Architect) Karachi, Pakistan
11. Dr. Inayatullah (Human Rights)
12. Ayyub Malik (Architect), UK
13. Dr Babar Mumtaz (Reader), UK)
14. Dr A. H. Nayyar (Physics), Pakistan.
15. Aamir Riaz (Author and Publisher), Lahore, Pakistan.
16. Dr. Ahmed Shibli (Science and Technology), UK
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