January 24, 2009 12:31:19 am
It was not all promises of peace-building or even pledging solidarity in the fight against terrorism. The peace mission from Pakistan,in the Capital since Wednesday,had undercurrents of seething tension in a concluding interactive session with the media on Friday. The Pakistani delegation comprising members of the South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR),educationists,political leaders,human rights defenders and journalists from across the border took a volley of questions,but not without a few pinches of salt.
Admitting that terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan was spilling on to Indian territory,Imtiaz Alam,general secretary of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) maintained that some mechanism should be developed at the SAARC level. I share the disappointment of the government here for failure to develop a joint programme. Our agonies and blood is common and so should be our approach (to terrorism), said Alam.
While the peace mission tried to iron out differences following the Mumbai terror attacks,every pointed finger in the interactive session was countered. Responding to a question on why the peace mission did not choose to first sort out issues of home grown terror,a journalist in the delegation retorted,The same question should be put to you (India).
A section of the Indian media was unsparing,with caustic questions like,If Kasab was a Pakistani,why deny it? To this most delegates admitted that it had been a mistake and the Pakistani government should have owned up at the very first instance. Alam,however,subtly added,Parents do deny the existence of such kids.
Though fireworks made its way into the interaction,Asma Jahangir maintained that the mission wasnt a governmental initiative but a concerted civilian effort at bringing the two nations together. We dont need to seek permission from our government to come here. We are committed to peace. Building peace is more difficult than going to war.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.