Resolution passed by delegates at the Second Visa- Free and Peaceful South Asia Convention held in Lahore, September 15 to 17, 2006.

Resolution passed by delegates at the Second Visa- Free and Peaceful South Asia Convention held in Lahore, September 15 to 17, 2006.

We, the delegates of this Second Convention hereby resolve that the following steps be taken both by civil society and the governments of South Asia:

1. Improve and strengthen a relationship of friendship and cooperation among the countries of South Asia. To achieve this, these countries should become Visa Free so that the people of the region enjoy full freedom to meet each other, and thus the common socio-cultural and historical heritage of the region is taken forward, and trade is enhanced. It is further resolved that initiatives be taken to give shape to SAARC economic union. Keeping in view the above stated objective, children, senior citizens, members of civil organizations, students, and teachers of schools, colleges and universities be given top priority in the granting of visas.

2. Democratic and humanistic values be strengthened in these countries, and adequate social and legal protection be afforded to the oppressed and marginalized sections of society, particularly to women, dalits, and ethnic and religious minorities; active steps be taken for repealing laws, and ending social practices, that are discriminatory towards these sections.

3. India and Pakistan take the lead in putting an end to their nuclear weapons and begin working towards making the entire South Asian region a Nuclear-free Zone in a time-bound manner. This may be done in a phased manner, beginning with the freezing of nuclear weaponry, followed by disarmament, and culminating in total disarmament. The countries of the region should re-evaluate the very use of nuclear energy even for supposedly peaceful purposes, taking into consideration the serious health and environmental hazards associated with it. Further the SAARC states should expeditiously conclude a South Asian No-War Pact to facilitate South Asian Cooperation. Additionally, immediate steps should be taken to free the region from the dangers of land mines.

4. To build confidence and solidarity in the region, no country of the region should get into any agreement with any superpower that is likely to create a danger for the autonomy and sovereignty of the region. Of particular concern in this regard is the recent Indo-U.S. nuclear deal; India, in the interest of the region, must withdraw forthwith from this deal and thereby establish a strong and correct precedent.

5. Democratic values and systems of governance must become the prevailing norm for the entire South Asian region.

6. Immediate steps be taken by all the governments of the region to halt militarization and to gradually reduce military expenditure in a publicly stated, transparent and pro-active manner; the resources thus saved be allocated for such common concerns as health and education.

7. For quick resolution of the long-standing Kashmir issue, an immediate first step should be total demilitarization of Kashmir. Thereafter bold and accommodating initiatives be taken in a time-bound manner to resolve the issue in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir.

8. Given the common socio-cultural and historical heritage of the region, active initiatives for peace and harmony be taken by progressive forces to counter the sectarian and communal forces destabilizing the region.

9. Steps be taken for the restoration of rights to natural resources like water, land and forests, to their rightful ownership by the common people of the region; the illegitimate and destructive appropriation of these rights by the forces of globalization, which we believe are anti-people, be halted. We therefore pledge our continuing support for all pro-people movements in their struggles against the forces of globalization acting under the direction of what we believe to be the illegitimate and self-appropriated power of bodies like the WTO, World Bank, IMF and ADB