Peace and democracy issues to be in spotlight when people from Pakistan and India meet in Allahabad

[हिंदी] 8th joint convention of India and Pakistan chapters of PIPFPD in Allahabad
The 8th joint convention of India and Pakistan chapters of Pak-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) is scheduled to be held during 29-31 December 2011 in Allahabad, UP, India, said Mr Irfan Ahmad, senior Vice President of PIPFPD (UP State chapter) in a press conference at UP Press Club.

This forthcoming joint convention of PIPFPD in Allahabad will bring together hundreds of peace activists from both the nations. The joint convention of PIPFPD will further endorse the following steps to 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.

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.

4. Recent nuclear emergency in Japan leaves no doubt that this world needs to renounce nuclear power for military and civil/ energy purposes, as soon as possible, to put an end to any further catastrophe in the name of 'energy', 'security' or 'technology'. Nuclear power is clearly the most dangerous options for civil or military use.

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. 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.

8. 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.

Bobby Ramakant- CNS

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