01/23/2009, 00.00
PAKISTAN – INDIA
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Pakistani delegation in India to promote peace after Mumbai massacre

by Qaiser Felix
The group, made up of 24 leading elements of civil society, intends to defuse the climate of tension between the two countries and promote the common struggle against terrorism. The delegates express hope for collaboration in the search for the truth about the authors of the attack, and stress the importance of an organization to work for peace in the region.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Since January 21, a delegation made up of Pakistani groups and activists has been in New Delhi to promote relations with Indian civil society. The "peace mission" intends to defuse the climate of tension between the two countries, sharpened by the crisis following the attack last November 26 in Mumbai. The members of the delegation - made up of 24 elements, including human rights activists, journalists, analysts, and politicians - wanted to bring a message of peace and solidarity to the victims and to the entire population of India, calling the two nations to a "common effort in the fight against terrorism."

The peace delegation emerged from a joint initiative of the association South Asians for Human Rights and the South Asian Free Media Association: it intends to interact with representatives of civil society, the media, and politics in India, in order to "stress the need to keep the peace process going, jointly fight the scourge of terrorism at all levels, and in every manner avoid war, in the best interest of the peoples of India and Pakistan."

The Pakistani peace mission "condemns unequivocally and unreservedly the November 26 terrorist attack in Mumbai as a most heinous crime against innocent people. We share the grief of the families of victims and the people of India whose friendship we cherish."

In regard to the growing tension between New Delhi and Islamabad over the report asserting the involvement of "Pakistani elements" in the massacre, they say that "India must eschew anger and get Pakistan to engage in negotiations on the basis of verified facts." The delegates also ask for a new impulse for the expansion of the SAARC - the South Asian Association for Regional Peace - as a privileged place for the resolution of "common challenges" and for the creation of a "process of stable peace in the area."

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