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‘Indian and Pakistani citizens speak out against war’ – peace activists initiate online petition

Friday 14 October 2016, by siawi3

Source: http://nation.com.pk/featured/30-Sep-2016/indian-and-pakistani-citizens-speak-out-against-war-peace-activists-initiate-online

‘Indian and Pakistani citizens speak out against war’ – peace activists initiate online petition

September 30, 2016, 9:12 pm

R Umaima Ahmed

In the recent rise in temperature on both side of the border due to war hysteria, few ambassadors of peace have refused to chant slogans of war.

Chintan Girish Modi from India and a supporter of the campaign called #aaodostikarein started an online petition “Indian and Pakistani citizens speak out against war.”

The petition would be given to Prime Minister Narindara Modi and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif once 2500 people have signed it from both sides of the border. Over 1700 people have already signed it in the past two days.

The basic concept of the petition is to tell leaders of both sides to resolve issues diplomatically and end this war hysteria. If war does take place both sides will be at loss. The petition states:

“We, the people of India and Pakistan, stand in solidarity with each other to speak out against war in any form because, in war, we are all losers regardless of who might appear to win. We urge our leaders to come up with creative diplomatic solutions instead of engaging in a violent display of military might that threatens to destroy precious human life and natural resources.”

It further points out that Pakistan and India have other major issues to tackle like meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

“We want India and Pakistan to make a joint commitment to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and our vision for a better future for the young people of this planet.”

A number of famous people from both sides of the border came forward to speak of peace too. Salman Ahmed of Janoon the band from Pakistan, Shobhaa De an author, Anand Patwardhan (who made a movie titled “War and Peace” after India and Pakistan did nuclear tests), Artist Rumana Husain from Karachi and Poet Bina Sarkar Ellias from Mumbai have signed the petition too.

Chintan Girish Modi answering The Nation’s question shared his thoughts as to why he believes Pakistan and India should not go on war. “I have visited Pakistan four times, as part of peace initiatives hosted by the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi, and Lahore University of Management Sciences. I have also met Pakistanis as part of peace building initiatives in Nepal, India and the United States. Each interaction has reaffirmed my faith in the power of citizens to take responsibility for building bridges. We waste far too much energy complaining about what the government is not doing. Let us begin by doing what we can. Let us show our leaders that we want taxpayers’ money to be utilized to build schools, to eradicate poverty, to create jobs, and to improve the quality of air. War benefits no one, not even those who sell weapons. Who will stay alive if there is a nuclear winter? Absolutely no one.”

When asked if such petitions are helpful he said, “Yes, it will be effective. If you read their comments, you’ll feel hopeful and reassured that not everyone is baying for blood. There are people who sincerely believe in reconciliation, and working together for the progress of both countries.”

To a question if online activism helps in creating peace he responded, “People say that online activism is futile. It isn’t if you acknowledge the need to create all sorts of spaces, offline and online, to consolidate voices that speak resolutely against war. We need to amplify these voices because television talk shows make no space for them to be heard. The cacophony of hate needs to be countered with an unflinching commitment to peace. And that’s possible if you and I speak up.”

Since both India and Pakistan are nuclear weapon states, there are peace building efforts going on in both countries to ensure nothing goes wrong. Peace activists keep spreading their message trying to educate politicians, establishments and masses that war will not benefit anyone.