Top civil rights activist from both sides of the border on Sunday pitched for India and Pakistan resuming talks, saying the atmosphere of mistrust was helping terrorists.
The dialogue process — stalled after the 26/11 Mumbai attack — should resume as that was the only way to bring peace and development to the region, they said.
Inter-governmental dialogue should become uninterrupted and uninterruptible, Mani Shankar Aiyar, former Union minister, said at a two-day seminar in Delhi on Sunday. Before entering politics, Aiyar was with the Indian Foreign Service and had served in Karachi.
Citing the US-Vietnam dialogue, which had inbuilt mechanism to ensure continuity of the process, Aiyar said interlocutors should continue to meet.
“Let’s have our foreign secretaries routinely meeting at a table laid on the Attari-Wagah border, literally. Both sides are in their own countries and nobody has a chance to leave. Let them meet once a week or twice a month even without an agenda. This will keep the communication channels on because meeting each other is critical.
Aitzaz Ahsan, a respected lawyer who spearheaded the movement for restoration of independent judiciary in post-emergency Pakistan, agreed with Aiyar.
The senior member of the Pakistan People’s Party that leads the coalition government in that country said the governments should start talking to solve the problems, as the civil society initiative alone would not be enough.
Terming the Mumbai terror attacks a South Asian grief, he said, “Bombay (Mumbai) was our grief, it was a South Asian grief.
They (terrorists) are a possessed minority. They are also hitting at our men and women. Let the terrorists not tear us apart.”
India, however, should also look into the sleeper cells, or local support, that helped the terrorists launch the attack.
In his address veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar said, “Narrow-visioned political leaders and bureaucrats on both sides instead of bridging the gulf between two countries, only widened it...”