It didn’t feel like a gathering of citizens of two countries fighting a bitter war of words with bilateral ties in deep freeze.
The talk was of peace as a delegation of prominent civil society leaders of Pakistan on Wednesday met their Indian counterparts and pleaded for lowering the “war rhetoric”. An armed conflict would fulfil the very design behind the Mumbai attacks, they said.
“Ajmal Kasab is indeed a butcher. I know his family, his father, sister and mother. My father’s village is not far from his. But I can tell you, he would not have become a terrorist had there been a school in his village,” Jugnu Mohsin, publisher of The Friday Times, said.
“The Mumbai attack is a bigger phenomenon than just Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. It has an objective, a strategy. An Indo-Pak war will fulfil that,” rights activist Asma Jehangir said.
Organised by the South Asians for Human Rights and the South Asian Free Media Association, this is the first public interaction between members of the Indian and Pakistani intelligentsia since 26/11.
The delegation that came through the Wagah border and flew to Delhi from Amristar met several senior politicians, including CPI’s A.B. Bardhan and Congress’ Karan Singh.