Fourth Pakistan-India Peoples’ Convention on Peace and Democracy,
Peshawar, November 21-22, 1998.
Over three hundred Pakistanis and Indians participated in this convention to discuss the ways and means of breaking out of the political and militaristic impasse created by the decision-makers of the two nations. The participants at the two-day meeting endorsed the decisions taken at the first three conventions and reiterated the importance of building on the work done up to now.
The delegates noted that a significant change had taken place between the third and fourth conventions – the worsening of peace prospects in the region as a result of the nuclear tests conducted by both India and Pakistan. The convention was unanimous in the condemnation of both governments decision to introduce nuclear weapons in the subcontinent and demanded the implementation of concrete measures towards de-nuclearisation.
The convention held that the interests of the people of Pakistan and India cannot be served by the continuation of policies of external and internal militarisation, systematic violation of human rights, resort to authoritarian and draconian laws against legitimate democratic interests and activities of citizens, discrimination against women and children in the name of culture or religion and unjustifiable interference with movement of people, information and goods across national boundaries. Governments of both countries must institute processes to reverse the harmful policies and practices followed in the past. Citizens groups in both countries have to play a vital role in putting pressure on the policy makers toward these ends.
Ultimately, peace and democracy in Pakistan and India, and in the subcontinent, cannot become a reality unless the Kashmir question and other political issues are resolved to the satisfaction of all the parties involved and the people affected by them. Resolution of these issues cannot be delayed indefinitely and the convention demands that the governments of the two countries make much more serious, transparent and urgent attempts to put an end to the adversarial relations between them within a short period.