The joint statement by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan on the occasion of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt has been welcomed by prominent citizens.


Mumbai, Jul 17 : Welcoming the joint statement of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani signed on the sidelines of Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt, several Indian peace activists, including Admiral (retd) L Ramdas and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt today said it has put the Mumbai attacks and terrorism upfront unlike the impression sought to be created by hawkish elements in both the countries.


”The statement of Mr Gilani that whosoever was behind the Mumbai attacks will be brought to justice is a positive development and we urge Pakistan to follow it up with appropriate and immediate action,” the activists said.


The joint statement de-linking terrorism from dialogue was a positive sign as the terrorists had the capacity to derail the peace process through their nefarious activities, they noted.


Urging India and Pakistan to start working together on the issue of terrorism quickly, the activists said both were victims of terrorism — mostly from the same elements. The only way to isolate and defeat the terrorists was by both the countries engaging in constant dialogue and cooperation to root out this menace, they said, adding that a joint mechanism against terrorism was necessary.


Pointing out that prior to 26/11, four rounds of composite dialogue were held on the identified eight issues and significant progress was made on all fronts and major breakthroughs were in sight when the Mumbai terror attacks derailed the process, they said that in hindsight, it appeared that 26/11 was perhaps enacted to scuttle such breakthroughs that appeared imminent.


”The resumption of composite dialogue is the only road map towards permanent peace in the sub-continent and if the joint statement is implemented in letter and spirit, the resumption of dialogue can take place as early as September, when the leadership of both the countries meet on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly,” the activists said in their joint statement released here.


The signatories to the joint statement also included Kamla Bhasin, Prof Kamal Chenoy, Jatin Desai, Mazher Hussain, Varsha Rajan Berry, Lalita Ramdas, Sukla Sen and Manisha Gupte.

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