A press release said the delegates agreed to the need for peace between the two countries and the importance of a sustained dialogue to resolve bilateral issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism, water-sharing, trade and investment.
They endorsed the Aman Ki Asha initiative of the Jang Group of Pakistan and The Times of India Group and recommended the following:
WATER: India and Pakistan face the common threats of climate change and global warming that are leading to a global water scarcity. At times of water scarcity, stress levels tend torise. The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, termed as a 'peace treaty', must be followed in letter and spirit.
VISA: One of the most effective ways of reducing conflict is to allow the people to meet. India and Pakistan must do away with the visa restrictions, including city specific visas, police reporting, the same entry-exit points, etc.
TERRORISM: India and Pakistan face the common threat of extremism and terrorism. The participants urged both the governments to take all the steps to comprehensively defeat this menace. Dialogue between the two nations should continue and not be hostage to the actions of the terrorists/spoilers.
INTELLIGENCE SHARING: To frustrate terrorist designs, there needs to be enhanced intelligence sharing between both the countries. The intelligence agencies need to talk and agree on a code of conduct.
DEFENCE: Both the countries must agree to renounce the use of force, overt or covert.
TRADE AND INVESTMENT: South Asia forms a natural trade and economic regional bloc. Trade and investment develop sustainable interests and interdependencies between trading partners, creating a stake in each other's economic development and well-being.
To speed up the emergence of a South Asian free trade area, India and Pakistan should progressively reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade. This would be particularly valuable in the realm of textiles, as current restrictions effectively prevent Pakistan's exports from reaching the Indian domestic market. Both the countries should welcome investments in each other's countries and facilitate inter-and intra-regional trade.
INFORMATION: Enable the free flow of information between the two countries. The current bans on Indian news channels and publications in Pakistan and on Pakistani channels and publications in India must be lifted.
Lift the restriction on resident journalists in each other's countries - according to the current exchange protocol, only two journalists from India and Pakistan are allowed to work in the other country.
YOUTH: More than half of our population is under 25 years of age. A skilled, trained and well-educated South Asia has the potential to be the global knowledge hub. Investing in this population is essential to realise the potential of our demographic dividend.
EDUCATION: Our education budgets need to be progressively increased to a level commensurate with the focus on education that this region needs. We must also ensure that history and other textbooks are objective, accurate and non-sectarian, and free of prejudice and bias.
We strongly support the South Asian University established by the governments and call upon the governments to ensure that the University is accessible to all the students in the region.
SOUTH ASIA AND SAARC: In this age of regional blocs, South Asia (Saarc) can play a dominant role in various issues, like: security, energy, water, environment, global trade, etc. This is in the strategic interest of both India and Pakistan.
Delegates from India included Salman Haidar, former foreign secretary, Prem Shankar Jha, writer and analyst, Amitabh Mattoo, professor, international relations, JNU, Admiral (retd) K Nayyer, and Admiral (retd) Laxminarayan Ramdas.
Participants from Pakistan included Dr Mubashir Hasan, former federal minister, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, former foreign minister, IA Rehman, director HRCP, Arif Nizami, senior journalist, Shafqat Mahmood, columnist and analyst, Razzak Dawood, businessman, Khaled Ahmed, senior journalist, and Amin Hashwani, businessman.
The discussion was moderated by former national security adviser Maj-Gen (rtd) Mahmud Ali Durrani, who is also a prominent figure in Track-II Dialogues between India and Pakistan. There will be a televised interaction between the delegates and the invited members of the civil society and the media on April 23.
Friday, April 23, 2010
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw