KARACH: Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Executive Director Karamat Ali has urged Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to help implement the visa liberalization agreement between the two countries, which has been lying in the cold storage until now.
At a meeting in New Delhi on Monday, Karamat Ali told Shinde that incidents at the LoC should not be used as a pretext by the two governments to stall the implementation of an already agreed step for improving people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
Karamat urged the Indian home minister to support a proposal to issue Multiple Entry EPR Visas to peace activists, trade unionists, human rights activists and cultural groups from Pakistan.
Shinde agreed to consider favourably a list of 50 selected Pakistanis which PILER will forward to him in the coming days.
Karamat had a useful meeting with Shinde at the minister’s office in New Delhi, which was facilitated by Sanjay Nahar, founder president of SARHAD, an NGO based in Pune in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
SARHAD has been a long term partner of PILER in various joint initiatives for the promotion of peace and human rights in the subcontinent.
Shinde himself happens to be the chief patron of SARHAD for many years.
Shinde felicitated Karamat on being conferred the Didi Nirmala Deshpande South Asia Peace and Justice Award.
Recalling Didi’s outstanding contribution in the promotion of peace and justice in South Asia, Shinde mentioned his personal association with late Nirmala Didi and particularly remembered his visit to Pakistan in 1998 as a member of the parliamentarians’ delegation led by Nirmala Didi.
Shinde was very responsive to certain issues raised by Karamat during the meeting. First of all, Karamat expressed the general disappointment in India and Pakistan over the fact that even after five years after Didi’s death, she has not received the official recognition that she so richly deserved.
Karamat requested Shinde to move his government to name at least one major road in the Indian capital New Delhi after this “remarkable champion” of peace and justice. He also proposed to Shinde that it will be in the fitness of things if the government of India instituted a Global Peace Award in recognition of Didi’s unmatched role in spreading the message of peace, friendship, justice and interfaith harmony among people and nations, not only in South Asia but far beyond in Central Asia and elsewhere.
Karamat also pointed out that in spite of both the governments having signed the ceasefire agreement, violent incidents take place frequently at the LoC, which in turn undermine the dialogue process. He emphasised the need for an effective joint mechanism to be put in place to identify and punish the persons/groups – whether army personnel or the non-state culprits. Karamat also urged SAARC countries, particularly India and Pakistan to implement the 1987 SAARC Convention to create a joint SAARC mechanism to jointly deal with terrorism in the SAARC countries