yeah, why would the pak prime minister want to talk to him? the sheer naivete exhibited by this fellow boggles the mind. why is shaukat aziz nice to him? it's because he's being used by shaukat aziz! was there also a small check in the mail to sandeep pandey at the end of the session?
and pray, who paid for sandeep pandey's, as they say in india, "airdash" to islamabad? was it the funds from AID, as usual?
and why, after this fulsome embrace by shaukat aziz, are the "peace marchers" languishing on the india-pak border (as last heard)?
and why isn't sandeep pandey asking china to unilaterally denuclearize as well so that we can all be one big happy family?
the more i read of sandeep pandey's own stuff, the more i am convinced that he is either brainwashed or very well compensated or a complete ass. i am inclined to think it is the second.
as in the case of other famous 'human rights activists' a scrutiny of his finances and of his associates' finances may be most instructive.
and yes, i directly accuse sandeep pandey of being anti-national.
The News International
March 21, 2005
Moving towards a durable peace
by Sandeep Pandey
Why should the Prime Minister of Pakistan be interested in talking to
an Indian activist about a proposed peace march?
My friend Karamat Ali, a peace activist and co-organizer from
Pakistan of the proposed Delhi to Multan India-Pakistan Peace March
(March 23 to May 11, 2005), was trying to include me in a delegation
of Pakistan Peace Coalition, which had got an appointment to meet
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on March 12, to discuss the organization
of the march and specifically request visas for the marchers from
India, who would cross over into Pakistan at Wagah on April 18. I was
amazed when got the invitation, just 48 hours before the appointment.
I had to literally rush to Islamabad after getting my visa and ticket.
That the office of Prime Minister decided to invite me to discuss the
peace march along with Pakistani activists clearly indicated that the
Government of Pakistan was viewing this march positively. The peace
activists of India and Pakistan, independently and jointly, have been
opposing the nuclearisation of the sub-continent and advocating for
peace even when the relationship between the two countries was very
Peaceniks on both sides of the border are often dismissed as a bunch
of idealists and accused of playing into the hands of elements
working against the interests of our respective countries, and
sometimes directly accused of being anti-national. The governments
aren't very supportive either. Hence it was a welcome surprise that
the Pakistani Prime Minister was full of praise for initiatives taken
by peace activists and hoped that more such initiatives would bring
about a lasting change in the situation in South Asia. He
acknowledged the role of peace movements in having a decisive
influence over the two governments.
Shaukat Aziz expressed the commitment of the Government of Pakistan
towards building an atmosphere of peace in the sub-continent and the
willingness to do whatever was necessary to achieve this objective.
He said that President Musharraf shared this vision. He was quite
candid about the contentious issues and hoped that through dialogue
they would be resolved. He claimed that no past Government of
Pakistan had been so open about this objective and for the first time
there was no fear about discussing the issues.
He was happy with the way the peace process was moving forward but
disappointed over the lack of progress on resolving the Kashmir
dispute, resolving which in his view is key to establishing permanent
peace between India and Pakistan. He was also disappointed at the
postponement of the SAARC meeting and said that Pakistan was 'hurt'
on the Baglihar Dam issue; water is emerging as a contentious issue
between the two countries.
I was impressed by Shaukat Aziz's forthrightness. He said that unlike
the past this government is not interested in merely containing
problems, but is actually committed to resolving the outstanding
issues. And this is obvious in his approach when addressing some of
them. He spelt out the position of the Government of Pakistan on each
issue and hoped that on bilateral matters India would respond
positively. He was full of praise for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
for his positive attitude towards settling differences.
Security, however, is one issue that makes the leadership of the two
countries nervous. During the exchange Shaukat Aziz pointed out the
necessity for Pakistan to keep arms for its security, and admitted
the compulsion of Pakistan to match India's capability whenever it
decides to procure any new category of arms, leading to an arms race.
There exists tremendous confusion regarding more dangerous arms
giving a sense of security.
If you think about the issue with a cool head, you realise the
relationship between security and more dangerous arms is inverse. We
become more insecure as we possess more dangerous arms.
Peace activists from Pakistan and India have been advocating the
unilateral, or with bilateral agreement, renunciation of nuclear
weapons and downgrading armed forces at the border. Only a border
free of army and arms can provide us with a sense of true security on
both sides. I hope our heads of State will eventually understand this
clear logic and move towards getting rid of weapons.
That is when the common people on both sides will be the winners, as
resources being diverted in the name of security today, will be freed
up for real development. In times of globalisation as economic
progress becomes more important than military security, the leaders
of the two countries appear to have realized the futility of the arms
race and pursue the road to peace. Times are changing. The concept of
jingoistic nationalism is going out of date and this is a welcome
development. The economic development of the people who comprise a
nation is becoming centre-stage on the political agenda, as it should
I still find it difficult to believe that I was allowed into the
office of the Prime Minister of a country that until not long ago was
considered an enemy country, and got to listen to his frank opinion
on pressing issues. His approach clearly reflects the commitment of
the Government of Pakistan to bring about peace and normalcy in the
Thank you, Mr. Shaukat Aziz, for making it possible for me to meet
you. If your government allows the India-Pakistan Peace March to take
place, your initiative will go a long way towards opening the doors
for normalising the relationship between citizens of the two
countries. This will help establish a durable peace, something that
appears elusive but which the people most definitely desire on both
sides of the border.