Text of the Joint Statement issued at the end of the Sixth India-Pakistan Parliamentarians Dialogue, New Delhi, India, December 11-12, 2014
1. Round VI of the India-Pakistan Parliamentarians Dialogue was convened in New Delhi, India, on December 11-12, 2014 at the Parliament House. The Dialogue was co-chaired by Mr. Awais Khan Leghari, Member of Pakistan’s National Assembly and Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Member of the Indian Rajya Sabha.
2. Participants conducted candid and comprehensive discussions on the present status of bilateral relations. At the outset, it was acknowledged that, owing to recent events, the stalled process of official dialogue is a source of considerable concern.
3. Each side reiterated precisely why, from its own perspective, the official talks have reached the present impasse.
4. While not necessarily agreeing with the viewpoint of Parliamentarians from the other country, each group listened with respect and careful attention to the observations made by Parliamentarians from the other country.
5. Internal conditions within both countries deserve primary but not necessarily exclusive considerations. Internal factors can comprise party policies, electoral pressures, partisan conflicts and public opinion.
6. At the same time the vital interests of both States have an inescapable external dimension. This externality in the relationship between India and Pakistan is due to the unchangeable factors of geography and regional and global geo-politics.
7. Regardless of particular, individual divergences in the internal political situation in each country, there is also a broad consensus in each country on the position presently being taken by their respective Governments on the process of talks with the other country. There are virtually unprecedented indications that this situation is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. At the same time, it was noted that notwithstanding the gridlock in the official dialogue, diplomatic relations are on an even keel, trade continues, cultural exchanges continue, despite hiccups, and visa liberalisation has not been adversely affected. The hope was expressed that these positive factors be reinforced.
8. Existing official and non-official modes offer possibilities that should be more actively used to facilitate the resumption of dialogue on terms that are mutually acceptable.
9. These 12 modes comprise the following:
i. Through initiating a “talks about talks” process at the Governmental level to set the stage for the resumption of the formal dialogue.
ii. Through normal diplomatic channels.
iii. Through the bipartisan Parliamentary process.
iv. By exercising restraint in the use of force.
v. Through back-channel dialogue which is not publicly reported. The dimension of quiet diplomacy is stressed to ensure undivided, unimpeded, undistracted negotiations, and not to indefinitely withhold information from public disclosure. The hopefully positive outcome of back-channel talks must be eventually shared with the people of both countries.
vi. Through the DG-MOs process being used on a regular basis to prevent violent incidents across the LoC or across the international border and through the maintenance of stable peace at the LoC, and the international border, including the prevention of any cross-border (incursions/incidents).
vii. Through credible, reputed Track-II Dialogue processes.
viii. Through forums of youth and digital media.
ix. Through civil society forums.
x. Through increased exchanges in the fields of culture, academia, intellectual inter-actions, sports, especially cricket, trade and people-to-people exchanges.
xi. To facilitate such increases, the rail/road links such as the Khokhrapar-Munabao route and the Karachi-Mumbai sea route should be revived and sustained.
xii. Through sections of mainstream media which are willing to actively contribute to the reduction of misperceptions and end the projection of content that stereotypes and reinforces misperceptions.
10. It is relevant to recognise that it is urgently necessary to address critical priorities such as poverty, health, education and equitable development in each country as well as to deal, separately or jointly, with the volatile regional and global geo-political situations that have direct implications for both States. Religious fundamentalism in these circumstances also needs to be firmly resisted in both countries.
11. Trade has substantially increased although “Non-Tariff Barriers” and infrastructure problems require to be resolved as also MFN/NDMA treatment extended to India. It was also stressed that the opening of Consulates in Karachi and Mumbai would be essential to fulfil the trade potential.
12. The dimension of people-to-people contacts is of the foremost importance. Participants urged the intensification of cultural, sports and academic exchanges enlightened media commentary, further liberalisation of trade and a better people-to-people visa regime.
13. While reviewing the status of implementation of recommendations adopted by the previous 5 Parliamentarians’ Dialogues, this meeting noted with regret that, despite several specific Recommendations having been made in the previous 5 Dialogues, the scope and speed of implementation remained extremely slow, limited or non-existent. The meeting stressed the need for formation of the India-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Indian Parliament. In Pakistan, such Groups already exist in the Senate and in the National Assembly of Pakistan and in the latter there are over 140 Members. The hope was expressed that these Friendship Groups in each Parliament might meet frequently in a structured dialogue to enhance knowledge and understanding about actual conditions in the other country.
14. MPs recognised that through the creation of enabling circumstances, official talks need to be revived and sustained as a continuous process. Dialogue, not armed conflict, was deemed to be the only way forward. There is, therefore, need to jointly strive more effectively to make bilateralism more result-oriented.
15. The fact that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 was jointly awarded to Kailash Satyarthi of India and Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, along with the fortuitous coincidence of the prize-giving ceremony being held in Oslo on the eve of Dialogue VI vividly illustrates both the symbolic and substantive potential for progressive peace and cooperation between the two countries.
The Parliamentarians expressed the hope that the relationship be developed on the basis of mutual respect and recognition of ground realities. To this end, Parliamentarians on both sides should impress upon their respective Leaderships the need to create an appropriate environment within which the Government-to-Government dialogue might be resumed in a peaceful and constructive manner.
Parliamentarians from both sides recognised and appreciated the initiative of PILDAT to foster these Dialogues. They urged that this initiative be continued and reinforced. They also thanked Senator Javed Jabbar for the assistance he rendered in making their dialogue meaningful.
Pakistan Parliamentary delegation
i. Mr. Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, MNA (Punjab)
ii. Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan (Punjab)
iii. Mr. Muhammad Afzal Khan, MNA (Punjab)
iv. Ms. Maiza Hameed, MNA (Punjab)
v. Mr. Muhammad Tallal Badar, MNA (Punjab)
vi. Syed Muhammad Ashiq Hussain Shah, MNA (Punjab)
i. Senator Dr. Muhammad Jehangir Bader (Punjab)
ii. Senator Nawabzada Saifullah Magsi (Balochistan)
iii. Mr. Muhammad Ayaz Soomro MNA (Sindh)
iv. Mr. Ramesh Lal MNA (Sindh)
i. Mr. Abdul Rashid Godil MNA (MQM, Sindh)
ii. Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo (NP, Balochistan)
Indian Parliamentarians who participated
i. Shri Feroze Varun Gandhi (Uttar Pradesh)
ii. Shri Shatrughan Prasad Sinha (Bihar)
iii. Shri Kirti Azad (Bihar)
i. Shri Malikaarjun Kharge, (Karnataka)
ii. Shri Anand Sharma (Rajasthan)
iii. Shri Digvijaya Singh (Madhya Pradesh)
iv. Shri Ashwani Kumar (Punjab)
v. Shri Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Madhya Pradesh)
vi. Shri Hassan Dalwai (Maharashtra)
vii. Shri Rajeev Shukla (Maharashtra)
viii. Smt. Kumari Sushmita Dev (Assam)
ix. Prof. M. V. Rajeev Gowda (Karnataka)
x. Dr. Shashi Tharoor (Kerala)
xi. Shri Gaurav Gogoi (Assam)
xii. Shri Bhubaneswar Kalita (Assam)
i. Prof. Saugata Roy (AITC, West Bengal)
ii. Shri Baijayant Jay Panda (BJD; Odisha)
iii. Shri B. Parida (BJD; Odisha)
iv. Shri Pavan Kumar Varma (JDU; Bihar)
v. Shri Majeed Memon (NCP; Maharashtra)
vi. Shri K. T. S. Tulsi (Nominated)
vii. Shri Rajeev Chandasekar (Independent, Karnatak)
viii. Shri Muhammad Salim, (CPI, West Bengal)
ix. Shri Naresh Gujral (SAD, Punjab)
x. Shri Neiphiu Rio (NPF, Nagaland)
xi. Shri Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM, Telangana)
xii. Smt. Anu Agha (Nominated)