Pax Christi appeals to presidents of India and Pakistan

 As tensions increase in India and Pakistan, the Catholic peace movement Pax Christi has written the following letter to the governments of both countries: The peace movement Pax Christi International expresses its deepest concerns over the current build up of tension between the governments of India and Pakistan. We share the concerns and join in the voice of peace-loving peoples in both countries calling for an end to the hostility on both sides. We urge you to recognise that a military solution to address the spiralling escalation of tensions will only multiply the sufferings of the people. Cooperation rather than antagonism will be the best way to address the current cycle of violence. We call upon the government of Pakistan to do everything in its power to curb disruptive and violent elements within its borders from growing and infiltrating into other countries. We call upon the government of India to live up to its democratic ideals as well as the undertakings that it has made nationally and internationally to the people of Kashmir. Peace and development will never be achieved by guns and bombs but by good governance and sensitivity to the needs of the people. This is what history has taught us. Furthermore, as nuclear powers, you bear a special responsibility to your own nations and the international community to steer away from the dangerous possibilities of nuclear warfare. India and Pakistan, as neighbours and countries that are taking their maiden steps to economic progress cannot afford to repeat a nuclear calamity. The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are living reminders that such a calamity can occur and could lead to unimaginable suffering. We, therefore, call upon Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf to take immediate and urgent measures to diffuse the present crisis peacefully. All diplomatic channels should be re-opened by both countries in a demonstration of commitment to peace and seeking a sustainable solution to the Kashmir issue. If, as leaders you show the courage of making gestures of peace, you will not only make a loud and clear statement of South Asia's commitment to peace in the contemporary world, but you will also go down in history as champions of peace rather than brokers of war. Pax Christi works closely with various organisations in India and Pakistan who share the vision of our movement. We join them in their hope that good sense will prevail and a peaceful solution to the crisis will be achieved.

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