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Pakistani bishops urge India, Pakistan to seek peace, avoid war

The Pakistani bishops' Justice and Peace Commission has called on India and Pakistan to strive for peace and not to pursue war.

The worsening situation at the borders has shaken the people of India and Pakistan, said last week's statement by Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, commission chairman.

The statement came as tensions rose between the neighboring countries. India and Pakistan reportedly have amassed 1 million troops on the borders of the disputed territory of Kashmir and have increased their war rhetoric.

"The two countries have seen years of bloodshed, misery and wars waged in the name of religion and nationalism. Weapons and wars have failed in the past and will fail in the future to bring any solution to problems," the statement read. The military escalation on the borders will affect most severely the common people of both countries, it said.

Meanwhile the Catholic peace movement Pax Christi has written to the governments of both countries expressing its "deepest concerns"

The letter said: "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."

Pax Christi said a combination of good government and sensitivity to the needs of the people, rather than "guns and bombs" is needed to achieve peace and development.



6 Jun 2002