PILDAT Dialogue urges India and Pakistan to resume talks

Islamabad: Lawmakers, Journalists, experts from Pakistan and India, have called upon the governments of India and Pakistan to resume dialogue to solve all outstanding issues. It was also recognized, at the outset, that while dialogue is the only way forward for two countries to improve relations, candid and consistent dialogue aimed at conflict resolution can only take place when the two States recognize and address the issues such as those included in the Composite Dialogue 1997 and the Comprehensive Dialogue 2015. it was said in a joint statement issued at the end of 5th round of Pakistan-Indian Legislators and Public Officials Dialogue facilitated by PILDAT in Dubai on Sunday on the “Role of Media in Improving Relations between Pakistan and India and How to Positively Take Forward the ‘Fight Poverty’ Agenda.

The Dialogue brought together Members of Parliament and Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Sindh alongside experts and media representatives from Pakistan who joined Members of Indian State Legislatures of Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan alongside experts media representatives from India. In the session focused on Role of Media in Improving Relations between Pakistan and India, participants underscored that while media can play a role in positively influencing relations between the two countries, the essential responsibility to chart a course in this regard remains that of the elected leadership in both India and Pakistan.
Given the recent experience of the Heart of Asia Conference, the participants observed that in inter-State relationships, due consideration, courtesy and diplomatic protocol must be observed. Similarly, media should be given access without hindrance to cover all such events. While promoting a balanced and positive approach in news media of both countries towards improving relations, the Dialogue recognised and appreciated the diversity of opinion in the Indian and Pakistan media. In doing so, the participants recalled the earlier Joint Communiqué of March 10, 2016 on the subject that urged media in both countries towards the requirements of objective and professional reporting upholding the core values and cardinal principles of journalism. In particular, sensationalism and negative hype must be avoided.

Participants highlighted the continuing issue of inability of news organisations in India and Pakistan to appoint reporters in each others’ countries. They underscored that lack of access for media to locations in the other country and obstacles in obtaining visas for journalists of both countries remain key issues hampering an informed portrayal of each country. Participants reiterated the earlier demand that India and Pakistan should put in place policies ensuring ease of access, travel and reporting by journalists from both countries. Participants also reiterated the earlier recommendation that requires initiatives in both conventional mainstream media and social media by individuals and enterprises of the two countries to promote an entirely new collaborative, cooperative mindset.

Participants appreciated PILDAT’s consistent efforts in conceptualising, designing and facilitating dialogue and interaction between Pakistan and India. While it was recognised as regrettable that due to existing and emerging challenges in Pakistan and India relations, the dialogue venue is outside of the two countries, it was heartening that despite challenges, candid interaction and dialogue is made possible.

Under the leadership of Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Former Member of the Indian Parliament and Union Minister of India, delegates from India included Mr. Adarsh Shastri, MLA, Aam Admi Party – AAP; Mr. Nand Kishore Maharia, MLA, Indian National Congress – INC; Mr. Parminder Singh Dhull, MLA, Indian National Lok Dal – INLD; Mr. Vijender Garg Vijay, MLA, Rajinder Nagar, AAP; Mr. Vishesh Ravi, MLA, AAP; Mr. A. S. Panneerselvam, Editor, The Hindu, Mr. Jyoti Kamal, Senior Editor, CNN News Ms. Latha Jishnu, Freelance Journalist, Mr. Man Aman Chhina, Assistant Editor, Indian Express, Ms. Ruby Arun, Group Editorial Adviser ETV News Network.
With Senator (r) Javed Jabbar, Former Federal Minister for Information & Media Development, Senator Sassui Palijo, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian – PPPP; Dr. Arif Alvi, MNA, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf – PTI; Mr. Muhammad Tallal Chaudry, MNA, Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz – PML-N; Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, MNA, PTI; Mrs. Shaista Pervaiz, MNA, PML-N; Mrs. ‏ Ayesha Javed, MPA, PML-N; Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, MPA, PML-N; Dr. Murad Rass, MPA, PTI; Ms. Nabila Hakim Ali Khan, MPA, PTI; Mrs. ‏Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, MPA, Pakistan Muslim League – Functional – PML-F; Mr. Ghazi Salahuddin, Senior Journalist/Columnist-The News; Mr. Habib Akram, Executive Editor, Dunya TV Rana Jawad, Director News, Geo News; Mr. Ghulam Murtaza Solangi, -Capital TV; Mr. Tahir Khalil, Daily Jang and Mr. Usman Mujib Shami, Executive Editor, Daily Pakistan. The PILDAT Team Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President, Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director and Ms. Shahira Khan, Projects Manager, PILDAT.

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