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Appeal to the Governments of India and Pakistan for normalization of relations with Pakistan

07 October 2002

Identical letters to H.E. Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India, and H.E. General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, 7 October 2002.

Your Excellency,

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of three hundred and forty Churches all around the world. It was founded in August 1948 in Amsterdam and has its offices in Geneva, Switzerland. The aims of the World Council of Churches amongst others include expressing the common concern of the Churches in the service of human need, the breaking down of barriers between people, the promotion of one human family in justice and peace.

Over the years the Council has closely monitored developments in South Asia. Of particular concern has been the growing incidents of religious intolerance and violence in India and Pakistan. Also, the continuing military build-up and confrontation between the two countries has raised the spectre of a nuclear war that has serious implications for the lives of the people in the region.

Taking note of these developments, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches adopted the accompanying Statement (copy enclosed) on South Asia including India and Pakistan. The Statement amongst others calls on the member Churches of the Council to be in solidarity with Churches in India and Pakistan and assist them in their ministry of healing and reconciliation in the region.

The World Council of Churches appeals to Your Excellency to restore and normalise relations between India and Pakistan by undertaking comprehensive confidence building measures that could pave the way for a political dialogue. Such a dialogue in turn would create an environment where other important and complex issues like Kashmir and nuclear proliferation could be addressed.

We assure Your Excellency of our continuing prayers and support in the efforts to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two countries.

                                                                                      Respectfully yours,

                                                                                      Peter Weiderud
                                                                                      Commission of Churches on International Affairs