Women playing vital role in Indo-Pak peace process: Book

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New Delhi, Dec 21 (UNI) Women have played a ''significant role'' in the Indo-Pak peace process that has reached an irreversible stage, according to a just-published book.

Women in the two neighbouring countries continue to contribute to the peace - building efforts despite the hostile and indifferent attitude of the two governments towards them, says the book, titled ''Women: Building Peace Between India and Pakistan.'' ''Today, the peace movement in India and Pakistan is at a stage that no government will find it easy to roll back. But it has been a long and slow process, pushed back ever so often by hurdles...Women have played a significant role in this,'' it says.

The 245-page book, which is the result of a workshop held in Montreal, Canada, on the subject, details women's role in the efforts to normalise relations between India and Pakistan since 1979. The workshop had been supported by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Their role had its high point when 41 women boarded the Delhi-Lahore ''peace bus'' in March 2000. ''The peace bus was a moment of high visibility that thrust a contrast to the war hysteria into the popular arena, building on the tarnished bus diplomacy of (Prime Minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee's National Democratic Alliance led government,'' the book by Shree Mulay and Jackie Kirk said.

It had come ''amidst the intense rivalry and demonization of the enemy country being propagated and perpetuated by both the state governments.'' Through the escalating tension during the 1998 nuclear tests, the 1999 Kargil conflict and the exchange of nuclear threats in the summer of 2001, women and other peace activists had ''tenaciously held onto their peace efforts.'' They had held informal talks, reached out across mental and state borders, mobilised against war, nuclearisation and militarisation and linked peace with wider issues of access to natural resources and livelihoods, food security, secularism and dmocratisation, the book said.


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