ASIA/PAKISTAN - Risk of war with India, Church's appeal for peace talks

Tuesday, 26 February 2019 peace   politics   wars   dialogue   terrorism  

Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - "We condemn the terrorist attacks in Kashmir, but also any armed reaction: we ask God to change hearts and men to stop any act that may lead to war. Let us pray for the victims and pray for peace between India and Pakistan": says to Agenzia Fides Bishop Samson Shukardin OFM, at the head of the Catholic community in the diocese of Hyderabad. After the attack in Kashmir on 14 February, in which 42 Indian soldiers died, Indian fighters carried out a raid on a "training camp for militant extremists" in Pakistani territory. This was the first attack since 1971, when the two countries fought a war following the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan. The Indian Foreign Ministry announced that "300 terrorists have been killed" in the attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammed group, a Sunni jihadist group born in India but also based in Pakistan, which claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack.
Fearing a military escalation, Bishop Samson states: "Both countries, India and Pakistan, must respect each other and must be realistic, understand reality and work together for the good: instead of threatening each other, the leaders of both countries must work and give priority to maintaining peace". And he adds: "We urge the political leaders of both states to work to resolve the current crisis through talks at the negotiating table, instead of accusing each other".
India's leadership accuses Pakistan of its involvement in the February 14 terrorist attack. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, denies the involvement of the Pakistani authorities in this attack and has offered India all its support for an investigation.
Capuchin friar Fr. Qaisar Feroz, Executive Secretary of the Social Communications Commission of Catholic Bishops of Pakistan says to Fides: "I think that the political leaders of both countries should use the political goodwill to solve the Kashmir question. War is never the right path: peace and political easing of tensions will certainly bring prosperity on both sides of the borders, we must choose the path of dialogue and resolve conflicts in a peaceful way". (AG) (Agenzia Fides, 26/2/2019)