Delhi Declaration, World Punjabi Conference Delhi By Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed, Moderator Asiapeace


The well-known Pakistani Punjabi writer and social activist Fakhar Zaman has been for years struggling to restore the Punjabi identity which was fractured and bloodied during the Partition of India in 1947. Indeed whenever one meets Punjabis from a

Fakhar Zaman has been campaigning for a long time for Punjabi being taught in our province during at least primary school, but no government has accepted this demand. In criticism one can say that even when Fakhar Zaman enjoyed the status of a cultural minister he could not convince the government of Benazir Bhutto to introduce such a reform. Recently a World Punjabi Conference was held in Delhi and delegates came from all over the world, but the Indian government refused to issue visas to the Pakistani delegation despite the efforts of former Prime Minister I. K. Gujral to secure such permission. The current relationship between India and Pakistan is a continuation of the pathological mindset on both sides which I have argued for. In the age of globalisation and instant communication the attitudes of the governments of India and Pakistan are outdated and outmoded and stand condemned. Please read below the report sent by Fakhar Zaman. Press Conference of Fakhar Zaman, Chairman, World Punjabi Congress International. Punjabi Conference was held in Delhi on Jan 12-13, 2003, in continuation of series of conferences announced by World Punjabi Congress. It was unfortunate that 16 members delegation from Pakistan suffered delaying tactics of Indian High Commission in Islamabad who till the last moment insured WPC Chairman to issue Visas after clearance from Indian Interior Ministry. Mr. IK. Gujral, former Indian PM, while inaugurating the International Punjabi moot pointed out that absence of Pakistani delegation led by Fakhar Zaman, the leader of Global Punjabi movement, was regrettable and that it would further tell upon relations between two countries. He paid glowing tributes to Chairman WPC Fakhar Zaman for his contribution towards the restoration of Punjabi identity all over the world. Similarly the Chief Ministers of Delhi and Punjabi state showed deep concern over the absence of Pakistani delegation and said that no Punjabi Conference can achieve it's objectives without the participation of intellectuals, writers, scholars and artists from Pakistan led by Fakhar Zaman. They said peace between the two countries cannot be achieved without the help of discerning minds of societies of the two countries. Delhi Conference adopted the following declaration which endorsed views contained in the previous declarations of World Punjabi Conferences held in Lahore, Chandigarh and London: Delhi Declaration of the International Punjabi Writers Conference The International Punjabi Writers Conference held in Delhi on Jan 12-13, 2003, declares that writers should act with greater awareness and responsibility in the present social, cultural, economic and political contexts as they are confronted with far more serious challenges. Their social and cultural role has weakened. Now, when fast global changes are taking place, new centers of knowledge are emerging, our international responsibility has become heavier. The Punjabi society and culture have also enlarged their territories. They have become connected to the International contexts. Punjabis have reached all corners of the world. Their social and cultural responsibilities are larger than before. Punjabi literature and society are dynamic because they are more secular, democratic, composite and non-sectarian. Punjabi cultural and social thought, the message of Bhakti movement and the ideas of Sufi-ism have been meaningfully absorbed. For this reason, Punjabi literature and art can be not neither reactionary, nor just purist, nor accept the kind of fascism that is rising in our country now. Punjabi literature opposes sectarianism of all kinds, whether it is religious, linguistic, ethnic, political or cultural. We, the writers assembled at this International Punjabi Writers Conference declare that we will make greater effort to associate ourselves with this progressive programme and with the use of writings as a tool for our contribution to the brightening of the future of humankind. The participants of conference felt that the absence of Pakistani Writers will be a loss for conference where the theme, contemporary world scenario and role of writers, is being discussed. The writers attending the conference felt that there should be no barrier in the visit of writers and intellectuals and they hope that this will never happen again. The participants all over the world recognized the arduous efforts of WPC Chairman Fakhar Zaman regarding the promotion of Punjabi language, literature, culture and history and assured him of fullest cooperation in the organization of future conferences in various countries of the world. They also lauded his efforts for the normalization of relations between India and Pakistan so that the two countries can live in an ambience of peace, friendship, amity and good neighborly relations.

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