Meditation Focus #54
Maintaining Peace Between India and Pakistan
What follows is the 54th Meditation Focus suggested for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, December 23, 2001.
MAINTAINING PEACE BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN
2. Meditation times
3. Another important meditation to note
4. More information on this Focus
5. Peace Watch for the Middle East
6. Peace Watch for Afghanistan
Once again recent events are forcing the simmering conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir onto center stage following a recent suicide attack on India's parliament that left nine Indians and the five attackers dead. Pakistan and India, which have now their armies on alert and have beefed up military forces along the border since Dec. 13, have fought three wars since 1947 and their troops often skirmish. India blames Pakistani-based Islamic militants for the parliament raid and is demanding that Musharraf's government take action against militant groups in Pakistan. India has long accused Pakistan of arming, training and financing Islamic guerrillas waging an insurgency in the portion of the Kashmir region that lies within India. India has recalled on Friday its ambassador from Pakistan and is terminating rail and bus services between the nations, effective January 1. Pakistan immediately threatened to respond to what it called big Indian troop movements along the border but said it would not retaliate against its nuclear rival's decision to recall its ambassador in Islamabad. Heavy gunfire was exchanged at 44 border posts Saturday night, according to a United News of India report. At a time when many in his own party are clamoring for the army to chase militants into Pakistani territory, Indian President Vajpayee's comments in Parliament last Thursday were widely interpreted as suggesting that the government would consider military action if diplomacy failed, although he never explicitly said so. But observers contends that Mr. Vajpayee clearly wants diplomacy to work, not only because peace is preferable to war but because the military options available to India offer uncertain gains and formidable risks.
Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks to contribute in maintaining peace and stability between India and Pakistan through enfolding these two countries' leaders and their respective military advisers into a field of peace-fostering vibrations and by nurturing the vision that diplomacy and concerted actions from within each country and from around the world can make the threat of more violence recede and the seeds of peace, planted during their July 14-16 summit in Agra, grow and blossom into a complete and peaceful settlement of their conflict over Kashmir. May all 1.2 billion people in India and Pakistan be forever protected from the terrible consequences of another armed conflict between their countries and may Peace prevail in India and Pakistan, for the Highest Good of All.
This whole Meditation Focus is also available at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus54.htm
2. MEDITATION TIMES
i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.
ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.
Beginning Sunday October 28, these times below will correspond to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:
Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM
+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.
* means the place is observing daylight saving time(DST) at the moment.
You may also check at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/full.html to find your current corresponding local time if a closeby city is not listed above.
3. ANOTHER IMPORTANT MEDITATION TO NOTE
The annual LightShift 2002 Global 29-Hour Meditation Wave will be on January 1, 2002 at Noon (your local time), creating a 29 hour Wave of Peace through the time zones. It is more necessary than ever that we come together in a critical mass of radiant human cells to uplift all of humanity to begin the New Year. For a flyer and complete information to network please see: http://www.lightshift.com/Vision/index.html
4. MORE INFORMATION ON THIS FOCUS
This section is for those who wish to understand in more details the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.
You may also review our 3 previous Meditation Focus on the related topic of Peace in Kashmir:
Meditation Focus #14: Preparations for Peace Talks in Kashmir continue despite a wave of violence
Meditation Focus #28: Potential for Peace in Kashmir
Meditation Focus #42: Meditation Focus #42: Peace in Kashmir
Pakistani Leader Criticizes India (Saturday December 22)
XI'AN, China (AP) - Pakistan's president criticized the Indian government as high-handed Saturday for recalling its ambassador from Pakistan amid high tensions over the suicide attack on India's parliament. Asked whether Pakistan would respond in kind, Gen. Pervez Musharraf answered, ``No.'' ``We regret the very arrogant and knee-jerk response of the Indian government,'' Musharraf said after praying at the Great Mosque in the central Chinese city of Xi'an.
He declined to comment on a call by President Bush for Pakistan to act against a Pakistani-based Islamic group that India has linked to the Dec. 13 attack at the Indian parliament compound in New Delhi. But officials in the Pakistani capital said the nation's central bank was likely to issue instructions soon to freeze the group's assets. On Friday, India's government announced it was recalling its ambassador from Islamabad and cutting rail and bus links with Pakistan.
Analysts in New Delhi characterized the move as a symbolic gesture to underline India's demands on Musharraf's government while trying to keep the dispute between the nuclear-armed neighbors from escalating. Pakistan and India, which have their armies on alert and have beefed up military forces along the border since Dec. 13, have fought three wars since 1947 and their troops often skirmish. Heavy gunfire was exchanged at 44 border posts Saturday night, United News of India reported.
India blames Pakistani-based Islamic militants for the parliament raid that killed nine Indians and the five attackers and is demanding that Musharraf's government take action against militant groups in Pakistan. India has long accused Pakistan of arming, training and financing Islamic guerrillas waging an insurgency in the portion of the Kashmir region that lies within India.
Pakistan's government insists it provides only ideological support to the rebellion and denies allowing any terrorist groups on its territory. Musharraf's government also denied responsibility for the raid on India's parliament and condemned the attack.
Indian officials said Saturday that they wanted to see action - not words. ``The international community will judge the response by what concrete action Pakistan takes,'' the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
India to Recall Ambassador in Pakistan (Friday December 21)
NEW DELHI, India (AP) - India said on Friday it is recalling its ambassador from Pakistan and terminating rail and bus services between the nations, as relations worsened following a suicide attack on Parliament that India blames on Pakistan-based militants.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said the actions would take effect Jan. 1. There was no immediate indication whether India's action was intended as a definitive break in diplomatic ties and Rao did not say for how long the ambassador would be recalled.
``Since the Dec. 13 attack on Parliament, we have seen no attempt on the part of Pakistan to take action against the organizations involved,'' Rao told a press conference.
She reiterated that India has asked Pakistan's government shut down two Islamic militant organizations India has accused of carrying out the attack that killed eight people, as well as the five assailants.
India has demanded Pakistan arrest of leaders of the two groups - Lafhkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed - and freeze their assets.
Both groups have denied involvement in the attack. Pakistan has rejected India's accusations that its intelligence service supported the attack and said it would take no action until India supplies proof.
Leaders of the two countries are scheduled to attend a summit of South Asian nations in Nepal on Jan. 4-6, and both governments had indicated until Friday that the meeting was still on.
Since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought two wars over the Himalayan province of Kashmir, which is divided between them.
Hindu-majority India accuses Pakistan of fomenting 12 years of Islamic militant violence in India's only Muslim-majority state. Pakistan denies the charge. The insurgency has killed at least 30,000 people, according to Indian government estimates. Human rights groups put the number at 60,000 people.
India and Pakistan, always at odds, are trading war-like words in the wake of an attack by five gunmen who tried to shoot their way into India's parliament building the other day. They died in the attempt, but not before eight Indians were killed.
At this point war seems unlikely, but the volatile atmosphere needs to be cooled. The United States has good reason to help in the process.
Indian officials say the attackers were from an Islamic extremist group based in the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan state that was the cause of two of three wars India and Pakistan have fought. Pakistani authorities deny responsibility, saying they give only moral support to the group's cause: independence from India. To add fuel to the fire, a Pakistani general accused India of staging the attack to discredit Pakistan.
Thus do these two nuclear-armed neighbors risk provoking another armed clash. Indeed, Indian authorities have not ruled out a military strike against terrorist training camps in the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir.
December 20, 2001
India Seeks International Support to Force Pakistan to Crack Down on Militants
NEW DELHI, Dec. 19 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said today that India was vigorously pursuing diplomatic efforts to get Pakistan to crack down on two militant groups that India blamed for an attack on its Parliament last week. But he also said that if peaceful means failed, India would consider other options.
At a time when many in his own party are clamoring for the army to chase militants into Pakistani territory, Mr. Vajpayee's comments in Parliament today were widely interpreted as suggesting that the government would consider military action if diplomacy failed, although he never explicitly said so.
Mr. Vajpayee clearly wants diplomacy to work. Retired Indian Army officers and defense analysts said that was not only because peace was preferable to war and the prime minister, a sometime poet, today reminded lawmakers of his anti-war writings but because the military options available to India offered uncertain gains and formidable risks.
Deeper strikes at targets inside Pakistan could well bring on a war, experts said. Nonetheless, there is a sense that the government must act if diplomacy fails. "For far too long, the message that's gone to these guys is that we're soft, that we don't have the gumption," said Gen. Satish Nambiar, who retired as deputy army chief in 1994. "When Americans or Israelis say they'll do something, they really do it. We've just been talking."
Such sentiments have put enormous pressure on Mr. Vajpayee to do something dramatic if Pakistan refuses to crack down on the militant groups. India has accused Pakistan of supporting and training the groups for a proxy war in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory both claim.
India Preparing Response to Attack (December 17, 2001)
NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- With the armies of India and Pakistan on high alert, India said Monday it was preparing to respond to the suicide attack on Parliament -- an assault it blames on Pakistan.
India has said Thursday's operation was planned by Pakistan's intelligence agency and carried out by five Pakistanis. Thirteen people were killed in the raid, including the attackers. India is considering a military as well as political response, including bombing terrorist training camps it alleges are scattered across Pakistan.
India 'has evidence' linking Pakistan with raid (December 17, 2001)
Police in India claimed yesterday to have established a link between Pakistan's intelligence service and last week's attack on parliament in New Delhi by Kashmiri militants, increasing the risk of conflict between the two countries.
The New Delhi police commissioner, Ajai Raj Sharma, told reporters: "The things which have come to notice clearly show that ISI [Interservices Intelligence agency, Pakistan's secret service] was connected with this and if ISI is connected with it, then Pakistan must know of it." He said that one of four men currently held in connection with the attack admitted he had been trained at an ISI camp in Muzzafarabad in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Pakistan Says Will Respond to India Troop Movements
Pakistan on Friday threatened to respond to what it called big Indian troop movements along the border but said it would not retaliate against its nuclear rival's decision to recall its ambassador in Islamabad.
India Refuses to Give Attack Evidence to Pakistan
India said on Thursday it would share evidence showing Pakistan-based militants were behind an attack on its parliament with its ``friends'' but said it saw no need to provide details to Islamabad.
Detainee: Pakistani Forces Backed India Attack
A man arrested over the bloody raid on India's parliament said Thursday Pakistan's army and top intelligence agency had armed the suicide squad and they had telephoned their families in Pakistan the night before they died.
Eight Killed, 10 Wounded in Indian Kashmir Violence
Eight people have been killed and 10 wounded in the latest explosions and shootouts in India's strife-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Friday.
India Holds Winter War-Games Near Pakistan Border
India said on Thursday it was conducting limited annual military exercises in the western sector but denied media reports of large scale mobilization of forces near the border with Pakistan.
Bush Urges Pakistan to Take Action
President Bush urged Pakistan on Friday to take action against an anti-Indian insurgent group added to the U.S. list of terror sponsors for last week's attack on the Indian parliament.
THE INDIAN SCENARIO: FROM BAD TO WORSE (Friday December 21)
Troop movements raise tension in Kashmir
December 18: India put its army on high alert along the border with Pakistan in the disputed state of Kashmir yesterday after Pakistani troop movements were reported.
Twelve die in Indian parliament attack
December 14: A suicide squad stormed India's parliament complex on Thursday, killing seven people before dying themselves in an unprecedented attack on the seat of power of the world's biggest democracy.
India Government Discussing War
Kashmir: another kind of terror
October 10, analysis: Almost next door to Afghanistan another war on terrorism has been raging for more than a decade, with the world taking little notice, writes Derek Brown.
Valley of vanishing women
September 4: In Kashmir, increasingly violent Islamic extremists are imposing their views, writes Luke Harding.
In-depth coverage about Kashmir Dispute
In-depth coverage about Pakistan
5. PEACE WATCH FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
Here are some of the latest developments in the Middle East. Please also keep this situation in mind during your meditations in the coming two weeks to help ensure that peace prevail there as well.
Hamas Orders Halt to Suicide Bombings (Friday December 21)
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (news - web sites) (AP) - The militant group Hamas on Friday ordered a halt to suicide bombing attacks and mortar barrages at Israel, according to an official leaflet circulated by the Islamic group in Gaza. Hassan Youssef, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, confirmed that the organization made a decision to stop the suicide bombings, which have killed dozens of Israelis and wounded hundreds during 15 months of Palestinian-Israeli violence.
Youssef told The Associated Press that the decision was made ``to preserve Palestinian unity.'' It came after a day of clashes in Gaza between Palestinian police and Hamas backers, as police tried to arrest a Hamas leader and stop a Hamas cell from firing mortars at Israeli targets. CLIP
Palestinian Militants Suspend Suicide Attacks (Friday December 21)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Two major Palestinian militant groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, said they would suspend suicide attacks against Israel until further notice, boosting hopes of ending 15 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Their show of solidarity on Friday was designed to halt increasingly bloody fighting between militants and Palestinian police in the wake of a crackdown by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to stop attacks on Israel.
At least six people were killed and more than 80 wounded in a gun battle between militants and Palestinian police in Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp, hospital officials said.
Arafat has faced tough Israeli military action and pressure from the United States and other key international players to rein in militants behind a recent wave of suicide bombings against the Jewish state that killed 29 people. Israel remained wary. When Hamas announced its decision, Israeli officials dismissed it as a ploy to ease pressure on Arafat.
``This is a tactical move by Hamas which is a terrorist organization,'' said Gideon Meir, a senior Foreign Ministry official. ``I think there is an agreement, a silent agreement to postpone the crackdown for a while.''
A senior Islamic Jihad member said the group had decided to suspend suicide attacks against Israel temporarily until it worked out whether to halt them for a longer period.
Arafat in recent days has faced one of the greatest internal challenges yet posed to his leadership because of his crackdown on militants. The Palestinian leader has outlawed the military wings of Hamas and other groups, arrested dozens of militants in an effort to show he is serious about waging war on terror.
Israel has said the arrests have not gone far enough. It has launched air strikes against Palestinian security targets and tightened a blockade of Palestinian areas in response to the suicide attacks.
It has declared Arafat ``irrelevant,'' broken off all contacts with him and deployed tanks near his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, insisting that it will judge him by his deeds and not his declarations.
At least 790 Palestinians and 233 Israelis have died since the Palestinian uprising against Israel began in September 2000. Recent U.S. efforts to get both sides back to the negotiating table to forge a lasting peace have been battered by the violence.
Israelis Discuss Security Matters With Arafat's Military
JERUSALEM, Dec. 19 Although it declared Yasir Arafat irrelevant a week ago, the Israeli government signaled today that perhaps there was a little relevance left in him after all.
Senior Israeli and Palestinian military officers met to discuss possible new security arrangements in the West Bank, the first such talks since Mr. Arafat, the head of the Palestinian Authority, appealed to his people on Sunday to end suicide bombings and other anti-Israel attacks.
Clearly, officials on both sides said, the Palestinian officers could not take part in such a meeting without Mr. Arafat's blessing, just as the Israelis needed approval from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. To some, especially the Palestinians, this was a way for Israel to get certain points across to the Palestinian leader while still being able to adhere to its formal position of having broken off contact.
"Israel was forced to acknowledge that it must have contact with the Palestinian side," said Muhammad Dahlan, the Palestinian Authority's security chief in the Gaza Strip. He added, "There is no other address for them except President Arafat."
Some Israeli officials acknowledged that they were walking a fine line on what qualified as keeping channels open to the Palestinian leader. But the Sharon government insisted that it had not modified the decision it made last week after a series of suicide bombings that killed dozens of Israelis, to pronounce Mr. Arafat "no longer relevant" as far it was concerned.
Meeting with Palestinian military men to stop terrorism is a separate matter, an Israeli cabinet minister said. "If a commander in the field says he can do it, I don't care if he gets permission from Arafat," the official said.
Details of the military officers' meeting were not disclosed. But among the issues before them was getting Israel to pull back its army from some Palestinian-ruled zones that it reoccupied after recent terrorist attacks. Nablus and Jenin, West Bank strongholds of the Hamas and Islamic Holy War groups, were mentioned as possibilities for troop withdrawals.
The Palestinians argued that the Israeli grip on West Bank cities was so tight that they could not move security forces around to do the very thing Israel wanted: rein in the extremists.
Apparently, the Israeli government saw merit in that position. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said that if the Palestinian Authority was believed to be taking tough action, "we shall immediately withdraw our forces."
In another sign of Israel's reaching out, Israel public radio reported that Mr. Sharon had told the chief of the Shin Bet security service to maintain contact with his Palestinian counterparts to stop anti-Israel attacks.
LESLEY WHITING, A LONG-TIME MEMBER OF THE EARTH RAINBOW NETWORK, JUST SENT THIS FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF THEIR COURAGEOUS ACTION FOR PEACE
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001
From: LESLEY WHITING <email@example.com>
Subject: News From Palestine
A quick update from the West Bank. For those whom I failed to contact before, our first day of action began in Ramallah, where we (60 internationals) marched to the closed military area where the tanks are and we laid down in the road in front of the tanks, while delivering our message by loudspeaker, which in brief is that " the Occupation Kills". Thereafter we were warmly received by President Arafat in his residence where he spoke with us for about an hour and answered questions and then kindly offered us lunch.
For the last 3 days we visited different villages, and saw for ourselves how the siege imposed on the Palestinians by means of roadblocks and settler-only roads, disrupts their daily life and work, even food supplies to an unbearable level. Amidst icy winds and rain, using picks and shovels, and with the help of Palestinian villagers we succeeded in removing roadblocks in villages of Deir Istya, Haris, Yasouf and Kefl Haris. Despite intermittent presence of soldiers and police and an ugly incident where we were violently attacked by 2 settlers, we were successful in removing the roadblocks top an extent where vehicles could pass, and preventing a bulldozer from re-entering one of the areas to remake the roadblock.
Today we are in Nablus, which is virtually sealed, and marched up to and peacefully surrounded the tank for a brief periood with banners and holding aloft the Palestinian flag. After continuing to Nablus were warmly received by the Governor of Nablus, with whom we met for one hour. Thereafter we visited the home and family of Diab El Sarawi, who was killed 2 days ago by shellfire in his home, leaving behind his wife - 9 months pregnant with shrapnel in her wrist and neck, and 5 children. He is a auto parts dealer with no connection to any militant or activist faction, and had simply heard firing and gone onto the terrace to see what was happening. When he appeared they fired on him and he was killed instantly.
We are received with much warmth and hospitality everywhere by a people who feel isolated and who dont understand why they are the victims of cruel injustice.
There is so, so much to say. Next update to follow shortly.
Does anyone have contacts in Nile TV or would anyone be willing to contact Nile TV and ask them to follow the many actions which are scheduled to continue until 31st Dec?
Love and blessings,
Israel Says Hamas Truce a Ploy to Avoid Crackdown (Friday December 21)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said Friday the militant Islamic group Hamas's announcement that it was ending suicide attacks in Israel was a ``tactical move'' intended to prevent a clampdown by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
Hamas declares ceasefire in Israel
FULL COVERAGE ON THE MIDDLE EAST AT
6. PEACE WATCH FOR AFGHANISTAN
Here are some of the latest developments in Afghanistan. Please also keep this situation in mind during your meditations in the coming two weeks to help ensure that peace prevail there as well.
Afghan Leader Calls for Aid to Ward Off Oblivion (Saturday December 22)
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's new leader Hamid Karzai appealed on Saturday for billions of dollars in aid to rebuild the war-torn nation, warning that his historic inauguration would fall into oblivion if his government failed.
Just hours after being sworn in as chairman of a six-month interim Afghan administration, Karzai also said he would consider creating a South Africa-style truth commission to investigate rights abuses in Afghanistan's bloody past.
``The number one priority is to maintain and further provide peace and stability for Afghanistan, to give the Afghan people an opportunity to live at absolute ease,'' Karzai told a news conference at the Presidential Palace in the capital Kabul.
``We basically need billions of dollars to overcome the difficulties in all spheres of economic activity and the infrastructure,'' he said. ``The revival of certain industries, the revival of agriculture, schools and hospitals: there is really no area in which Afghanistan does not require assistance.''
Earlier, Karzai was sworn in as head of a 30-strong U.N.-backed government at a ceremony in Kabul attended by 2,000 tribal leaders, incoming cabinet members and foreign diplomats.
``The significance of this day in Afghan history will really depend on what happens in the future,'' he told the news conference. ``If we deliver to the Afghan people what we promised, this will be a great day. If we don't deliver, this will go into oblivion.''
Small children were dying even before the cold set in. Babies and infants in northern Afghanistan are dying as temperatures in the war-ravaged country continue to plummet. Read more at
FULL COVERAGE ON AFGHANISTAN:
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