Lahore is a welcoming city and Lahoris by nature are kind and generous. That is why the Indian delegation holding peace parleys in connection with the Aman Ki Asha initiative received a patient hearing. However, the mindful Lahoris have not forgotten that back in 1965, at the time of the Indo-Pak war, the Indians made a desperate attempt to capture this city because their Premier Lal Bahadur Shastri had commanded his Chief of Army Staff General J N Chaudhri in unambiguous words: I want to take Lahore before they reach Srinagar. Such unofficial Indian peaceniks enjoying covert official patronage, have been visiting Pakistan in the past as well and their line of thinking vis--vis the Indo-Pak issues has been quite stale: they put premium on the resolution of issues other than Kashmir, the modus operandi being the same i.e. more people-to-people contact. In other words, it is the same old wine in the new bottles. This time there are two retired admirals among others in the peace delegation where-as back in October 1967, Field Marshal (retd) Kodandera Ma-dappa Cariappa, (who became the first Indian to head the Indian army in 1949) and one Mr Desai, who was close to the private secretary of Indira Gandhi called on Ayub Khan in their private capacity to explore the ways and means to improve relations between the two antagonists. Their emphasis, too, was to put the Kashmir issue on the backburner and resolve other issues such as that of visas, communications etc first. And the approach suggested by the two visitors to resolve the tensions four decades ago was the same as it is vouched today: they insisted on cross-border visits by parliamentarians and students to generate goodwill. Another such 'peace-maker, who had access to both Nehru and Indira Gandhi was a Bombay social worker Mrs Kulsoom Sehwani. On a mission in search of peace between the two states, she met Ayub Khan in August 1967. When she asked him as to what was his message for India, the Pakistani president told her to tell Indira: We have no intentions of starting a war with India.At the same time, we shall continue to seek a solution for Kashm-ir.Why is India impoverishing herself and us by the senseless arms race? She mentioned something about confederation. I (Ayub) said it is the last thing she should think of. Earlier on, in June 1967, when the Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, while on a state visit, asked Ayub as to how could he help Pakistan and India, the president stated: The only thing he could do was to convey to Mrs Indira Gandhi our sincere desire to find peace with her country on an honourable basis. The present wasteful military build up was ruining both our countries. It was not only Ayub, the subsequent Pakistani governments also made repeated efforts to make peace, however, these were spurned by the Indians. In 1981, the military regime led by General Zia offered a no-war pact but Indiras response was disappointing, instead, if an Indian journalist Shayam Bhatias news story is to be believed, Indira had seriously contemplated a pre-emptive strike against Pakistani nuclear installations in 1982. Five years later, Pakistan Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo declared on the floor of the UN General Assembly: I proposed to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that Pakistan and India should conclude a bilateral nuclear test ban treaty. I look forward to a positive response - he died waiting as the Indian response never came. On the contrary, just imagine the duplicitous nature of Rajiv. The same year, while visiting the US, he assured that his country had no intention to produce nuclear weapons yet on the same visit he sealed a deal to buy super computers which had direct applications in designing and developing nuclear weapons. The hypocritical nature of Rajiv stood exposed by another action. In 1988-89, he presented an action plan at the UN for the elimination of nuclear weapons, however, around the same time quietly gave a green light to the Indian Atomic Energy Commission to produce a nuclear deterrent. Again, it was not India but Pakistani leader Z A Bhutto that warned the UN General Assembly way back in 1959 that nuclear weapons would pose an insurmountable threat to the peace in the world. While the world signed a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963 and cobbled the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, it was India that flouted the ban with impunity by detonating a nuclear device in 1974. Before lecturing Pakistanis about the benefits of peace, the Indian peaceniks should remember that it was Benazir Bhutto who called for a nuclear-free South Asia. Moreover, she made several other worthwhile offers to India such as a zero-missile zone in South Asia; a ban on nuclear testing in the region; a mutual adherence to the NPT; and a mutual inspection of the nuclear facilities. In fact, Pakistan, on eight different occasions, has earnestly submitted its proposals to India to keep South Asia a nuclear-free region. Lastly, to the repeated Indian accusations of cross-border movements Benazir made two additional substantial proposals: one, the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan be allowed to patrol the Line of Control (LoC) and two, that impartial observers be stationed on the (LoC) to verify the Indian allegations, yet again, India rejected both the ideas out of hand. What else do the Indians want? I think first these 'peace-makers should sort their own house in order. In the last four decades, Pakistan has contributed much more in terms of ideas and suggestions to reduce militar-isation and nuclearisation, it is the Indian leaders that have been giving the cold shoulder. It is high time that such 'peace delegations before venturing to Pakistan understood that peace cannot be thrusted down the throats. In fact, lasting amity can only be ensured if the other nations of the region would be given the chance to live with honour and dignity; otherwise Aman Ki Asha would remain an illusive dream. Email: