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Candlelight call for Indo-Pak friendship (Read 3518 times)
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Candlelight call for Indo-Pak friendship
16. Aug 2004 at 15:40
 
Candlelight call for Indo-Pak friendship
Syed Nooruzzaman
Tribune News Service
 
Wagah (Amritsar), August 15
As the sun set last evening, people in large numbers collected near the  
India-Pakistan border. Mostly youngsters, they had assembled there to take  
part in a unique function organised by the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch.
 
They were angels of peace, whose numbers swelled to take the shape of a  
massive gathering, unprecedented since the manch began its candlelight  
border vigil ceremony to promote peace between the two neighbours nine years  
ago.
 
The enthusiasm among the people - both from villages and cities - could be  
seen to be believed. There were only a few policemen around. Yet, no  
untoward incident happened. It was amazing to see thousands of people  
staying beyond midnight with lighted candles under the leadership of veteran  
journalist Kuldip Nayar.
 
An enchanting cultural programme outside the gate where the BSF-controlled  
no-entry zone begins was an added attraction. Punjabi folk singers like  
Pammi Bai, Balkar Sidhu and Angrez Ali regaled the audience with their  
popular numbers.
 
Children belonging to Madeeha Gauhar’s Ajooka Theatre, Lahore, along with  
students from Amritsar’s Springdales School, made the people emotional by  
their renderings in chorus: ‘Aao Khelein Border Border, Ek Mera Ek Tera  
Border’.
 
Among those sitting on the dais were three members of Pakistan’s National  
Assembly - Syed Naveed Kanwar, Chaudhari Abid Ali and Mr S.L. Khosa  
(Senator). Two of them belonged to Ms Benazir Bhutto’s PPP and one was from  
Mr Nawaz Sharief’s Muslim League.
 
Among the prominent Indians, besides Mr Nayar, was CPM stalwart Sitaram  
Yechuri and the National Conference MP from Baramula.
 
The speakers highlighted the significance of peace between the two  
countries. Their logic was simple yet convincing. People on both sides have  
similar looks, speak the same language, eat the same food, share the same  
cultural traditions and wear the same kinds of clothes. Yet, they have  
fought many wars since 1947. However, now they realise that both have  
suffered enough and it is time to build bridges of friendship.
 
There is a realisation that poverty and illiteracy are their common enemies  
and they should fight these together. They can do it easily only when they  
have friendly relations among themselves. An atmosphere of peace is bound to  
push up trade and tourism, resulting in prosperity on both sides.
 
The gathering passed a resolution, demanding the introduction of an  
Amritsar-Lahore bus service. It stressed the need for adopting a policy of  
give and take for the success of the India-Pakistan dialogue process,  
particularly when there was no alternative to peace.
 
Mr Kuldip Nayar appealed for a soft border as an immediate necessity. His  
idea was that this would promote people-to-people contacts leading to a  
build-up of pressure on both governments to make peace by making the  
required compromises.
 
The Hind-Pak Dosti Manch seemed to have given birth to a powerful people’s  
movement for peace though it had only six or seven participants when the  
seedling was planted at Wagah in 1996. This year, there were a few young  
participants from Chandigarh also. They travelled to Wagah together on their  
Bullet motor cycles under the banner of Road Survivors.
 
Mr Nayar said Pakistan’s prominent human rights activist Asma Jehangir was  
on the other side of the border yesterday and wanted to meet him. He went to  
the border gate, but the Pakistan Rangers’ attitude was uncooperative. They,  
in fact, behaved with him in a shabby manner. But he and those with him in  
the manch appeared undeterred and pledged to make his movement a success  
whatever the difficulties.
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Re: Candlelight call for Indo-Pak friendship
Reply #1 - 17. Nov 2004 at 02:45
 
It is good to have friendsip with neighbours. It is more importnat to have people to peolple contact. It will be preivilage for amritsar, punjab and rest of the country to have an open dialogue / communication and movement of people and goods between two countires.
 
Punjabi's are keen to see their other halves.
Let us regenrage east and west pu(a)njabs. Let us have a direct bus to NANKANA SAHIB & DERA sAHIB. The people of Amritsar are keen to see Meena bazaar of LAHORE and enjoy the foods at food street.
thanks
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