Indo-Pak peace activists to celebrate Independence Day together

KARACHI: Peace activists from Pakistan and India have planned to celebrate the independence days of both the countries, on the midnight of August 14 and 15 this year at Khokhrapar (Sindh) and Monabao (Rajasthan) border.

Activists from both countries are attempting to reduce tension, forcing both nuclear rivals to start diplomatic relationships for last many years.

But they use Wagha-Atari border for this people-to-people contact, this time around the will celebrate it in Khokhrapar-Monabao. This was decided in a meeting held at Peoples SAARC office arranged by Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC).

Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karamat Ali said Sindh and Rajasthan share borders and people of both the sides already have close relations. They would like to strengthen the existing relationship by extending the two-side peace, he said.

Wagah border in Punjab is the main route from where the people of both the countries travel and trade-related activities are happening on regular basis. "Like Wahga, the people of Sindh want to initiate similar efforts to use this railways route for promoting tourism and trade between the two neighboring areas of South Asia," said Ali.

He said unfortunately no serious efforts were made in the past at the Sindh-Rajasthan borders to explore the trade opportunities. Exporters can use Khokhrapar-Monabao route for dates exports, which could be easy and time-saving option.

People of Rajasthan are preparing for organising such event in the border city. Ali said that they have informed in a communiqué and requested us to organise similar the activists in Pakistan. Indian peace activists will address a press conference on August 12 at Jaipur, Rajisthan in this regard. We should design similar activities in Sindh, he added.

Executive Director PILER said civil society activists, academia, legislators, professionals and writers may lead such activities in Sindh. He said that this event will be productive for the local people living along both the sides of the border.

"If the border is opened and accessible to people, it may generate more trade opportunities for the people of Sindh. Besides peace-related activities we should also see how it could benefit the people through trade," Ali told the meeting.

"If the neighbouring governments are laying gas pipeline, connecting two or three countries they may need protection for the installations. Why the same governments are reluctant to make the train and road route safer for their people," he questioned.

Noor Bajeer of Civil Society Support Programme proposed to have a common place for activities, accessible to the people of Karachi and other areas of Sindh. For this, participants unanimously chosen Umerkot city for the gathering and from there they will proceed to Khokhrapar.

Khokhrapar and Monabao are two important places connecting people of both sides; it's a step in positive direction to bring the people of two sides closer, said Bajeer. If the objective of this group is clear we can celebrate the days together, he added.

It was also suggested that legislators representing different areas should also be asked to join the "Peace Caravan", as the present government has already shown keen interest for promoting trade and bilateral relationship. Similarly Rajasthan Assembly members may also join the group.