Peace activists to celebrate Independence Day at Sindh-Rajasthan border

KARACHI: Peace activists from Pakistan, preparing to celebrate the Independence Day on August 1415, 2013 at Sindh-Rajasthan border on resolved on Wednesday to make South Asia a nuclear free and peaceful region.

They were speaking at a follow-up meeting to finalise the arrangements of Independence Day celebrations at Khokhrapar-Monabao border, organized jointly by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research PILER, Peoples SAARC Pakistan Process and Pakistan Peace Coalition and attended by representatives of more than a dozen leading civil society organizations and rights groups at PILER Center here.

They extended support to the people’s celebrations, which also included cultural activities on both the sides of border to promote peace, as it is the need of people living either side of the restricted boundary.

Dr. Teepu Sultan, President of PPC Sindh; Zulfiqar Shah, Joint Director of PILER; youth activists Naghma Shaikh; Arbab Abdul Malik from Umerkot; Asad Butt and Syed Shamsuddin of HRCP; Saeed Baloch of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum PFF Senior journalists Muqtada Mansoor, A.B. Aresar, Ishaq Soomro and others spoke on the occasion.

The peace activists of both India and Pakistan under the banner of Peoples SAARC have shown willingness to celebrate the Independence Days along Sindh-Rajasthan border Khokhrapar—Monabao. Large groups of peace activists, parliamentarians, civil society representatives, writers and media persons will participate in the event at Khokhrapar in Umerkot district. Khokhrapar railway station is about 68km away from Umerkot city and about 377 km from Karachi. The identified place is a playground of Government High School, which has a capacity to accommodate around 40,000 people.

The meeting was informed that 15room school building can be used as accommodation for the guests if they want to stay overnight during the festival.

Pakistan peace activists discussed the possibilities of bringing a wide range of people and decided to design a variety of cultural activities along the border most probably at the Railways route Khokhrapar on the occasion of Independence Day. In this regard, the peace activists from Sindh and Rajasthan may meet at the convenient point to exchange greetings.

Zulfiqar Shah, giving background of the peace initiatives said every year such celebrations are regularly held at Wagah-Attari border in Punjab by Pakistan and Indian peace activists. This year they have suggested to organise similar celebrations at the borders along Rajasthan and Sindh as well.

Zulfiqar Shah said: “We have to make joint efforts to celebrate the independence day of Pakistan in a joint celebrations.”

Arbab Abdul Malik a writer and peace activist from Umerkot said some people were of the opinion that Gadro village at the zero point of Pak-India border could be a better place to celebrate the independence day where people from Pakistan side may see themselves and exchange greetings.

A musical and cultural programme is also being planned in which local folk singers and artists will perform. Theatre performers from Karachi and other parts of Sindh province including Thar Desert will also participate to show their talent on the occasion.

Earlier, Ishaq Soomro from PILER, who attended a series of meetings in Hyderabad and Umerkot with civil society representatives, media persons, writers briefed the participants.

Khokhrapar railway station has historical status as a task force on opening up Khokhrapar-Monabao trade route is already working. In this regard, it was also proposed to invite trader community of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry KCCI to take part in joint celebrations.

There are many people in Pakistan, who had come to Pakistan from India through Khokhrapar border during the mass migration after the partition and they may recall the memorable thoughts on the occasion.

Dr Teepu Sultan, who also belongs to Pakistan Medical Association PMA said there should be friendship between India and Pakistan. Both the countries should extend help in education, health and trade, which may lead the way to promote peace.