A delegation from Pakistan comprising 21 members had gathered for a peace meeting at the Constitution Club here on Thursday. This is the first delegate visit across the border since 26/11. Adeptly named 'Aman Karvan', the meeting was chaired by Prof. Achin Vanaik. Former Prime Minister IK Gujral, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Asma Jahangir and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt were some of the speakers.
The meeting, organised by South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) was attended by a number of eminent artistes and renowned personalities from India, including actress Nandita Das. The revival of suspicion and tension in the relation between the two neighbouring countries in the wake of the recent scourge of terrorism was the main issue, which led to the meeting. Incidents of terrorism, like the Mumbai blasts and Benazir Bhutto's assassination featured in the speeches of the panellists.<b1>
Mahesh Bhatt very passionately spoke about Mahatma Gandhi's dream of peaceful relations between India and Pakistan. "Let us dream outrageously and handover the dream to our children", he said. "The redemption of Pakistan is the redemption of India." He also added that the dream of showing Bollywood films in Pakistan had come true, despite controversies but things have gone wrong again.
Asma Jahangir emphasised on her belief that the current situation will change. She warned India of increased Taliban power, which could harm this country as much as Pakistan. She added that the people of Pakistan have been suffering since 1980 and there should be an end to it now. She called for an honest collaborated effort from both the countries to fight against terrorism.<b2>
Human rights activist Salima Hashmi read some lines of peace composed by her father, a renowned Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Senator of Awami National Party, Haji Muhammad Adeel addressed the Pakistan government directly. "
Aap aur Taliban ek na ho jayen hamari tabahi ke liye
", he pleaded. Swami Agnivesh placed peace above all religions and accused America of using Pakistan for their own benefit.
As a gesture of warmth and love, woollens knitted by mothers from both sides of the border were exchanged between the people of the two countries. The delegation had to cross the Wagah border on foot. IK Gujral thanked the delegation for taking trouble of coming to India in a gesture of friendship and solidarity. People from both sides of the border seemed hopeful about re-establishing friendly ties between the two countries.