While citizens of both India and Pakistan are celebrating their respective 70th Independence Day, strained ties between the two countries have hit the Indo–Pak friendship festival.
With the two neighbouring countries showing reluctance in issuing visas to peaceniks wanting to attend the ongoing festival, representatives of Hind Pak Dosti Manch; Folklore Research Academy, Amritsar; South Asian Free Media Association; and Punjab Jagrati Manch, Jalandhar, on Sunday appealed to the governments to strengthen peace and friendship ties between people on both sides of the border.
The festival is being organised at Punjab Naatshala with the support of notable theatre activist Jatinder Brar. The organisers, after a seminar on ‘India Pakistan Relation: Problem and Possibility’, paid tributes to martyrs who have laid down their lives for the freedom of the two countries and to lakhs of people who were killed in communal violence during the Partition.
Paying tributes to social activist Abdul Sattar Eidi of Pakistan, who passed away in July 2016, the organisers requested everyone to abide by his teachings, especially the dictum that “no religion is above humanity”.
“We express grave concern on mounting tension between India and Pakistan on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and appeal to the governments of both the countries to solve this issue peacefully through mutual dialogue,” said Satnam Singh Manak, general secretary, Hind Pak Dosti Manch, Jalandhar.
Manak said no direct or indirect assistance should be given to forces adopting violent means.
“Unfortunately, if a war breaks out between the two countries, it will lead to huge destruction. We appeal to the Centre to address all grievances of the people of Jammu and Kashmir... Even the J&K government and other stakeholders should ensure safety of minorities,” he said.