Global Youth Peace Fest: Pakistani delegates denied visa
Even though the City Beautiful is all set to hold the 14th Global Youth Peace Festival to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the peace volunteers from across the border in Pakistan are still waiting for their visa approval from the Indian embassy in Islamabad.
The festival will take place from September 30 to October 2.
As many as 27 Pakistani volunteers had applied for the global peace fest while the visa of half of them has already been rejected by New Delhi.
Sources from the ministry of external affairs said, “A total of 27 delegates had applied for visa, while 17 fulfilled the criteria. Further, police verification of other delegates was also done, however, all the delegates were denied visa.”
A resident of Lahore in Pakistan, Rana Ali Zohaib ,26, whose visa was denied said, “I wanted to participate in the peace conference to see the real image of India myself, but did not get the chance.”
“Citizens of both, India and Pakistan respect each other. War is not the solution of anything. We have to sort out our problems on the table. We also want peace,” said Zohaib.
Another delegate pleading anonymity said, “I received a call from the Indian embassy in Islamabad on Friday that my visa is not approved and the embassy is sending back the passport as it was not approved by New Delhi.”
Founder of Yuvsatta and GYPF, Pramod Sharma, said, “It is disheartening to see the present ongoing tit for tat policy between India and Pakistan. This is the third consecutive year that people from Pakistan were denied visa.”
Sharma said, “This year’s theme is Leave No One Behind. The festival will bring together 200 young people from over 20 countries. Activities serving as a reminder to the Gandhian talisman will be held.”
MARCHING FOR A CAUSE
Aiming to promote the plastic ban, the American Gandhi, Bernie Meyer, with students of St. Joseph’s Sr. Sec. School, Chandigarh Hotel Management Institute and members of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal held a march at Sector 44 market.
A street play on ‘Say No to Single-Use Plastic’ was also staged on the occasion.
The fest will witness participation from Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Syria, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, USA and Vietnam.