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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Pak Rangers skip Eid tradition at Attari-Wagah border, say no sweets for BSF

Traditionally, on the occasion of Eid, Pakistani Rangers offer sweets to the BSF, a gesture that was reciprocated by the Indian side.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2019 15:14 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
In this file photo, Pakistani Rangers wing commander Adnan (R) presents a box of sweets to Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Baby Joseph (L), during Eid al-Adha at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border.
In this file photo, Pakistani Rangers wing commander Adnan (R) presents a box of sweets to Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Baby Joseph (L), during Eid al-Adha at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border. (HT FILE)
         

Pakistani Rangers declined an offer by India’s border-guarding force, Border Security Force, for the traditional exchange of sweets at the Attari-Wagah border against the backdrop of bitterness in Islamabad over India ending special status to Jammu and Kashmir and deciding to carve out two union territories.

A senior BSF officer posted at the Attari joint check post confirmed that there was no exchange of sweets “between us and Pakistani Rangers on Monday”.

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The officer said they had anticipated the possibility in light of the back-and-forth between the two countries over New Delhi’s Kashmir move. But the BSF still made the offer. “On Sunday, we had sent a communiqué to our counterparts asking if they would offer the sweets on Eid, but they refused”.

Traditionally, on the occasion of Eid, Pakistani Rangers offer sweets to the BSF, a gesture that was reciprocated by the Indian side.

BSF Amritsar sector deputy inspector general (DIG) JS Oberoi told HT on Sunday that they were waiting for the Rangers to respond and would act accordingly.

Both BSF and Rangers have been following the tradition of exchanging sweets and gifts on national festivals like Diwali and Eid, as well as on the occasion of the Independence Day and Republic Day functions of the two neighboring countries.

It is still not clear if the two sides will continue the tradition on Independence Day of Pakistan and India on August 14 and 15, respectively.

Another senior BSF official of Punjab frontier said they will offer sweets to the Pakistani Rangers on August 15 and it would be up to the Rangers to reciprocate.

On Saturday, Pakistan suspended trade with India through integrated Attari check post. Pakistan has already stopped all bus services between both the countries as well as the trans-border Samjhauta Express. Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has already returned to India after the Imran Khan government downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi.

The BSF didn’t exchange sweets with Pakistan Rangers at the border on the occasion of Republic Day last year to protest the growing incidents of ceasefire violations across the Line of Control. Similarly, in October 2016, after Indian Army carried out surgical strikes targeting terror launch pads in PoK, the BSF didn’t exchange sweets with the Pakistani Rangers in October 2016 on the occasion of Diwali.

Meanwhile, Indo-Pak Friendship Front secretary Deepkal Bali said: “Though the tension between the countries is escalating, it is very sad to hear that sweets were not exchanged by the troops on the border. It is our tradition, which must be followed.”

Sweets between India and Pakistan were exchanged on the occasion of Eid al Fitr in June and Republic Day in January, this year, at Attari-Wagah border.

First Published: Aug 12, 2019 15:11 IST

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