Aghaz-e-Dosti by Pakistani girls. A message of Peace and Love.
Despite the tensions and abhorrence flaring between Pakistan and India, a group of Pakistani girls reached India for 11th Global youth Peace Festival on 27th of September, systemized by an NGO in Chandigarh, India. These Girls for Peace reached there from different regions of Pakistan to partake in the event. These belong to Pakistan’s Girls for Peace group and have brought alongwith hand-written messages of friendship on greeting cards from schools all over Pakistan. Many of the girls are of the opinion that the tension between the countries is merely thanks to the political reasons and that the mainstream media in both India and Pakistan is trying to add fuel to the fire.
During the award ceremony conducted on September 28, Aliya Harir, a peace and social justice activist, who is the leading force behind the Indo-Pak friendship initiative titled Aaghaz-E-Dosti, won the Exemplary Youth Action and Activism award.
Aliya, the group leader, said that the people of the two countries are peace-loving. She stated,
There is enormous warmth and camaraderie between people across the border and we are just exuding a minuscule portion of it
The coordinator of the event, Pramod Sharma said:
It is time to sink our differences and work for global peace.
Alveena, who belongs to Lahore said,
There is hype created that there is tension between the two countries. But this narrative of war remains limited to our governments. When we stepped into India, we didn’t feel any difference. We felt Pakistan and India are the same. We are the same people and artificial borders have been created between India and Pakistan. The general public over there and here want peace. I feel very welcome and at home. I think it’s time we realised that we exist as collective community. People do get scared because there is also a lot of hype in the media. At the end of the day, I think we share common history and if you put aside this narrative that we are going to war, then I don’t think the common man is concerned with anything more than the fact he should have a decent life.
Another member of the Pakistani delegate, Urwa Sultana said,
It is great to celebrate friendship by exchanging cards with fellow classmates across the border.
Sultana, a student at the University of Punjab, told that her family was really worried about her going to India in the wake of the recent happenings. However, she said that she told her parents to not worry, stating:
If, God forbid, war breaks out, we may die over there (in Pakistan). So how would it matter if I die here. The hype about war is just in the media.
This is a brave step by the Pakistani girls which is being welcomed at all levels. They’re peace activists and have done what needs to be done by the two governments. The issues like Kashmir need to be solved as soon as possible.