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March 26, 2018

A peace initiative from India


March 26, 2018

Islamabad: Mr Oam Parakash Shah (O P Shah), a peace activist from Kolkata, India, extended a very passionate and warm invitation to the guests at a small gathering here the other day to come over to India and help bring the two countries to start talking peace.

“I invite you, any number of you, all of you, to come to Kolkata or New Delhi and be my guest. I will make all the arrangements for you to meet the right people and talk at the right forums as to how the two countries can come back on track to start efforts aimed at bringing peace in the region,” said O P Shah, who is a peace activist and the Chairman of the Kolkata-based Centre for Peace and Progress (CPP).

“I know efforts are being made at various levels to bring the two countries back to the table to talk peace. Such efforts were always being made from both sides. I am optimistic it would not take long now that the two governments will officially resume peace talks to resolve the issues,” O P Shah sounded highly optimistic.

And the response to the generous offer was swift! “How to get there when Indian government has imposed a total ban on grant of visas to Pakistanis?” “I hope this would not last forever,” was the answer from the highly respected guest. He was the guest of honour at a dinner reception arranged by (Aapi) Kishwar Naheed, the renowned women rights’ activists, writer and poetess at her place.

Other prominent personalities invited to the reception included the former Secretary-General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Mr I A Rehman, Shakeel Jazeb and Shabana, Indo Mitha and Yamema Mitha, Hamid Shahid and Yasmin Shahid, Rauf Hassan, Qasim Bhugio and Mrs Razia, Naeem Pasha, Zakia Hussain from Boston besides the leading journalists Zahid Hussain, Arifa Noor, Haris Khaleeq and Shabana and Farrakh Yar.

So there were intense discussions, encompassing vast range of issues particularly concerning the governments and the people of Pakistan and India with none holding one’s tongue back or chewing one’s words. But visibly respecting each other’s sensitivities at the same time!

Kishwar Naheed was of the view that the people on both sides of the border would be the best beneficiaries of good relations between the two countries. Any move and decision aimed at normalising relations by the two governments would be popular decisions, she said.

Obviously there were no questions to be answered but the recent incidents and events, which included the harassment of Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi and denial of visas to Pakistani pilgrims who wanted to attend the annual ‘Urs’ Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer in India did echoed.

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