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Indo-Pak peace campaign to hold Prayers for Peace on Sept 21, Kailash Satyarthi to participate in Hyderabad

By Our Representative
The high-profile Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), which began its Peace Now and Forever Campaign between India and Pakistan on July 1, 2017, has decided to hold prayers across the continent on September 21, the International Day for Peace, with Nobel laureates Kailash Satyarthi scheduled to join the prayers at Hyderabad.
Announcing this, a COVA note said, this has become particularly essential because one finds "that the situation in the world is deteriorating by the day and the relations between India and China and India and Pakistan have become a matter of grave concern during the past year and the future prospects look very grim".
The note comes up with interesting data on how the tension in the region is affecting the Indian and Pakistani economies: "The cost of violence to India’s economy in 2014 was $342 bn that is equivalent to 4.7 per cent of India’s GDP or USD 273 per person or Rs 1,458 per person per month and Pakistan suffered economic losses of USD 107 bn due to terrorism during the same period."
"In terms of effect of internal conflicts and terrorism, Pakistan is ranked 4th, India ranked 8th and China at 23rd among all countries in the world during 2016", the says the note quoting an authoritative report, adding, on September 21, faith leaders of different communities to come together in one single place of worship (mosque, temple, Church, gurudwara, synagogue, vihara etc.) or historical/ cultural places to pray for peace.
The prayer campaign, which will take place in major Indian and Pakistani cities, was preceded thousands of signatures collected online in the two countries, as also other countries where Indians and Pakistanis live. These signatures will be submitted to the Prime Ministers of the two countries demanding peace between the two peoples.
The signatories are claimed to include former generals and admirals and other ranking military officers of India and Pakistan, film and sports personalities, political leaders, academics, activists, journalists, professionals and eminent persons and thought leaders from all walks of life.
The signature campaign took place alongside other programmes were organized by different groups in different cities and towns of the two countries to provide platforms to artists, youth, children, activists and members of communities to express themselves for peace, including Art for Peace.
Other programmes include organizing community meetings to enable people from different communities and faiths to come together to pray and pledge for peace in order to "sensitise people to the scale and devastation from violence in the world today", and to "demonstrate unity across different faiths in challenging violence in all forms."
Pointing out that the prayers would help "use spirituality and religiosity to promote values of inclusion and peace and not to divide, promote hate and spread violence in the name of religions", the note says, COVA is hopeful of Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai also joining Prayers for Peace.
The note warns, "While only 72 countries were involved in Second World War, 87 countries experienced terrorist incidences in 2013 and 58 countries today have groups and communities engaged in active armed conflicts with each other or with the state. The end of Second World War saw 14.9 million (1.49 crore) soldiers killed and the ongoing armed conflicts in different countries have already claimed 10. 2 million (1.02 crore) lives -- mostly civilians -- and this seems to be just the beginning."
"There are more refugees due to conflicts in the world today than even during the Second World War. Around the world, someone is displaced every three seconds, forced from their homes by violence, war and persecution. Half of them are children and mostly unaccompanied. By 2016 the number of refugees and displaced persons had 16.3 million and is growing by the day," it adds.

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