Villagers demand Pak consulate in Ahmedabad, bus service to Karachi, as peace march ends "successfully"

Sandeep Pandey with Baldev Nath Bapu at a temple 25 km from the border
By Sandeep Pandey*
The India-Pakistan Friendship and Peace March from Ahmedabad to Nada Bet during 19 to 29 June, 2018 concluded successfully, even though Ahmedabad Police detained the march for about 3 hours at the beginning from Gandhi Ashram and Border Security Force didn’t give permission to the march from Nadeshwari Mata Mandir to the border, a distance of 25 km.
The march was taken out around the following issues:
(1) Governments of India and Pakistan reach an agreement to stop killing of each other’s soldiers on border,
(2) Grant easy permission for visas to travel across the border. Waive the visa requirement for old, children, journalists, academics, social activists and labourers,
(3) Open one route on Gujarat border with Sind to facilitate travel and trade across two countries either at Khavda or Nada Bet,
(4) Revive the proposal to run a bus service between Suigam and Nagarparkar,
(5) China, India and Pakistan should give up their nuclear weapons to make Asia a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and safe for all people, and
(6) Replace the daily evening military ceremony at Wagha-Attari border by a peace ceremony. Allow people from two countries to meet freely for a couple of hours every day without Passports and Visas merely by depositing one of their identity cards and making proper security arrangements.
About 500 signatures were collected during the march on the abovementioned issues which will be sent to PMs of India and Pakistan.
A demand was raised during the march at Balisana, where about hundred families have relatives who live in Karachi, to open a Pakistani Consulate at Ahmedabad so that they would be saved the trouble of long distance travel and going to Delhi to obtain their visas.
Baldev Nath Bapu, head priest of temple in Devdarbar, between Thara and Diyodar, belonging to Lohana (Thakkar) community, hosted the peace march during day time on June 26, 2018 described his experience of travel to Pakistan last year for about a month. He is building a hospital in Salemkot from the donations he received from his followers in Pakistan. He refuted the allegations that Hindus are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan and temples are destroyed there. He said on record that not once during his month long stay there he received any complaints like these.
A letter has been written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to start a bus service between Ahmedabad to Karachi similar to the one started by former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee between Delhi and Lahore.
We believe that India and Pakistan have been overtaken by Bangladesh in social indices like literacy, malnourishment, fertility rate, health status of children and women, women empowerment primarily because the two countries have heavily invested in defence, including the dangerous nuclear weapons whereas Bangladesh has judiciously concentrated on improving the general condition of its women and children. The security for common people comes from fulfillment of their basis needs. Nuclear weapons at best protect the vested interested of the ruling elite.
India and Pakistan must bury their differences and resolve all their outstanding disputes amicably through dialogue and give peace a chance.
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*Senior Magsaysay award winning academic-activist, leader of the India-Pakistan Friendship and Peace March

Comments

Anand Sahay said…
Pleasantly surprised to see there are peace marched in Gujarat on Pakistan. Glad you publish these.