New York: Amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, people from both nations settled in the US came together here to spread the message of “peace-mongering” at a ‘global peace vigil’ where they appealed to governments to engage in dialogue to resolve disputes.
The ‘India-Pakistan Peace Now Global Vigil’ was held yesterday across cities including Boston, Karachi, Lahore, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Toronto and Washington.
In New York, the vigil was held at Union Square near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and was attended by people of Indian and Pakistani origin, who stressed on the message of “peace-mongering instead of war-mongering.”
People participating in the vigil called for the need to ratchet down tension between India and Pakistan and “toning down the war hype” in the aftermath of the killing of soldiers along the Line of Control earlier this month.
People held banners that read, ‘Hope for peace’, ‘Down with war-hype’, ‘India-Pakistan friends across LoC’ and ‘Stay the peace course.’
“It makes no sense for India and Pakistan to have the level of tension we have now. A friendlier neighbourhood would be good for both countries. It does no good for Pakistan to have tension with a neighbour like India and for India to have an unstable neighbour in Pakistan,” organiser of the vigil here Ibrahim Sajid Malick said.
Beena Sarwar, a journalist from Pakistan based in Cambridge and one of the organisers of the vigil in Boston, said people from both nations have felt a “disconnect” between the “media hype” and at the people to people level over the tension between India and Pakistan.
Nearly 50 people participated in the event organised near Harvard University by the South Asia Centre, Alliance for Secular and Democratic South Asia, Harvard South Asian Association and Harvard Kennedy School South Asia Caucus.
A moment of silence was held for soldiers killed on both sides of the LoC as people called for an “uninterrupted and uninterruptible” dialogue process between the two nations.
Sarwar said among messages that people sought to spread through the vigil was that it is time that the governments and armies of both nations listened to the voice of the people rather than trying to lead the people into war mongering.
“People do not want war,” she said.
Those participating in the vigil expressed concern at the “war-hype” being built by “sections of the media” in the wake of the clashes at the LoC.
“We condole the loss of lives on both sides and condemn any kind of mutilation or beheading of human bodies. We urge independent investigations into these reported incidents so that the truth is known,” the organisers said.
They called on both nations to continue the dialogue process, resume trade and travel across the LoC, besides undertaking other confidence building measures, which would help contribute to “long-term peace and economic stability.”
“Dialogue between India and Pakistan must be uninterrupted and uninterruptible. Any deviation from this process will only encourage and strengthen extremist and fanatical elements on both sides who want to derail the peace process,” they said. PTI