Amid all the hatred and rising tensions between India and Pakistan, a group of Pakistani girls reached India on Tuesday for the 11th Global Youth Peace Festival, organized by an NGO in Chandigarh, India. The girls, hailing from different regions of Pakistan, came in a group of 20, Girls for Peace to participate in the event started on Wednesday till Sunday this week.
More than 250 peace lovers from 33 different countries have landed on Indian soil to promote peace and fraternity. Despite the recent happenings, the Pakistani girls came to India to give a clear message of peace to the media and the two governments. The group came for the ‘Aghaz-e-Dosti’ initiative, spearheaded by Aliya Harir.
The girls exchanged special greeting cards with the Indian students, stamping out all the hatred being spread by the Indian media especially. Most of the girls were of view that Pakistanis and Indians are similar people in so many terms, however, we’re being misrepresented by the media, which always tries to spread hatred through false propaganda.
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.