The Times of India
ByYudhvir Rana, TNN
AMRITSAR: Peaceniks of India and Pakistan have begun a signature campaign for a relaxed visa regime between two nations to enable hassle-free cross-border travel for the common man. The campaign aims at collecting atleast 1 lakh signatures of citizens of both countries and presenting them to their respective presidents and prime ministers to apprise them of the aspirations of common people of both countries whose voices generally go unheard.
“Our Pakistan colleagues of Institute of Peace and Secular Studies have already begun the campaign and we are going to begin the campaign in Punjab in near future,” said president of Folklore Academy Ramesh Yadav while talking to TOI on Saturday. While stressing on people-to-people contact between India and Pakistan, he said, “When we meet regularly, we understand each other in a better way and also sink our differences and if we don’t meet our perceptions about each other are based on hearsay which could be influenced by anti-peace elements,” he said.
The Institute of Peace and Secular Studies secretary Rahimul Haq told TOI over phone from Lahore that they aimed to conclude their campaign on August 14. “Our teams are on the job in various cities of Pakistan, which also helps to generate common consensus on peaceful existence between two nations other than obtaining signatures of common man,” he said.
Haq added that the peaceniks were not deterred by the designs of pro-war elements which were present in both the countries and had been attempting to sabotage the peace process. He said achieving peace was not a short-term programme and the path was full of several difficulties. Rahimul Haq opined that for a permanent peace, both the governments of India and Pakistan have to undergo major reforms in their administrative and bureaucratic set up and should be positive of forging permanent ties between two neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, a high-level 45-member business delegation led by Godrej Group chairman and CII president Adi Godrej would crossover to Pakistan to attend 2nd Aman ki Asha Indo-Pak economic conference being organized by “The Times of India” and Pakistan’s “Jang Group”.