The Times of India
By Yudhvir Rana
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 common man of both countries.
The campaign aims at collecting at least one lakh signatures of common man of both countries and presenting them to their respective President’s and Prime Ministers’ to apprise them of the aspirations of common people of both countries whose voices generally goes 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 interaction 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. Secretary , Institute of Peace and Secular Studies Rahimul Haq told T OI 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. He said the peaceniks were not deterred by the designs of pro war elements which were in both countries and had been attempting to sabotage the peace process.
However he clarified that achieving peace was not a short term programme but a long term one and the path was full of several difficulties.Rahimul Haq opined that for a permanent peace the governments of India and Pakistan has 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 powered 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. Eom