Monday, August 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Candles to be lit at Wagah
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 12
Nearly 15 organisations in favour of Indo-Pak friendship will descend on the Wagah border on the midnight of August 14 to commemorate Indo-Pak ties by candle lighting on “no-man’s land” here. Mr Satnam Singh Manak, Assistant Editor, Ajit publications while, addressing a press conference here today said those who wanted a confrontation with Pakistan must review the outcome of previous wars and then decide whether peace is a better option.

Expressing regrets over the decision of some organisations to withdraw the candle-lighting after the Kargil misadventure, he said when the time was to heal wounds and create cordial relations was the need of the hour, the exponents of peace had backed out.

The organisations spearheading the movement for Indo-Pak peace include the Folklore Research Academy, Hashim Shah Yaadgar Trust, Punj Darya Sabhyacharak Kendra, Tarn Taran, Majha Rang Manch, Youth Club Organisations, Punjab, International Cultural Society, Sham Churasi, Vishwa Punjabi Foundation, Jambhoori Adhikar Sabha Punjab, Sanjh Saaj Manch, Janbadi Lekhak Sangh, Maa-Boli Sangharsh Manch, Bharti Kisan Union, Bhai Mardana Yaadgar Society, Punjab Youth Forum etc.

The annual event of lighting candles was started by the Indo-Pak Friendship Front headed by Mr Kuldip Nayar, a noted journalist in 1996. The event was aborted in 1999 due to Kargil war. It was revived by the Folklore Academy last year with the help of other organisations.

According to the organisers, the flame to light the candles will be carried from Jallianwala Bagh to the joint check post where noted artistes will organise the event.

Sufi exponent and singer Hans Raj Hans along with other singers and artistes will joining the event.

ISLAMABAD: More than 200 Pakistani women activists hope to visit the Wagah border on the night of August 14-15 to meet thousands of peace campaigners who would gather on the Indian side.

Activists of the Women’s Initiative for Peace (WIP) are awaiting permission from the Interior Ministry to visit the Wagah border on the intervening night between Pakistan’s and India’s independence days on August 14 and 15 respectively.

Aalia Farman of the WIP told IANS: “We have sought the government’s permission.” Pakistani peace activists were not allowed to visit the border last year.

Prominent Indian personalities from the film, electronic and print media, including actress and human rights activist Shabana Azmi and columnist Kuldip Nayar, are among those converging at the other side, she said.

Indian human rights and peace activists gather at the border every year to mark the creation of Pakistan and India in 1947. The ritual includes lighting of candles and oil lamps as a symbol of hope for durable peace between the two countries.

Farman said the WIP was hopeful the government would let the Pakistanis meet the Indians. “It would be a peaceful assembly in an effort to convey our message to the Governments of Pakistan and India to pool their energies to establish peace in the region,” she added.

Her organisation would take gifts for the Indians. If it was not allowed to go to the border, its members would arrange a candle show in Lahore. IANS

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