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Delegation of Pakistani MPs enter
India through Wagah border
May 08, 2003 13:13 IST
As part of efforts to normalise relations with India, a 12-member delegation of Pakistan members of Parliament, belonging to various parties, reached India on Thursday after crossing over the red cliff at Wagah in Punjab.
The delegation, consisting of 12 Pakistani nationals, including two Members of the Provincial Assembly and six Members of the National Assembly, comprising three women, led by former Pakistan Planning Minister Khalid Ranga, were carrying banners and placards with 'open the ways for peace' written in Urdu.
Khalid Ranga and A V Bhandara are the MPAs while Shikeela Rashid, Salim Mahjid, Akhtar Kanja, Anisa Zeib, Shajual Haq, K Ranja are the six MNAs.
The delegation was received and garlanded by the new mayor of Amritsar Sunil Dutti, Additional Deputy Commissioner H S Nanda,local Punjab MLA Raj Kumar and the member of the Indian People Welfare Society Jatinderpal Singh Jolly.
Shortly after a photo session, the delegation was taken to a Border Security Force camp for a formal welcome.
The MPs are on a goodwill visit on an invitation from the India-Pakistan Forum for Peace and Democracy. All the delegates on entering India chanted slogans 'Hind-Pak Dosti Zindabad', which were reciprocated by the Indians. Shiv Sena activists greeted the Pakistani delegation with black flags and raised slogans of 'Go back to Pakistan'.
MNA Begum Shakeela Rashid, while addressing the media, said the delegation had come to pave a path for the progressive and purposeful peace initiatives between both countries.
She said both nations are hailing their respective leaders for taking the steps to initiate bilateral talks.
Speaking on cross border terrorism, Rashid said since India is not certain about the identity of the 'inhuman killings' in Jammu and Kashmir, it is difficult to blame Pakistan for the killing in India, she said.
Reacting to a question on the Pakistani fundamentalist hardliners being against peace initiatives, the she said, "No doubt there are certain sectarian groups in Pakistan creating hurdles in the talks, but the same type of people are also here in India, that are inhibiting the Indian government from heading towards the bilateral peace talks."
The other members also added saying, "Joint and sincere efforts are required to cool down the hardliners who are against the Hind-Pak Dosti." The delegation is committed to appease the fundamentalist in Pakistan so that the Pakistan government could progress on the issue of peace talks. Similar efforts are also needed in India, they said.
Khalid Ranga, who led the delegation, said on reaching Delhi the delegates will as many members of the Indian Parliament to exchange their views.
Ranga said they also extend an invitation to the Indian MPs to visit Pakistan for a first hand report and to remove all misgivings about Pakistan, which is a peace-loving nation.
The members also visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the first by any Muslim delegation from Pakistan. During their seven-day stay in India they will also visit Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.
More reports from Punjab
Read about: Striking a Discordant Note