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Home > News > PTI

People-to-people interaction will fuel peace process: Pak delegates

November 13, 2006 16:06 IST

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Image: Bhangra across the border

A group of Pakistan NGOs said on Monday that enhanced people-to-people interaction would help ensure Indo-Pak peace and lessen hatred.

This view was voiced by nearly all delegates from across the border who participated in the India Social Forum-2006, during which they attended seminars and made presentations.

"Peace is not in the interest of the political class. War and suspicion give them a lot of dividends. So, for improving relations, people from both countries need to rise to the occasion in their own interest," said Saleha Aapa of Pakistan Peace Alliance, a forum of Pakistani NGOs.

One of the demands of both sides was to make the visa policy more flexible. The delegates argued that only constructive interaction can lessen hatred and suspicion.

"It is a pity that terrorists can cross the border unhindered but it is a big no for art and trade by both countries," Saleha added.

Eight hundred people applied for visas to attend ISF-2006, but only 170 got it, sources said.

"On the border, we had a humiliating experience. We were grilled twice like terrorists are and asked wild questions, which are hardly of our interest and knowledge," Arif Ameen, a lawyer leading a delegation from Lahore said.

"After we landed here, many frankly told us they were under the impression that all Pakistanis are terrorists," Ameen added.

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