LAHORE, Aug 15: Journalists, political leaders and peace activists from Pakistan and India assembled at the Wagah-Attari border on Aug 14-15 midnight to pay homage to the martyrs of freedom movement, lit candles in their memory and vowed to promote peace and friendship between the two countries.

South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) in collaboration with the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch, organised the candlelit vigil to express aspirations of the people of Pakistan and India for good relations, says a press release.

The annual ritual is carried out to mark Pakistan’s creation day (Aug 14) and India’s Independence Day (Aug 15).

A large number of people on both sides of the border chanted slogans for peace. In a unique show of solidarity and friendship, they exchanged flowers, bouquets and candles across the zero line of the border.

Addressing peaceniks at Wagah, Safma Secretary-General Imtiaz Alam urged Islamabad and New Delhi to establish a peace park on the zero line in memory of those who sacrificed their lives for freedom from the colonial rule.

He appealed to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to relax the visa regime for free movement of people, especially journalists, peace activists, artists, writers, doctors, lawyers and other professionals, across the border.

Safma India Secretary-General Satish Jacob, who is leading a 27-member contingent from India comprising journalists and peace activists, showed solidarity with the people of Pakistan and assured them that the India chapter would make best efforts for a peaceful subcontinent.

On the Attari [Indian] side of the border, people from all walks of life, led by Safma India Joint Secretary Satnam Singh Manak and Hind-Pak Dosti Manch leader Ramesh Yadav raised slogans paying tributes to the freedom martyrs and condemning elements that wanted to scuttle the peace process.

They said they were trying to strengthen people-to-people relations and endorsed Imtiaz Alam’s demand for a peace park at the Wagah-Attari border. Leading journalists, civil society members and politicians including PML-N MNA Tehmina Daultana, a PPP MPA, Editor-in-Chief of Daily Jinnah took part in the vigil from the Attari side. Former law minister S M Masood, PML-N leader Pervez Malik, veteran columnist Munnoo Bhai, JUP-F leader Riaz Durrani and Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Allama Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi were prominent among those participated in the event from the Wagah side.

Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop featured in the event with their puppets that amused the people.

Updated Aug 15, 2012 11:19pm

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