RAWALPINDI, Dec 1: Painter Jimmy Engineer on Saturday left Islamabad for Lahore on the second leg of his peace walk from Rawalpindi to New Delhi.
Mr Engineer is perhaps the only painter in Pakistan to have made the partition of sub-continent and the subsequent savagery perpetrated by fanatics on both sides of the border an abiding subject of his life-size paintings.
Talking to reporters about his intention of covering 20kms a day after having walked from Rawalpindi to Islamabad on Friday and staying overnight at a posh hotel, the painter was optimistic that he would be able to reach Lahore in about a month’s time. He said that after a brief stay in Lahore, he would leave for India.
A small van slowly drives along the walking painter to allow him a rest whenever he feels like it.
Mr Engineer said that during his walk, he would spend his nights in hotels in all the major and small towns along the road, interact with common people, reminisce on the partition times and emphasize the necessity of peace.
About the visa formalities, he said he had assurances of his sponsors in New Delhi that he would have no problems. However, walking in the Indian Punjab could be a problem that may force him to take a symbolic walk in the Indian capital instead, he added.
He said that on reaching Lahore, he would give another briefing to reporters about his mission of peace. While announcing his decision to undertake the peace walk last Thursday, Mr Engineer had distributed copies of a book entitled, “Partition: A Surgery Without Anaesthesia”, among reporters.
The book contains 14 eyewitness accounts of the partition narrated by people like Indian writer Khushwant Singh, painter Satish Gujral, former federal secretary Dr M. S. Jillani and former chief minister of Delhi Madan Lal Khurana.
The articles narrate not only the cruelty perpetrated on both sides of the border but also the kindness displayed by some individuals in saving the lives and honour of the entrapped women and girls of different faiths. The book has been published by Society for Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).