THERE is no doubt Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to India was a very bold and responsible step towards harmonising relations between the two countries. From time to time, leaders from the two countries have tried to improve their relations and have taken various initiatives such as running Samjotha Express.

However, a small but important issue they have always disregarded is the Wagah border-closing ceremony — lowering of the flags. The ceremony is a symbol of hatred and enmity between the two nations. Hundreds of thousands of spectators from both sides visit the Wagah border every year to watch the ceremony and then they return with renewed hatred in their hearts for each other.

The repercussions of that hatred take forms of bigotry, violence and hate, which help nurturing extremism. In a sense, border is a bone of contention between the two nuclear nations, so if both leaders are really serious and empowered to improve their relations, they should then take start from the Wagah border as a stepping stone towards peace talks.

Once the closing ceremony turns to becoming a symbol of love and peace, it would then show that we have buried our past and are looking forward for a peaceful future and meaningful talks.

Otherwise, all these peace efforts will be nothing more than a political melodrama with a tragic end.

Obaid Shah
London

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2014

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