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Aman Kay Badhtay Qadam - A peace caravan marches across Pakistan and India (August 2010)

Press releases and public events

11 August 2010

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(News from Pakistan)

PRESS RELEASE

Pak-India Peace Caravan ‘Aman Ke Badhte Qadam’ inaugurated at Karachi Press Club

KARACHI, Aug. 7: Speakers at the launching ceremony of Pak-India Peace Caravan ‘Aman Ke Badhte Qadam’ underlined the need for long lasting peace in the South Asian region and asked both India and Pakistan to relax visa conditions and increase public spending on people’s welfare by reducing defence budgets.

The speakers included Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karamat Ali, General Secretary of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) Saeed Baloch and Ali Jehangir Siddiqui. General Secretary of Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) B. M. Kutty presided over the inauguration ceremony. The inauguration ceremony was organized by Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC).

The programme, started with recitation of poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai by Faqeers of shrine of Sindhi Sufi poet was also included poetry recitation by pro-peace Fahmida Riaz, Sheema Kirmani, Fazil Jamili, Tauqeer Chughtai, Latif Mughal, Nadeem Sabtain, Momin Khan, Afzaal Bela. The programme concluded with Kalams sung by Faqeer of Sachal Sarmast’s Mazar.

Speaking on the occasion Karamat Ali gave a brief background of peace efforts by people of India and Pakistan. He said the peace caravan is such an initiative.

He said the Pakistani Caravan would also collect funds for relief of flood affected people. He announced launch of the PPC Flood Relief Fund. He appealed the people to donate in the fund, which would be handed over to Edhi Foundation.

Talking about the Peace Caravan, he said the Caravan in India has already started from Mumbai on July 28 and would culminate at Atari on August 13, 2010. Due to lesser distance as compared to distance in India, the caravan in Pakistan would start its journey from Dargah of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi on August 8 and within 5 days would reach at Data Darbar in Lahore on the same date i.e. August 13.

Recalling the past, Ali said Indian friends had initiated the Peace Carvan idea, which was endorsed by civil society organizations of both the countries. One such programme was the Indo-Pakistan Delhi-to-Multan Peace March in 2005. The March started from the Dargah of the sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi and culminated at the shrine of saint Bahauddin Zakariya in Multan, taking the message of love and brotherhood to the towns, cities and villages of the two countries.

That was a successful effort towards peace. Although some other programmes like the ‘Nuclear-Free, Visa-Free South Asia Convention’ in Delhi in August 2005, and in Lahore in 2007 were held, friends in India and Pakistan felt it necessary to continue such efforts for building pressure on both the governments to seriously take steps for
sustainable peace in the region.

Karamat Ali said the peace caravan would also make appeal for donations for flood affectees of Pakistan and the collected amount would be handed over to Edhi Foundation for onward distribution among the people.

A representative of business community Ali Jehangir Siddiqui underlined the need for increasing bilateral trade between India and Pakistan. Peace and trade are linked, he added.

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PRESS RELEASE

Pak-India Peace Caravan ‘Aman Ke Badhte Qadam’ leaves from Mazar of Abdullshah Ghazi to Lahore

KARACHI, Aug. 8: Pakistan-India Peace Caravan titled ‘Aman Ke Badhte Qadam’ left for Lahore from the Mazar of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi here after offering Fateha and prayers for peace in both the countries on Sunday morning. Led by peace activists Karamat Ali, B. M. Kutty, trade union leades and peace activists , the Caravan is expected to reach at Lahore on August 12.

Outside the mazar, the Peace Caravan participants raised slogans for regional peace and destructions of weapons and held a brief Peace March before the embracement on vehicles of the Caravan.

Carrying joint Pakistan-India peace flags in hands, placards and banners, the participants were demanding longer lasting peace in the region. President of Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) Dr. Tipu Sultan and other civil society and peaces activists saw the delegation off.

The Caravan has also made an appeal for donations for flood relief and after the end of caravan, the collected amount would be handed over to Edhi Foundation for onward distribution among the people.

On the first day, the Caravan attended a reception at Thatta and took part in a public reception and a peace march at Hyderabad.

After overnight stay, on second day the participants would visit Mazar of Sufi Saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai at Bhit Shah and attend public receptions on its way at Naushahro Feroze, Kandiaro and Halani. The participants would attend a public gathering at village Sadar joon Bhatyoon (Khairpur Mirs’T), where Faqeers of shrine of Hazrat Sachal Sarmast would present Sufi songs.

On August 10, 2010 the participants would cross Sukkur, Ghotki and Sadiqabad and attend public receptions. They would stay night at Rahim Yar Khan, where trade unions and civil society organizations have arranged reception for the participants.

On its next leg, the participants would reach at Multan on August 11,
2010 and after crossing and attending a public reception on the way at
Bahawalpur. At Multan, a number of organizations have arranged a reception.

After overnight stay at Multan, the participants would arrive at Okara on August 12, and attend a reception by farmers’organizations. They would reach at Lahore in the evening. After a night’Ts stay, some of the participants (on condition of issuance of Indian visas) would cross Wagah-Attari border to attend a Peace Convention at Amritsar on August 13. They would stay that night at Amritsar and return to Lahore on August 14 along with Indian participants, where they would attend a joint meeting.

On the night of August 14 and 15 both Indian and Pakistani participants of the Peace Caravan would attend a joint candle lighting vigil at the Wagah-Attari border.

(News from India)

Indo-Pak Peace Caarvan – Aman ke Badhte Qadam in Delhi

8th August 2010: Sunday

Arrival in Delhi

3.30 pm: Press Conference: JNU Student Union Office

9.30 pm: Public Meeting: Jawaharlal Nehru University

9th August 2010: Monday

10.30 am: Human Chain: Rajghat

1.30 pm -4.30 pm: Seminar – Indo-Pak Relations: Prospect for Peace – Venue Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

(The seminar will be chaired by Mr. Kuldip Nayar)

Other participants are : Anil Chudhary, Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy and others.