Vigils are held simultaneously in Lahore and New Delhi. Human rights advocates call for genuine peace talks to solve the conflict in the disputed area. As a result of the arrogance of both countries military budgets are up.
Lahore (AsiaNews) – More than 100 activists have held two parallel vigils in India and Pakistan for peace between the two countries.
In Pakistan, the anti-war rally was held at Lahore’s Liberty market roundabout. in India, human rights advocates held their rally at New Delhi’s Red Fort.
The Catholic Church of Pakistan also called for fresh peace talks, whilst saying nothing about alleged meetings with its Indian counterparts in Pakistan. Church groups are said to be organising meetings in Nepal, Dubai and Thailand.
Meanwhile, tensions between the two neighbours remain high along the Line of Control, the border that separates the two countries in the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Over the week-end, artillery fire was reported, despite Pakistan’s good-will gesture to release the Indian pilot shot down on Wednesday of last week, and repatriated on Friday.
Fighting resumed following an attack against Indian troops near Srinagar, which caused the death of 44 soldiers.
Christians joined the Lahore rally, promoted by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
“Indian intellectuals and leaders have been called for lectures in Lahore but now our voice has weakened. This is tragic,” said Hina Jilani, a member of the HRCP council who spoke to AsiaNews.
“Arrogance on both sides of the border has resulted in expansion of military budgets as well as poverty,” she added.
For Imtiaz Alam, general secretary of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), the narrative of war supports extremist forces.
“In our 19 years of struggle for Indo-Pak peace, the last year was toughest,” he explained. “The authorities view us as enemies for organising anti-war rallies.”
“The focus instead should be on stopping terrorists from playing havoc with regional peace and jeopardising the peaceful struggle of Kashmiris for their rights,” he added.