NATIONAL

A march for peace from Delhi to Multan

A BIG HAND FOR PEACE: Pakistan actress Meera, accompanied by Director Mahesh Bhatt and Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande, at Rajghat during the India-Pakistan peace march in New Delhi on Thursday. — Photo: S. Subramanium

A BIG HAND FOR PEACE: Pakistan actress Meera, accompanied by Director Mahesh Bhatt and Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande, at Rajghat during the India-Pakistan peace march in New Delhi on Thursday. — Photo: S. Subramanium  

NEW DELHI, MARCH 24 . The India-Pakistan Peace March from New Delhi to Multan was flagged off here today. Participants began their over 1,000 km trek from Raj Ghat here after paying homage to the man of peace, Mahatma Gandhi.

Singing songs and shouting slogans at the flag-off ceremony were filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, Pakistani actress Meera and well-known Gandhian Nirmala Despande.

The secretary of the Pakistan Social Forum, Irfan Mufti, and well-known Pakistani physics professor, A.H. Nayyar, were also present.

"The Father of our Nation spoke about peace and non-violence. Since this march aims to facilitate interaction among people and improve relations between both countries, this was the right place to start," said an activist.

The participants hope to revive the Sufi tradition shared by both countries as a similar journey was undertaken by the well-known Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin in the 13th century.

Making their way to Kingsway camp where they would spend the night, the walkers planned to cross the Kondli border on Friday.

The route map includes Sonepat, Ganaur, Samalkha, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar. Aiming to cross the Wagah border on April 18, the marchers would be passing through Lahore, Qadirabad, Sahiwal, Harappa, Chinchawatani, Kasowal, Mian Chunnu, Kacha Khu and Qadirpur Rawan among other places before reaching Multan, on May 10.

However, with delays in visa processing, participants from across the border were unable to take part in the flag-off today.

"We are expecting peace activists from Pakistan to join us soon. Right now, most of us are Indians because there has been some problem with the visas. Under the current regime only city-wise visas have been issued but participating in the march means that we will have to walk through numerous cities and districts. So there are complications. Besides aiming for peace, we are also trying to work for a simpler visa regime," said Ramesh, a peace activist.

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