From Pakistan with love

Madhur Tankha

Delegation of Pakistani students overwhelmed by the warm reception bestowed on them

NEW DELHI: Inquisitiveness to know more about their neighbour has brought 42 Pakistani college students on a week-long goodwill visit to India.

The delegation visited Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti here in Delhi and attended an all-religion prayer meeting organised to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Timur Khan, an MBA student from Peshawar, says the people of Pakistan, particularly its student community, want hostilities between the two neighbours to end.

“Many people back home dissuaded us from coming to India, but we went ahead as we wanted to show that Pakistanis are peace-loving people. We were accorded a warm welcome at DAV College in Chandigarh. We stayed there for five days and made many friends,” Timur said. After coming to India, Timur has learnt a lot more about Mahatma Gandhi. “That he neither had a personal agenda nor a mission to work for any particular mazhab (religion) has increased his stature in my eyes,” he said. Firoz Faizal, also from North-West Frontier Province, wants visa restrictions between the two countries to be lifted: “In fact, we are advocating a visa-free South Asia. There may be some bad elements back home but generally people there have no ill-feeling towards India. Moreover we share the same culture and language.”

Pointing out that there was a lot of curiosity about Bapu in his country, Farhan Bogra said: “We’ve a compulsory subject called Pakistan Studies in which we study about Gandhi, his talks with Qaid-e-Azam, Satyagraha and his unfortunate assassination.”

Hassaan Bin Saadat, a Ph.D. student from Lahore, is overwhelmed by the affection showered on him ever since his arrival in Amritsar about a week ago.