Peshawar, Oct 15 : A group of Pakistani college students were a bit apprehensive about visiting India to attend a peace conference in Chandigarh, but once they landed on the Indian soil, all their fears had gone and they got warm welcome wherever they went. On learning they were from Pakistan, shopkeepers gave them discounts and people at large showered love on them, saying they wanted peace with their neighbouring country.
According to the Daily Times, families of Laila Shiraz, Feroz Faisal Shah, Nadeh Ali Mir and Mubasharullah vehemently opposed their India visit because of "poor relations" between the two countries. They too were nervous as they were going to a country which has fought four major wars with their beloved country.
That was before they embarked on India visit to participate in Indo-Pak Student Peace Camp in Chandigarh. "When we landed at the Indian soil, it was altogether a different story. Indians want peace. Nothing but peace with their great neighbour - Pakistan," the paper quoted Feroz as saying after his return from India.
Feroz, Laila, Nadeh Ali and Mubashar, students at Institute of Management Sciences (IMS), were selected by the South Asian Partnership (SAP) for Indo-Pak Peace Camp and International Peace Conference held at Chandigarh from September 27 to October 2.
The peace camp and the conference were organised by Yuvsatta, an Indian NGO, in collaboration with SAP, said Feroz, a student of Bachelor of Business Administration. Feroz said the peace camp and the conference was for youths and aimed at promoting peace between the two countries.
A total 250 delegates from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh attended the peace camp and the conference, Feroz said and added: "There were 40 students from Pakistan."
He added that Pakistani students were given a warm welcome wherever they went. "We met people in bazaars. They love Pakistanis. They want peace, free trade and exchange of visits at all levels," said Feroz.
Nadeh Ali Mir, another student, said that shopkeepers gave them discounts when they came to know they were from Pakistan. "Indians think some vested interests don't want India and Pakistan to come closer," said Mir.
Mubashar said common people suggested there should be no visas and favoured free trade between the two countries. "It was a very good trip. We enjoyed it. People are nice and hospitable. They want peace with Pakistan," said Laila, another Pakistani student.