As entire Pakistan was up in the arms against the anti-Islam film on Friday, students in a Neelum valley village staged a peaceful demonstration for sustenance of peace along the Line of Control (LoC) that straddles their area.“India and Pakistan should respect the existing peace accord to save the lives of civilians as well as their troops,” demanded the students of a community school in Jhunjaath village, some 70 kilometres northeast of here.
Holding placards, they staged a walk and made special prayers during the event that coincided with the World Peace Day. “We want books and not bombs,” read one of the placards.
They were referring to the November 2003 ceasefire agreement along the LoC, following which skirmishes and artillery duels between the Indian and Pakistani troops in Kashmir came to an end, to the great relief of border area residents.
Before the truce agreement, cross border shelling, causing worst human and material losses, had turned Neelum valley into a living hell for its helpless citizens.
Speaking on the occasion office bearers of Press for Peace (PFP) which runs the community school and had organised the event, highlighted the significance of peace and harmony in the society.
“It’s the responsibility of both India and Pakistan to ensure that the ceasefire agreement is not breached so that the civilian populations along the dividing line continue to live in peace they have always wished,” said PFP's chairman board of trustees, Amiruddin Mughal.
Referring to the losses of the pre-ceasefire years, he said residents of border areas had lost a generation of children due to the Kashmir conflict and Indo-Pak tensions. He said sporadic incidents of ceasefire violations had fuelled worries among the border area residents which both countries should allay with categorical declarations.
“Let it be clear to all and sundry that Neelum valley people will not let anyone to destroy the atmosphere of normalcy which owes its existence to the 2003 cease-fire pact,” Mughal vowed.
Shafqat Hussain Principal of the community school called upon Pakistan and India to stick to the recently renewed commitments of their leadership regarding tolerance and non-violence.
“Preservation of permanent peace and patience will save our people from destruction,” he said.
Vice Principal Maulana Tayyib pointed out on the occasion that the Peace Day reminded the followers of each religion to show respect to all faiths, beliefs and sentiments of others.
“Islam is a religion of peace and has no room for violence and agitation. And that is why we are trying to make our younger lot as ambassadors of peace,” he said.
A PFP spokesman said its members organised similar events in Bagh, Mirpur and other areas of PaK to express solidarity with the world community, especially people of war-torn regions.