Bomb blasts in Pakistan overshadow ongoing Peace Festival 2009

      Bomb blast incidents in Pakistan have marred the Peace Festival 2009 being organized by South Asian Foundation in partnership with Saanjh, a cultural organization, to influence warmth and strengthen relations between people of both neighbour countries. The organizers of the ongoing festival have decided to cancel the "Painting for Peace" event, which was to be held at both sides of Wagah border on Friday, as part of the 14-day festival, which commenced on October 10. The festival has various events including the cancelled "Painting for Peace" collage, which was to be prepared by children on both countries. The event was to be performed on the both side of Wagah. About 375 Pakistani children were to participate in the Friday event as well as over 500 Indian children. The authorities in Amristar informed that they were compelled to postpone the "Painting for Peace" event to October 23rd since after the terror attack in Pakistan, the parents of the children in Lahore expressed reluctance to send their wards to Wagah on Friday. Organisations like "Punarjot", RPTW, NSD, NAPA, and Indian Council for Cultural Relation (ICCR) have supported the ongoing festival. It is for the 6th time the "Saanjh" festival being participated by many artisans, musicians, Human right activist and students belonging to India and Pakistan, to bring people close to each other. Popular Pakistan folk singers Sain Zahoor, Arif Lohar, Goonga Sain and many other celebrities would participate in the festival. Peaceniks believe such terror activities would not affect their spirit and they would continue doing their efforts to establish a peaceful environment in the region. Dr. Kirat Sandhu, Director of "Punarjot", a non-governmental organization (NGO) said, "It was unfortunate whatever happed in Pakistan. But at the end of the day peace would prevail." "I firmly believe that the people of both countries are with us and the day will come when this hatred vanishes and our efforts would brings the results," Sandu added. This is the second event related to Pakistan within a week's time that has been affected by terror-related incidents. Last week, a visiting Sikh Jatha (group), which was on a religious trip to Pakistan on the occasion of Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das' birth anniversary, had been reportedly asked by authorities to pre-pone its return to India due to terror attack on the Pakistan Military headquarters in Islamabad. Meanwhile, in the wake of terror attacks in Pakistan Red Alert has been announced by the security forces. Besides, the Border Security Force (BSF) have beefed up the security. More vigil will be undertaken. As part of the beefed up security measures at Wagah, frisking of people converging to watch the daily Retreat Ceremony in the evening will also be performed, said sources.

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