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Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA)
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India-Pakistan Peace Day 2005
IndiaPakistanPeaceDay@yahoogroups.com

Canada (August 12)


*August 12, Toronto, ON
In Toronto, the Canadians of Indian and Pakistani origin has come together with an idea to promote peace and cooperation at a joint celebration of India and Pakistan Independence Day here on Friday August 12, 2005, asking the governments to focus on peace and development and not on bombs.

This is the first year that Indo Pak Canadians celebrated the I Day together. Independence Day reception was organized by SARC CANADA and Asian Canadian Support Centre that was attended by over 300 South Asians and also visibly presents the local dignitaries on this occasion.
Zubair Choudhry, chairman of SARC Canada, said, “India and Pakistan need to build bridges of understanding and cooperation not bombs. 58 years has been wasted in dispute and wars between two nations that slowed the process of progress and prosperity in the South Asian region.” In 1999, as the brewing hostility took India and Pakistan to the brink of another conflict, it was another specter of the traumatic post independence history of this subcontinent.

South Asians here have come long trying to break the shackle of the past to come together for mutual co existence for successful establishment in Canada. But in their cherished dream of better life, they are not immune to the troubling events back home. They have optimized past struggles to now a position of a vibrant community recognized for its valuable contributions. Its growing pluralism has helped strengthen its base and its enhanced participation as means to greater representation for better prosperity.

“Here we are trying to move forwarded, we can not change our history but we can surely shape the future of India and Pakistan by promoting peace, open borders, and free trade between two neighbors, Zubair added”
Building SARC Canada through 1999 has been a process with extended communication at different level including the SARRC head quarters. In this unique undertaking we have had the privilege of invaluable advice of Mr. K.K Bhargava, Ex Secretary General of SAARC, and Mr. Naeemul Hassan, then Secretary General for his own encouragement independent of SAARC’s charter. These distinguished diplomats settled in Canada, SARC CANADA will continue to seek their guidance along with other participants who have founded this organization and others now joined in carry forward this mission.

It’s a rare and unique initiative to bring Indian and Pakistani Canadians together,” said Rocky Sood, a member of the Asian Canadian Support Centre e (ACSC).

”Carrying the peace motive further, SARC CANADA and ACSC jointly organizing Indo Pak Peace Award ceremony that will be held on October 7, 2005 in Toronto, said Syed Ashar Warsi, President of ACSC”.

Melissa Baghat and Salma Attaullahjan were the M.C. at the reception. The Right Honorable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada; Hon Stephen Harper, MP, Official Opposition leader; The Honorable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario; His Worship Mayor David Miller of City of Toronto and many other federal, provincial and municipal politicians sent their greetings on this auspicious occasion of Independence. Armand P. La Barge, Chief of York Regional Police was the guest speaker. Canada, India and Pakistan’s national anthems were sung by Dilshan Panjwani and Naomi Zaman. Councillor Khalid Usman, Councillor Peter Li Preti, Parm Gill and other leaders also addressed the reception.

Miss Canada Pakistan and Miss India Canada were also present to welcome the guests at this occasion. At the end chief of police and other dignitaries cut the delicious cake for Indo Pak 58th Independence Day anniversary.

We will establish the initial focus group that would be working on promoting exchange of intellectuals and activists between India, Pakistan and Canada. SARC CANADA will take up a series of activities, starting with screening of the documentary "South Asia looking into the future" for its members and the public.
According to Zubair Choudhry, the joint Independence Day celebration was a tough decision because it is highly controversial. “Indo Pak community has been very supportive. Even otherwise, one has to make a beginning somewhere.”

For further information contact, Rocky Sood, Tel. 905-677-7302 or at info@sarc-canada.com * www.sarc-canada.com Source (http://www.thesouthasian.org/archives/000436.html)