‘Overwhelmed’ by Indian hospitality, 19 girls from Pakistan, who were in Chandigarh to take part in a youth festival, safely left for their home country on Tuesday.
The girls were in India for seven days to take part in the 11th Global Youth Peace Festival, as tensions brewed at the border. The event concluded on Monday evening, reports Indian Express.
Aliya Harir who runs a cross-border peace initiative Aghaz-e-Dosti had spoken to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to ensure their safety.
Harir later tweeted, “Extremely overwhelmed. Spoke to @SushmaSwaraj ji who assured that Pakistani delegation of #GYPF2016 will reach Pakistan back safe.”
— Aliya Harir (@AliyaHarir) October 1, 2016
In a heartwarming response, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, said, “Aliya – I was concerned about your well being kyonki betiyan to sabki sanjhi hoti hain. (. because one’s daughter is everyone’s).”
Aliya – I was concerned about your well being kyonki betiyan to sabki sanjhi hoti hain. https://t.co/9QyeMQfRwy
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) October 3, 2016
According to Indian Express, Pramod Sharma, the event organiser, said after the Indian authorities including the Ministry of External Affairs assured them that they should not worry about the girls. “Their trip carried on as per schedule.
Today, the Pakistani girls and one male member of the delegation left for home. They were sent back home in a bus from here and the crossed over to Pakistan from the Wagah border,” he added.
Aap ki beti kehlane ka sharf hasil hai, aur kya chaheyay. The delegation has reached back home safe&immensely happy. Thanks a million times. https://t.co/JHH8VUj91Q
— Aliya Harir (@AliyaHarir) October 4, 2016
Sharma had earlier told PTI the girls were “under a lot of pressure” from their parents who want them to go back in light of the developments that have taken place since Army’s surgical strike across the LoC.
Sources said the event organisers were asked to keep a close watch on all who meet the girls to ensure their safety.
A senior Chandigarh police official said adequate security measures had been taken since their arrival in the city Tuesday night.
“These measures had been further strengthened in the wake of developments after the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army across the LoC,” he said.
For most of the girls, who have come here under the banner of Pakistan’s Girls for Peace Group, this was their first visit to India.