Defying rain and bad weather, the supporters of Indo-Pak friendship gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park on the intervening night of August 14-15 to send a message of solidarity to the governments of India and Pakistan.
Amidst rising tensions between the two neighbouring countries, the Indians and Pakistanis living in Surrey gathered on Wednesday night to hold a candle light to denounce the war of words between the leaders of the two countries and jointly celebrate the independence of the two countries.
Pakistan and India gained their independence on August 14 and August 15 respectively after being divided on religious lines in 1947.
Organized by the Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC), the vigil was supported by a few other progressive groups, including Fraser Valley Peace Council, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, Indo Canadian Workers’ Association and Prof. Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation.
A moment of silence was also held in memory of those who were killed by the religious fanatics during the partition.
Among the speakers was the former MLA Jagrup Brar, whose father Kaka Singh had risked his life by trying to save Muslims during the religious violence of 1947. Others who spoke on the occasion included the two New Democratic MPs, Jinny Sims and Jasbir Sandhu.
From among the prominent activists, who addressed the gathering were Shaihzad Nazir Khan of the CPPC, former Coop Radio host and a community activist Imtiaz Popat, the Indo Canadian Workers’ Association leader Kulwant Dhesi and the Rationalist Society of Canada President Avtar Gill. Others present on the occasion were Chetna Association leader Jai Birdi, Khalsa Diwan Society Vice President Major Singh Sidhu and Surrey Hindu Temple leader Vinay Sharma.