At an online event organized by the recently launched South Asia Peace Action Network (SAPAN), people shared stories of personal loss and stressed on the need for cross-border empathy and cooperation during these testing times.
On fighting the pandemic, the participants emphasised the need for cross-border empathy and cooperation.
Narrating his ordeal, Karachi-based trade unionist Karamat Ali revealed how he was not able to reach out to his ailing wife in New Delhi due to visa restrictions.
Ali said his wife was visiting New Delhi and was down with Covid-19 infection, but visa restrictions did not allow him to visit her.
“I want to go to the Wagah border and take a tank of oxygen to my wife, but I can’t,” said Ali, his voice choking.
He said he wanted to also take a defibrillator and whatever medical supplies he could carry.
Many such stories of personal loss were shared during the event.
Eminent sports journalist Sharda Ugra said she lost a friend in Mumbai in the morning to Covid.
Pakistan-based educationist Baela Jamil had to leave the programme as news came in about a cousin’s death in Lahore.
The event was originally organized to promote sporting ties between the two neighbouring countries and call for easing of visa curbs. However, the agenda was changed later due to the dire Covid situation in India, which is witnessing a massive surge of infections and cases for the last few weeks.
Other participants at the meeting included Kathmandu-based journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, environmental, peace and rights activist Lalita Ramdas and former Indian Navy chief R Ramdas in Alibag village, south of Mumbai, former Planning Commission member Dr Syeda Hameed in Delhi, Lahore-based artists Salima Hashmi, Dhaka-based activists Nazneen Firdausi and Khushi Kabir, journalist Rajdeep Sardesai from Delhi, Boston-based journalist Beena Sarwar from Karachi, former Pakistani test cricketer Jalaluddin, international squash player Nooreena Shams and sports journalists Afia Salam in Karachi and Zainab Abbas in Lahore.