In 1947 British Imperial rule on the Indian subcontinent ended with the creation of the
nation states of India and Pakistan. This partition was produced with the displacement of fifteen million people and the death of more than a million. The injury of this violent partition continues to haunt both countries, producing wars, internal and cross-border violence, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Resources needed for the development of people’s welfare are devoured by militarism promoted by nationalist chauvinism. A people with a common history and rich in the diversity and flow of their cultures are increasingly threatened with division across and within national borders.
In November, 2018 the government of India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur Corridor to connect the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal, Punjab, (Pakistan) which is the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Gurdaspur, Punjab, (India). This initiative has opened a new prospect for peace that is particularly relevant in connection with Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th birth anniversary.
Members of the Pakistani diaspora in Canada organized as Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC) and the South Asian diaspora in Canada organized as South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) believe that this worthy initiative of the governments of Pakistan and India should be further developed in the spirit of the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji to heal the wounds of Partition. We appeal to the governments of the two countries to take another step toward peace and friendship of the people of Pakistan and India by creating a physical space, a “Sanctuary of Peace,” where Indians and Pakistanis can regularly meet with each other freely to celebrate and share their rich cultural heritage. Such a space could be used as a ‘Baithak’ (proper sitting area) where writers, farmers, doctors, engineers, intellectuals, academics, artists, sportsmen and youth of the two countries can meet.
We appeal to all South Asians in diaspora and in our home countries to endorse this petition to the governments of India and Pakistan.