Millennium Post

India-Pak celebrate Gandhi Jayanti at UN

India and Pakistan came together to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at the UN, celebrated as the ‘International Day of Non-Violence’, a day after they sparred over Kashmir.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri hosted the commemorative event on Tuesday at the UN headquarters and was joined by his Pakistani counterpart Abdullah Hussain Haroon.

External affairs minister S M Krishna, who had responded to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s reference to Kashmir in his address at the UN General Assembly, presided over the event.

Krishna’s response that Zardari’s reference to Kashmir was ‘unwarranted’ triggered a slew of right of replies from Pakistan and India with both sides talking tough on Kashmir.

The General Assembly had adopted a resolution in 2007 declaring Gandhi’s birthday on 2 October as the ‘International Day of Non-Violence’. Puri underscored the increasing relevance for Gandhian ideals by citing the high number of references made to father of the nation during speeches by world leaders at the 67th session of the UNGA, including by US President Barack Obama.

Puri further said Gandhi belongs jointly to India and Pakistan and his relevance is equally strong in current times. ‘No matter which we way look at it, the Mahatma belongs jointly to us [India and Pakistan], sometime some of us claim that we are the rightful heirs but if you look at what the Mahatma preached, the relevance is equally strong,’ Puri said.

Haroon described Gandhi as a ‘remarkable’ man and recalled that Gandhi had visited his residence in Karachi and written a ‘lovely letter’ to Haroon’s family when his grandfather had passed away.

The Pakistani ambassador pointed out the greatness of Gandhi in having ensured that at the time of partition Pakistan was promptly returned its financial dues.

‘Pakistan owes a debt of gratitude to a person who put himself even further at risk in ensuring that the right thing is done. That is what embodies the entire life of the Mahatma. We must never forget that it is from one base that we have all risen. We can have minor differences,’ Haroon said.   


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