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Pakistanis Show Patriotism At Border

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    Pakistanis Show Patriotism At Border


    WAGAH, Pakistan June 21 As the evening sun fades in the west, two smartly dressed Pakistani border guards lower their nation's flag. Then, scowling, they swing shut the gate that separates them from the enemy to the east: India.

    Behind them, hundreds of ordinary Pakistanis chant "Long live Pakistan!" and "Allah Akbar! (God is great!)" The crowds come, unbidden, to watch the daily ceremony and show their patriotism.

    A few yards away, on the Indian side, the ritual and the hatred are much the same. Though political tensions and the threat of war between the nuclear-armed rivals have eased somewhat, emotional hostilities have not.

    "We will defend each and every inch of our motherland if the enemy attacks," says Inyat Niazi, a Pakistani border guard, shaking hands with supporters at the border. "We will face the Indians like stone."

    In Wagah, the Indian and Pakistani flags are hoisted and lowered at sunrise and sunset, a ritual that has continued through three wars fought by the two nations since 1947, when they won independence from Britain.

    "I watch this flag ceremony, and it makes me even more of a patriot," says Wijahat Hussein, 29, a doctor.

    Standing next to him is Ramzan Khan, an elderly man from the nearby Pakistani city of Lahore. "I am ready to fight against India," he said. "I am ready to send my sons and five grandsons."

    Loud and emphatic, Khan confronts Indians standing across the border, singing their own patriotic songs and supporting their own soldiers.

    "We will teach you a lifelong lesson," Khan shouts. "We will not spare you this time."

    In 1999, a few months after Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the Wagah border post, Pakistan-based militants captured several Indian posts nearby, undermining efforts to resolve disputes between the two countries through negotiations.

    In December, India severed road and rail links with Pakistan after an attack on its Parliament, blaming militants it said were backed by Pakistan. Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has denied government involvement, but the attack prompted a military buildup by both countries and threatened to spark a new war.

    Since then, Wagah, once a picnic spot and meeting place for families cleaved by the separation of the Punjab region between India and Pakistan upon independence, has been fraught with tension. Troops are massed on both sides of the gate, waiting to stand down or to fight what would be South Asia's fourth war in a generation.

    "Pakistan forever!" crowds chant as Pakistani border guards, in starched black shirts and turbans, patrol the line.

    "Long live India!" is the response from hundreds of Indians across the line.

    Then comes the daily parade, which begins with a handshake between border guards from the two nations a cold formality.

    As the Pakistani guards head to their side of the gate, the crowd showers them with rose petals and applause. The guards stomp their feet theatrically.

    And the people keep coming out of patriotism, politics, or just to see the show that plays out every day on this uneasy borderland where thoughts of war are close at hand, even for those who do not want it.

    "We just want peace. War isn't the answer," says Razia Begun, a housewife from a nearby town who brought her three children to watch the flag-lowering ceremony.

    "I wish the leaders of India and Pakistan would just sit down and talk," she said. "It doesn't matter which side you're on. War is not going to help anyone."<--Good point


    [This message has been edited by Pakistani Tiger (edited June 21, 2002).]

    Man I really should have gone to se Wagah, I could out shout any Indian anyday. What they should really do, is find realllly tall guys to perform this cermony. Make Indian side look small.
    Anyways, they all know what will happen if there is war, no sense in repeating it again...


      After reading the article... It feels good ..*relief*

      Usman Khalil


        Originally posted by ukhalil11:
        After reading the article... It feels good ..*relief*

        Usman Khalil
        You didnt know about Wagah? This happens everday on Wagah, people from both Pak-India go to their sides for an outing and cheer for their forces, and its a pretty good performance from both sides, and at the end, they also salute each other... I have heard that jawans posted on the gate from both sides are very good friends...


          Wagah Border Pics

          [This message has been edited by Question (edited June 21, 2002).]


            ^ Too one sided...too wishful in its thinking


              Originally posted by mufakkar:
              ^ Too one sided...too wishful in its thinking
              Yaar, India theory bhai