Pakistani visitors take back ‘bagfull of good memories’

March 31st, 2011 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Chandigarh, March 31 (IANS) Pakistanis, who had come to witness the semi-final match between India and Pakistan at Mohali Wednesday, praised the “warmth and hospitality” extended to them here and said they would take back a “bagfull of good memories”.

“Initially we really felt dejected over Pakistan’s loss but the dejection faded away in minutes. In fact, later we also celebrated India’s win by dancing to beats of the dhol with our new friends outside the PCA stadium,” Mushtaq Mohammad, 24, a Karachi-based media studies student, told IANS.

“My visa is till April 3 and now I will spend the next three days, sight-seeing in Punjab and Chandigarh. I will visit historical gurudwaras and masjids (mosques) in this part of India,” he said.

Saeeda Diep, director of Lahore-based Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, told IANS: “This was a very enriching trip and we saw a healthy exchange between the youngsters of both countries. It was a win-win situation. Tomorrow (Friday) we are returning to Lahore with a bagfull of good memories and experience.”

“Winning or losing are part of the game, so we are not at all disappointed with the result of yesterday’s match. Best thing is that government of two countries had chosen this sporting extravaganza as an opportunity to break the ice and initiated the dialogue process,” Ayesha Arif, a young film director from Lahore, told IANS.

She added, “I am very impressed with the warmth and hospitality of Punjabis here. We also invite them to come to Lahore and give us a chance to act as a perfect host for them.”

Around 400 Pakistani cricket fans, including officials and relatives of the players, had crossed over into India through the Attari-Wagah check-post, during the last seven days.

Earlier the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) had given only 50 tickets to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) but seeing the craze among Pakistan fans they sent 200 more passes Monday.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani had also come to see this high-voltage day-night match. However, Gilani returned the same night.

Imran Ehsan, who was part of the crew of Gilani’s aircraft, told IANS: “I cannot express my feeling of coming to India in words. We certainly want to break the barriers between the two countries and I guess that sports are the best medium for it.”

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