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Oct 6, 2009

Warm response cheers Pak wrestlers


Dinesh Manhotra
Tribune News Service
Katra, September 29
Even though Pakistani wrestlers lost the “Mission Dosti” contest, they are not a disappointed lot. Reason: The warm response that was accorded to them by people of Katra in particular and devotees from all over India in general.

“I cannot describe in words the affection and love given to us. It was beyond expectation,” said Khawaja Flahudin Naik, assistant coach of the Pakistani team while leaving Katra.
He said it was high time that people from both nations came forward and strengthened mutual ties notwithstanding other factors.
“How long can politicians from both the countries snub the emotions of people?” he questioned while pointing out similarities between the culture of Lahore and Jammu.
“Katra was like home for me, as the dress, culture and language are almost the same”, he observed.
Echoing similar sentiments, Mohammad Ali, the only Pakistani wrestler who won his bout, recollected how spectators cheered him when he defeated his Indian rival Naresh Kumar. “At one time, I could not fathom whether I was at home or outside,” he said.
The coach of the Pakistani team Mohammad Shafiq opined that such events should be held on a regular basis. “We share a common culture and heritage, therefore we should use these events to strengthen mutual ties,” he said.

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