Nine days after the Uri attack, 19 girls from Pakistan arrived in Chandigarh on September 27.
The 20-member group, led by Aliya Harir who runs a cross-border peace initiative Aghaz-e-Dosti and accompanied by a male member, was here to attend the week-long 11th edition of the Global Youth Peace Festival. They were scheduled to return to Pakistan on October 3.
The girls had brought special greeting cards and messages of peace from Pakistani school students.
But just two days into their visit, tension grew between the two neighbouring countries after India carried out surgical attacks on Pakistani terrorist camps in PoK on September 29.
Obviously, their families were worried and were constantly asking them to cut short the visit and return immediately, reported Hindustan Times.
Confused but not wanting to miss out on the planned Shimla trip on Friday, the girls did what distressed foreign visitors and NRIs do these days - approach foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
And Swaraj didn't disappoint.
As per an Indian Express report, a concerned foreign minister Sushma Swaraj assured them of all help in case the need arises. Mentioning ‘Atithi Devo Bhava', Sushma told the group that in Indian ethos, guests are treated like Gods and they should return to their land with happy memories.
She also tweeted:
Aliya - I was concerned about your well being kyonki betiyan to sabki sanjhi hoti hain. https://t.co/9QyeMQfRwy— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) October 3, 2016
If the group was worried over India's tough talk against Pakistan at the UN, especially after Sushma warned Pakistan in clear terms that it should stop dreaming about Kashmir, the minister quickly allayed their fears. She endearingly referred to Aliya and the girls as her "daughters" who responded with an equal grace.
Aap ki beti kehlane ka sharf hasil hai, aur kya chaheyay. The delegation has reached back home safe&immensely happy. Thanks a million times. https://t.co/JHH8VUj91Q— Aliya Harir (@AliyaHarir) October 4, 2016
The girls are back in Pakistan. During the visit, they visited Indian School of Business in SAS Nagar along with delegates from 31 other countries, and also interacted with school students and gave them Indo-Pak friendship cards.
Talking about their parents' fear during their India visit, one of the girls named Sultana told HT, "They [parents] said if tensions further escalate, what will happen? I told them, if, God forbid, war breaks out, we may die over there (in Pakistan). So how would it matter if I die here."