With the right kind of follow up, it could, as Shahrukh Hasan, Group Managing Director of the Jang Group put it, "be a the start of a new chapter in our history."
The presence and speeches of Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, and Shahid Malik, Pakistan's suave High Commissioner in New Delhi gave a real boost to the meeting, taking it beyond the level that most had expected.
The heart-warming speeches and commitment of the other speakers, including Indian icons like Narayana Murthy, the godfather of India's blooming software industry, Dr Brij Mohan Lall Munjal, the 'king of the two-wheeler industry', and Dr Naresh Trehan of Medanta - The Medicity added to the optimism that permeated the entire conference.
"We must take trade to the front burner," said Mr Murthy. "We need Indian and Pakistani scientists to work together to fight common diseases like malaria etc."
"I come from Kamalia (now Faisalabad district)," Dr Munjal told participants. "I have helped my counterparts there whenever I could. When Pakistan's first bicycle was manufactured, I was there to see it roll out of the factory. I will always do what I can for any Pakistani."
"I have advised the government of India to unilaterally open trade for Pakistan," declared his son Sunil Munjal, MD Hero Cycles, and a top businessman in his own right. "India should remove all non-tariff barriers and allow Pakistani entrepreneurs and businessmen access to the vast Indian market. We can review the process after some months and see what harm or good it has done."
India has granted Pakistan most favoured nation (MFN) status - but without textiles, which form 60 % of Pakistan's expoerts. Pakistan uses this as a justification to deny India MFN status.
Dr Trehan talked about the possibility of an Indo-Pak medical society and the need to organise a large, bilateral conference on a high-end medical level that he plans to host within the next year.
There were so many other speakers, so much goodwill. We have reported most of what transpired in earlier pages (compiled at the Aman ki Asha website - www.amankiasha.com). We hope you enjoy this page of the conference and its sidelines in pictures. Here's to more such events.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
An online video about Sikhs looking after a mosque built by his ancestors inspires
the writer to re-connect with his past across the border
By Syed Saadat Hu
I had the opportunity to lead an 80-member high-level business delegation of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to Pakistan in May 2012 f .....more
RIP Asghar Ali Engineer
A legacy of peace, rational thinking,
Asoft spoken, gentle and unassuming person, always clad in a .....more
Time to douse the fire
"Pakistan-India relations have been strained for decades due to a number of well known issues - Kashmir, water, sporadic skirmis .....more
An innovative idea connects Indians and Pakistanis with 'the other side'
"It saddens me that we have neighbours that we can't even go visit." "The .....more
Congratulating Nawaz Sharif on the electoral win of his political party, Aman ki Asha's plea to both governments continues to be: "Stay the course". Let the people re .....more
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw