Although I've been living in Mumbai for over twenty years, I still can't fully understand or speak Marathi - a gap in the linguistic sphere that is visible between any two states in southern India. But I felt none of this discomfort while conversing with Pakistani senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo for about an hour during my recent visit to Karachi. The reason: he spoke in pretty much the same language as over 70 per cent of Indians. Except that while Pakistanis term it Urdu, we call it Hindi. Mutual awareness can increase somewhat only with increased interaction between the people of both countries. This is necessary, at least between journalists and writers, who can record news and developments in each others' countries and help reduce mutual suspicions and animosity. This will
become possible only if the ruling establishments of both countries want it to happen.
- Om Prakash Tiwari, Special Correspondent, Hindi daily Dainik Jagran
'For a book lover, Karachi is pure bliss'
Whatever little apprehensions I had about Karachi and Pakistan melted the moment we landed in Karachi to a rousing welcome. Despite my Marathi-laced Urdu, communication was never a problem. I was struck by the fact that the common Pakistani seems to know more about India and its politics than the common Indians do about Pakistan. I was even asked questions about the political dynamics of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra!
The common people of Pakistan and India share the same concerns and aspirations. People to people contacts are essential for the creation of a 'constituency for peace', and for debunking stereotypes that we have about each other. Both governments must be pressurised to take conflict de-escalation measures. Exchange of journalists between the two countries must be encouraged.
For a book lover, Karachi is pure bliss. Regretfully, while Mumbai is fast losing its reading culture to a creeping anti-intellectualism, Karachi has managed to hold its own in this regard. I bought books by Arthur Koestler, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn etc at bargain prices at Frere Hall; Liberty too had its gems.
- Dhaval Kulkarni, Special Correspondent, The Indian Express
'So much like India and that famed hospitality'
Ididn't feel like I was in a different country, till the police security guards told me that I couldn't walk in the morning wherever I pleased. We had high security as an Indian press delegation. In Gulshan-e-Maymar where we stayed, the roads were deserted except for people who left very early for work. One of them, ten-year-old Afzal decided he would race me and show off that he was faster! Afzal has never been to school. Every day he walks 40 minutes to work at a bakery. So much like India. Everywhere you see children working, carrying bags, in hotels serving tea.
By now it's a cliche to speak about Pakistan's famed hospitality but I have to mention it. People gave us so much time, affection and warmth, ajraks and gifts - it was unforgettable. In Karachi you realise that people themselves are under a siege of sorts - co-ed schools are attacked, mosques are bombed, landgrabbers and extortionists are sending the crime graph spiralling. In Karachi we were warned not to speak on our mobile phones in public - you can be
robbed at gunpoint! There were two bombing incidents while we were there but no one seemed to mind except my taxi driver who was upset that these frequent incidents didn't seem to disturb anyone.
Yet you have flourishing art galleries, defiant university teachers and a society that is opposing all forms of religious extremism and violence. Few mentioned Kashmir; those who did, didn't seem to think that it was the hitch in Indo-Pak relations. Not a single person we met had anything other than nice things to say about India.
"When you go back to India hug Salman Khan for me," said a researcher fervently. Most people are gaga about Indian soaps. During serious political discussions, journalists would break off to ask about Aishwarya Rai and her baby. One TV channel asked us to offer our reactions when the baby was born - which we declined!
- Meena Menon, Deputy Editor, The Hindu
'Pakistan is not a monolithic entity'
I feel that Indians have to see Pakistan and understand that it is not a monolith entity, opposing India. Anyone who visits will easily understand and experience the difference between common Pakistanis and their ruling class. I saw great interest in India... People were always happy to talk about India. I felt many were comparing these twins and their present health. I have great confidence about our democracy. If Pakistan had also had democracy throughout, the situation and progress parameters could have been much better...
- Sarang Darshane, Assistant Editor, Maharashtra Times, Mumbai
Thursday, December 08, 2011
LAHORE: Pakistani youths attending a strategic discussion 'A Common Destiny' held under 'Aman Ki Asha' on Friday said people to people contact .....more
LAHORE: India and Pakistan must work together in order to keep the American influence out of South Asia, said Prem Shankar Jha, former editor o .....more
LAHORE: The dialogue 'A Common Destiny', the first of Aman ki Asha series on strategic importance to India and Pakistan concluded in Lahore .....more
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By Shahab Ansari
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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