Though the Indian media often maligns Pakistan, a visiting delegation of five students from the neighbouring country say they have never taken such media reports at face value because they believe there is another story; one that remains untold.
This was one of the main reasons they wanted to come to Pakistan in the first place. "I wanted to create my own picture," says Sachi Bhutani, a schoolgirl. She always thought Karachi would be like Mumbai, but she has found it is less crowded and more eastern. "When you walk through a street of an Indian city, you find a mixture of jeans and Shalwar Kurtas, but here most women prefer to dress up in Shalwar Kurtas," she observes.
Tanima Narang's ancestors belonged to Punjab and Kashmir. From the stories she heard from her grandparents, she always thought Karachi would be nice, but she found it to be "nicer". "The people here are amazingly hospitable."
Bhaviya Mahajan agrees that the Indian media, more often than not, passes derogatory remarks about Pakistan, but coming here was a completely different experience. The similarities between the two countries continue to amaze her, from the bazaars to the way aunties bargain with shopkeepers.
"The only difference is fashion. Here the Kurtas have reached a sweeping length; back in India we still wear them short above our knees." For Karan Raghav, "the general perception of Pakistanis portrayed in the Indian media is not good", but he found that people here are "pure at heart".
Charter accountancy student Parth Singhania barely watches television, yet he came with mixed feelings. "But now I will only leave on a positive note," he says. The students, who landed at Karachi airport on December along with a team leader, are visiting Pakistan on a 10-day trip as part of an exchange programme.
The tour is part of an ongoing initiative taken by the Rotary Club and Aman ki Asha - a collaboration between the Jang Group and Times of India - to improve relationships between India and Pakistan by boosting people-to-people contact between the two South Asian neighbours.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
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By Vasundhara Chauhan
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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