"I want to know Pakistanis first-hand," says Karan Raghav, a student of finance at the University of Delhi. He believes that the best way to know a country is to know it personally, and "that's why I opted to come here".
Karan, who landed in Karachi Airport on Monday, is a member of a group of five Indian students and one team leader visiting Pakistan on a 10-day trip from India 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 encouraging people-to-people contact between the two historically estranged neighbours.
During their stay in the city, the students will be living with Pakistani families, "so that they can have a feel of the daily lives of Pakistanis which is usually not shown in the mainstream media", said Irfan Qureshi, district chairman of the India-Pakistan peace committee, Rotary Club.
The all-expense-paid tour is being hosted by the Rotary Club, which includes a comprehensive tour of the city of Karachi and a cruise on the Arabian Sea, among many other cultural programmes especially arranged for the guests for the next 10 days.
Parth Singhania, a student of chartered accountancy, who loves cricket and music, considers himself lucky to be here. "Only a few people get this opportunity to go to Pakistan and learn about its culture, also to understand its beliefs and values," he says, explaining why he jumped at the idea to visit India's neighbour.
He looks forward to making friends with "some of the most hospitable and awesome people", and believes the programme will be a good learning experience. He dreams to impact the life of millions of people, join the Indian Administrative Service and make South Asia a better and safer place.
Tanima Narang, a national level badminton player, who also has an interest in ikebana, the Japanese art of flower decoration, considers herself an ambassador of peace and love from India.
Sachi Bhuttani, a theatre lover, would love to explore Pakistan more, and take "the real picture" back home. She aims to work with Rotary in the future as well.
Karan is someone who likes to keep an eye on the socio-political happenings in both India and Pakistan. "I want to promote the idea of Aman ki Asha by motivating people to encourage regular interaction with people across the border and understand their perspectives and opinions."
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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