Armed with cameras, vocal chords and their artistic talent, a team of seven young Pakistani students are off to India in just two days' time. The student delegation that is heading to New Delhi also features a young poet, songwriter and singer, Salar Khoso, who is currently a student at Greenwich University Karachi.
During a meeting with Group Managing Director Jang Group Shahrukh Hasan at the Jang head quarters on Tuesday, the students, who are from Lecole, Greenwich University and the Lyceum, brought written messages of peace and love between India and Pakistan. They also expressed their desire to build bridges between Indians and Pakistanis and break free from the animosity that they have inherited from the previous generations.
What they lack in experience they make up in enthusiasm. Shaky at first, Khoso gathered strength in his performance as he went along and entertained those present by singing songs of friendship and peace. "I'm confident enough to face the challenges coming," he says with a grin.
Our young students - who are between 18 to 24 years of age - say they are looking forward to visiting the Taj Mahal, interacting with the locals whom they have heard so much about, and experiencing first-hand what India is really like.
The exchange programme that they are embarking on is sponsored by the Rotary Club and Aman ki Asha as part of the Heart to Heart initiative of the Times of India and the Jang Group.
One of the youth ambassadors, Shazre Bukhari, confessed in an essay she wrote about the trip: "My knowledge about India and its people is limited to what I have seen in Bollywood, heard from those who visited it and the media". Eighteen-year-old Amnah Rahman wrote "travelling is an excellent way of learning" and expressed the desire to build human ties across the border. Hira Saleem also reinforced the optimism that ran through all the essays: there are a lot of warning signs on the road but there are some signs which are taking us to the road of peace and that should not be ignored.
The programme includes a nine-day stay with families in India next month. The goals, as articulated by the students themselves, are as simple as bringing back good memories and as lofty as changing long-standing perceptions among Indians about Pakistanis.
A few of them are also hoping to run into Amir Khan "the perfectionist" during their stay there. Starry-eyed and unabashedly enthusiastic, these bright young people along with their team leader Tahira Ahmed Khan are looking forward to the adventure that this trip promises to be.
They discussed maintaining blogs and diaries of their experiences during this trip. It is hoped that the enthusiasm they brought into the meeting at the Jang Group will continue long after their nine-day excursion is over, that upon their return to their respective educational institutions and neighbourhoods they will continue to share their experiences with their peers back home.
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
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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