India/Pakistan: Asha ki Kiran

Tea with the lovely Nandita Das in Mumbai

Tea with the lovely Nandita Das in Mumbai

Found to be inoperable in Bangalore, young Kiran Soomro won over scores of hearts and has returned to Pakistan with a priceless gift of love – and homemade Singhar mithai. My article published in Aman ki Asha and TOI blogs today

On January 20, 2014, her seventeenth birthday, Kiran Soomro flew from Karachi to Bangalore on with her parents. They left with hope in their hearts and a prayer on their lips, expecting that Dr. Devi Shetty at the Narayana Health hospital would be able to surgically close the hole in Kiran’s heart.

Five days later, they learnt that her condition is inoperable by now. It would have been a fairly simple operation had it been looked into and treated earlier. Doctors initially discussed a heart-and-lung transplant. Dr. Balakrishnan, a well-known surgeon from Chennai drove down on his own initiative to examine Kiran in Bangalore. Continue reading

Play for peace: Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Milne Do’

Mahesh Bhatt-Imran Zahid play

Mahesh Bhatt’s forthcoming play is creating a media buzz

My article in the Aman ki Asha page of The News, Dec 4, and in the TOI blog

Play for peace: Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Milne Do’

A behind-the-scenes look at what is driving a veteran film producer and peace activist’s fourth stage production, coming up

By Beena Sarwar

It was Google’s “Reunion” ad released on the web that pushed Delhi-based actor Imran Zahid to move on an idea that he has been thinking about for some time, creating waves in the media.

Last week Imran messaged me, asking for story ideas for a stage play “to promote Aman ki asha and the concept of ‘Milne do’ (let them meet) to be staged in various cities of India and Pakistan in association with Mahesh Bhatt Saab”. Continue reading

Eye Opener: An Indian-American Visits Pakistan


Nice share on the Aman ki Asha facebook group:
Eye Opener: An Indian-American Visits Pakistan - by Mahanth S. Joishy, Editor of usindiamonitor.com - extract: “…But even these problems can be overcome by bringing Pakistan deeper into the community of nations, and further integrating Pakistan into world markets.  India and the United States for their part can do more to help bring this about.  I am convinced that instead of the delicate dance the three nations have done around each other since 1947, it is time for all to become closer friends and drop the pretexts for moving backward instead of forward.  What I saw in Pakistan more than the perils, is great potential. I plan to do my part, and this piece is only the first step.”

Beyond business

New Delhi, May 2010: OUP Director Ameena Saiyid presents Brij Mohan Lal Munjal of Hero Honda with a souvenir at the first Aman ki Asha Indo-Pak Business Conference. Photo: TOI/ Piyal Bhattacharjee

My article on how it all started for The News special edition published ahead of ‘Dividends’, the Aman ki Asha Indo-Pak Business Meet in Lahore, May 7-8, 2012, attended by several top Indian businessmen, addressed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Chief Minister of Punjab, and the Foreign Minister of Pakistan. See Aman ki Asha website for more.  Continue reading

Trade winds for peace: In the air, a hope song

A political push and removal of barriers will see a rise in trade, and peace, between India and Pakistan...

This article was originally published in The News and The Times of India last week

Trade winds for peace

By Beena Sarwar

“Trade for peace” is the new catchphrase defining the emerging relationship between India and Pakistan – a relationship historically so troubled that, when not actually at war, they have been engaged in a virtual cold war. But the winds of change are now blowing in a more positive phase, heralded by recent breakthroughs on the trade front. Continue reading

“Focus, and spread the message of peace to all” – Nandita Das | Thousands worldwide to Pray for Peace between India and Pakistan on Dec 18

By Beena Sarwar

From Indian actor Nandita Das in Mumbai, to peace groups and individuals all over India and Pakistan, and in countries as far away as Korea, Australia, Canada and America, thousands are supporting Pray for Peace Between India and Pakistan Day on Sunday, Dec 18, 2011.

Inspired by the idea of the power of collective prayer or meditation, Toronto-based Swati Sharan randomly picked the date several months ago. “These prayers can be done from anywhere on the globe by any one, of any nationality… the more people pray for something at a given time, the greater the difference it can make,” she wrote in an initial article in May explaining the idea, Continue reading

Aman ki Asha pages featuring Mumbai journalists’ Pakistan visit

Here are PDFs of two recent Aman ki Asha pages that I tried to email to the Mumbai journalists who visited Pakistan recently, as the pages feature their responses. Since the second PDF file was for some reason too large to email, I’m posting both of them here. Click these links for the PDFs:

Aman ki Asha page, Dec 8, 2011

Aman ki Asha page, Nov 30, 2011

Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea anyway. Maybe I should upload more of these pages. The content is all available on the Aman ki Asha website anyway, but there you can’t see the great layouts the designers have been doing. Continue reading

Indian pilot’s daughter writes a deeply touching reply to Pakistani pilot who shot her father’s plane down

Qais Hussain with his damaged aircraft during the 1965 war.

Thanks to Naveed Riaz in Lahore for the email that formed the basis of my report on Qais Hussain’s condolence note to Farida Singh, daughter of the Indian pilot whose plane he shot down during the 1965 war. Here’s another note Mr Riaz just sent to his email list: 

This profoundly humane episode continues to move ahead with Indian and Pakistani news channels and media bringing it increasingly to the fore today after Beena Sarwar in Karachi broke the story in Pakistan’s leading daily The News (Aman ki Asha).

Mrs Farida Singh, daughter of the deceased pilot of the Indian plane Jahangir “Jangoo” Engineer replied today to Qais’s letter of condolence four days earlier – see below (NDTV’s coverage this evening at this link). Beena’s article and Qais’s condolence letter here) Continue reading

After 46 yrs, the healing touch: Pak pilot says sorry for mistake

NOTE: Qais Hussain has clarified that he did not ‘apologise’ for what he did. His note was a letter of condolence and an attempt to set the record straight. He has written to Indian Express with this clarification

Front page report in The Indian Express Aug 10, 2011: After 46 yrs, the healing touch: Pak pilot says sorry for mistake (also would have been nice if they’d credited me or Aman ki Asha). Excerpts:  Continue reading

Governor Rajasthan delays Dr Chishty’s release

Unable to walk on his own anymore, Dr Chishty is carried to court in Ajmer. Photo: Times of India

DR CHISHTY CASE UPDATE

Beena Sarwar

June 21: The expected release of an elderly Pakistani academic imprisoned in India for nearly two decades was delayed as the Governor of Rajasthan raised further queries instead of signing the mercy petition recommended to him by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan - flouting the constitutional provision that requires the Governor to act upon the advice of the Chief Minister, making his signature a mere formality. Continue reading

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