CONVERSATIONS-3: Let’s introspect

Printed in the aman ki asha page of Political Economy, The News on Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dilip D’Souza and Beena Sarwar continue their email exchange, attempting to share thoughts honestly, without fear and hostility, seeking ways to bridge the gulf between Pakistan and India

Mar 2 2010

Dear Beena,

Since we’ve started on this path of exploring the anti-the-other-country feelings, let’s take it a little further and see where it goes.

First, you draw a distinction between the (sometimes) elected Pakistani governments and what you call the “establishment” – the army/bureaucracy nexus, if you will. Nawaz Sharif was, you tell us, pro-India, but this establishment undermined his government’s efforts in that direction. Continue reading

A road show for peace; S. Balakrishnan: ‘Shatter stereotypes’

Below – introduction from the ‘aman ki asha‘ page in The News on Wed, March 4, and thoughts from S. Balakrishnan, Times of India’s chief of bureau in Mumbai who happened to be in Karachi at the time

A road show for peace

`Are you from India? Can I have your sign please?” was a question that those associated with the organisers often heard during the Aman ki Asha event at Park Towers, Karachi, last Sunday (Feb 28).

Asked why he wanted to meet Indians, one young man cradling a six-month old baby wrapped in pink, answered quietly, “”I want to ask them why they are being so hostile.”

Personal meetings rub the edge off hostility. As the poll conducted by the Jang Group and Times of India for Aman ki Asha in December 2009 underlines, the majority of people on both sides want peace. Being able to meet without the restrictions that currently mar travel between the two countries would help this process. Continue reading

Conversations-2: Let’s keep it going

Our second installment of Conversations, below – published in the Political Economy section of The News on Sunday’s Feb 27 edition, Aman ki Asha page, which also includes:

– ‘The Price of Peace‘ by Waqar Gillani on visa hurdles for peace activists

– ‘The MEPIC dimensions‘ by Rafey Mehmood, about a study center established by SZABIST (Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology) focusing on the Mid East Pakistan India and China.

Below: Dilip D’Souza and Beena Sarwar continue their correspondence from last week, attempting to share thoughts honestly, without fear and hostility, exploring what divides our countries, and seeking ways to bridge the divide

Feb 23 2010

Dear Beena,

That was a good start, thank you. While I know that terrorism continues unabated in Pakistan, I had no idea of the numbers you quoted to me. 8000 civilians and 3000 security personnel killed in seven years, is a tragic, horrifying toll. I think more of us in India need to comprehend the magnitude of what’s happening today in Pakistan.

There’s plenty in your letter that I’d like to discuss. But for now, I’d like to focus on one theme you brought up. Continue reading

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