Indo-Pak calendar launched in Islamabad
In Islamabad, the Calendar for Peace & Love 2014 was launched on 23rd December, at the Quaid-e-Azam University.
The programme was formally started by Aliya Harir, the Convenor of Aaghaz-e-Dosti Pakistan. She talked about the concept of the “Aaghaz-e-Dosti” initiative. This was followed by the welcome note by Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, head of Department School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He shared his views on “Aaghaz-e-Dosti”. He said that “conflict is the hurdle in the progress of South Asia. The resolution can be done by negotiation and two way talks.” Saying so, he appreciated the initiative and honored D. Hoodbhoy for his past efforts for the very cause.
The welcome note by was followed by a panel discussion or ‘Sharing of hopes for a Peaceful and Friendly Co-existence’. The panel discussion was moderated by Akhtar Nawaz, the founding member of The Catalyst – TC. The Panel included eminent personalities:
Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy – Dr. Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy is a nuclear physicist, essayist and defense analyst. Hoodbhoy is also a prominent environmentalist and social activist. Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy is a strong supporter of nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and the peaceful use of nuclear technology in Pakistan, India, United States and Israel. Pervez Hoodbhoy is also adviser to U.N General Secretary Ban Ki moon on disarmament.
Mr. Raza Rumi – Raza Rumi, the director of The Jinnah Institute, is a Pakistani columnist, Op-ed writer, journalist, editor, blogger, and analyst. His work is associated with Pakistani weekly, The Friday Times, Express Tribune, and The News and several other reputed newspapers of South Asia. Currently Mr. Raza Rumi hosts a show on Capital TV. He is author of the book “Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveler”.
and Mr. Hassan Raza – Mr. Hassan Reza, majoring in Media studies, is a blogger, an emerging journalist, and a social media activist.
In the discussion, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy said that he perceives that there is no other option than to going for cooperation and friendship between the neighboring countries, in this fast growing world. The economy of entire south Asia is not well off. An initiative of cooperation among the two countries: India and Pakistan would act as a mile stone for a prosperous south Asia. He emphasized on rectification of visa policy to make it viable for academic-cum-cultural exchanges, which would further fertile the ground for a stronger cooperation even beyond the economy.
Mr. Raza Rumi, while being critical about the academic literature being taught at school level in both the countries said, “it is at the basic school system where an individual learns hatred for the neighbor” me maintained “there is a dire need to look over the literature again and to fix it in such a way to add it with seeds of peacefulness, love and cooperation.”
Mr. Hassan Raza highlighted the role of ‘alternative-media’, the social media. He, while exemplifying himself said the campaign for peace can be run on social media and that could be a more effective medium to carry out the task of building cooperation, inculcating the sense of peace and love among the masses of the two countries. He further asked to gather will to counter such forces which try to halt the process via alternative-media portals.
The discussion was open to anyone and during last sessions, many from the audience shared their views, participated in discussion and agreed to work for Indo-Pak peace at their level. There came up an unexpected and a pretty offensive comment from a Kashmiri student whose wrong choice of words offended everyone in the seminar room, yet Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy replied to the offensive man in a very polite and humble way.
The panel discussion was followed by the Calendar launch. The calendar included the four lines of famous poem of Sardar Jafri “Tum Aao Gulshan-e-Lahore Say Chaman Bardosh.” This calendar also included six messages from India and Pakistan invited by the people who are working for Peace. This year Aaghaz-e-Dosti included messages from Kuldip Nayar, Pramod Sharma and Satyapal from India and Raza Rumi, Shakeel Wahidullah Khan and Kiran Nazish from Pakistan.
The three students from Islamabad and Rahim Yar Khan whose paintings were selected to be included in calendar were also present. They talked about the concept of their paintings and the importance of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan.
In the end, there was the prize distribution and the giving of souvenirs to the guest speakers. The programme was concluded by Shakeel Ahmad Shah, Founding Member of The Catalyst. He concluded by re-iterating the importance of this calendar. He said, “A calendar is the first thing that we glimpse at the beginning of each day to set our schedule. The paintings that depict the messages of peace and love between India and Pakistan would continue to remind us about the required objectives of peace and love each and every day. And with the turning over of a new page for a new month, would renew the hope for peace and love with a new inspirational painting message.”