Category Archives: Press Releases
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister of Pakistan
This is difficult time to see disturbances along Line of Control where reports are coming of frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan and India that is resulting loss of lives of soldiers on both sides and also of civilians. It is also reported that people who are living nearby border areas are fleeing from their villages to save their lives.
It is said that this is first time when artillery used after the ceasefire agreement of year 2003. Reports are coming of civilians which include even school students who got stranded in their schools due to heavy shelling. Bunkers are being provided to villages. More than 400 incidents of violations have been recorded in this year 2018 only. Many schools have been closed, walls of schools and houses are damaged, agricultural fields are destroyed and studies are hampered. These all are in contrary to fewer such incidents in earlier years.
We, who are concerned about these frequent violations see that role of diplomats and political leaders of both sides are extremely important and crucial in this time. Many think tanks and experts found that engagement through dialogues with each other always help in reducing numbers and intensity of such violations. Retired officers of security forces also claim that in the absence of any diplomatic engagement, armies of both sides are bound to answer each other in their own way.
We have example of effective engagements of both sides during the year 2003 when despite earlier present vicious atmosphere, Government of both sides together took the role for the verbally announced agreement that brought down numbers of incident sharply from 8376 incidents in 2002 to almost Nil incidents during 2004 and 2005 and then only fewer violations in years.
We, who are citizens of India and Pakistan and support peace-building hereby appeal to Government of India and Pakistan:
- To start dialogue process between diplomats and political leaders of both sides immediately
- To start frequent meetings of DGMOs of both sides immediately
- To remove heavy shelling arms , artillery from front lines immediately
- To take immediate measures to stop ceasefire violations to protect lives of soldiers and civilians on both sides
- To bring a renewed ceasefire agreement by both sides in written form and with SoPs to guide security forces for steps to be taken
- To ensure safe living for border population, including opening of schools
- To provide compensation to farmers of both sides whose crops destroyed in shelling
- To provide special provisions , weightage and concessions to students whose studies affected due to shut down of schools for the reason of these violations
We appeal you with all hope that your effective steps would not only saves lives of people including soldiers, but would also develop a confidence among people on both sides that their leaders are capable to handle situation and care for people. We must remember that if dialogues can save even a single life, we must go on with dialogue without any ego. We are well wishers of democratic values and we want to see a developed, more engaged and peaceful South Asia which is not possible without efforts by Govt. of Pakistan and India considering Indo-Pak line as one of the heaviest military deployment and volatile region.
Endorsed by people of India and Pakistan:
|Aabida Ali||Activist||Karachi, Pakistan|
|Abha Bhaiya||Activist, feminist||Himachal Pradesh, India|
|Admiral L Ramdas||Former Chief of the Naval Staff, President Emeritus PIPFPD – Pakistan India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy and Patron – India-Pakistan Soldiers Initiative for Peace||Alibagh, India|
|Ali Abbas||Social Worker||Hyderabad, India|
|Aman Gupta||Software Developer||Hyderabad, India|
|Ammara Ahmad||Writer||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Amit Ranjan||Faculty Member||National University of Singapore|
|Anil Kr Singh||Academician||Faizabad, India|
|Anuradha Bhasin||Editor- Kashmir Times||J&K, India|
|Atiqa Shahid||Hum Sab Aik Hain||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Beena Sarwar||Peace Activist, Journalist, Editor-Aman ki Asha||USA|
|Bharat Bhushan||Journalist||New Delhi, India|
|Bhargavi||PIPFPD, India||Delhi, India|
|Bhawani Shanker Kusum||Sarvodaya Worker||Jaipur, India|
|Bina Sarkar Ellias||Writer, editor, publisher, international gallerie||Mumbai, India|
|Brig (Retd) Rahul Bhonsle||Retd Brigadier||Delhi, India|
|Chaman Lal||(Retd) Professor of JNU, Former President JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) and Fellow (Senator), Panjab University, Chandigarh||Punjab, India|
|Chintan Girish Modi||Peace educator||Mumbai, India|
|Devika Mittal||Convener-India, Aaghaz-e-Dosti||New Delhi, India|
|Dr. Dhananjay Tripathi||Assistant Professor, South Asian University||New Delhi, India|
|Dr. Jagjit Singh Sandal||Retd Officer, Airport Authority of India||Hosiarpur, Punjab, India|
|Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi||ED-PVCHR||Varanasi, India|
|Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat||Activist, Columnist and Founder – Jammu Kashmir RTI Movement||Srinagar, J&K,India|
|Dr. Sandeep Pandey||Activist, Founder-Asha Parivar||Lucknow, India|
|Dr. Walter Fernandes||Senior Fellow, North Eastern Social Research Centre||Guwahati, India|
|Harsh Narayan||Filmmaker & Creative Director||New Delhi, India|
|Hasnain Ashraf||Advocate, High Court||Punjab, Pakistan|
|Hayat Amiree||Social Worker||Delhi, India|
|Jawed Naqvi||Freelance Journalist||New Delhi, India|
|Kamayani Bali Mahabal||Advocate, Activist||Mumbai, India|
|Kapil Kak||Air Vice Marshal (retd), Member-Track-2 initiatives on India-Pakistan Relations||Delhi, India|
|Lalita Ramdas||Citizen – Educator – Peace Activist||Alibagh, Raigad, India|
|Meena Menon||Journalist||Mumbai, India|
|Mohd Tahseen||Human Rights Activist||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Nadeem||Social Activist||Lucknow, India|
|Obaid||Activist, Journalist||Lucknow, India|
|Pamela Chaterjee||Activist||Almora, Uttarakhand,India|
|Prakarsh||Social Activist||Gurgaon, India|
|Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy||Former Prof, JNU||New Delhi, India|
|Prof Anuradha Chenoy||Former Prof, JNU||New Delhi,India|
|Rafat||Social Activist||Lucknow, India|
|Ravi Nitesh||Founder-Mission Bhartiyam||Delhi, India|
|Raza Rumi||Editor Daily Times/Faculty Cornell Institute for Public Affairs||Newyork, USA|
|Reema Abbasi||Journalist and writer||Karachi, Pakistan|
|Ruchhita Kazaria||Aarcee Enterprises Advertising||Kolkata,India|
|S. K Singh||Social Activist||Faizabad, India|
|S. N. Subba Rao||Veteran Gandhian||Delhi, India|
|Saeeda Diep||Peace activist and executive director- Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS)||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Salima Hashmi||Artist, Educator, Curator, Writer||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Samir Gupta||IT Professional||Ghaziabad, India|
|Sarita Kumari Ghanerao||South Asian Women’s Network , Ex VP-All India Rajput Women’s Organisation||Pali, Rajasthan, India|
|Satyapaul||Secretary General- South Asian Fraternity||New Delhi, India|
|Sehyr Mirza||Independent Journalist||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Shahnawaz Alam||Social Activist||Lucknow, India|
|Sharad Patel||Social Activist||Lucknow, India|
|Sheema Kermani||Founder-Tehreek-e-Niswan||Karachi, Pakistan|
|Sheharyar Riizwan||Journalist||Lahore, Pakistan|
|Sonya Fatah||Assistant Professor, Ryerson University School of Journalism||Canada|
|Sushobha Barve||Peace Activist||Delhi, India|
|Swati Sharan||Peace activist||Hamilton, Canada|
Aaghaz-e-Dosti appeals for peace over escalation in ceasefire violations
The youth led voluntary initiative for Indo-Pak Friendship, Aaghaz-e-Dosti (li. Beginning of friendship) expresses concern over increased incidents of ceasefire violations between the two countries across Line of Control.
‘’We believe that governments of the two countries are capable enough to engage in dialogue with each other and should do their best efforts to reduce these incidents of violations and cross border firings till the extent that it should not happen at all. Such cross border firings often result as fatal to soldiers and civilians on both sides and both countries must understand the pain and suffering of these soldiers and civilians who are human being. ‘’
For countries like India and Pakistan where there is glorification of war and where common people love their country and its soldiers beyond all limits, such ceasefire violations are more dangerous. However, it is the responsibility of respective governments that without compromising to any glory or honor; dialogues, negotiations and diplomatic steps should be taken to avoid any loss to lives of soldiers on both sides.
Another constituency of affected people is of those who live in border areas. There are media reports available that even children have been died as they got trapped in these firings. Many houses have been made damaged on both sides despite a considerable number of population live on both sides of line.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti highly appreciate governments’ initiative during 2003 when ceasefire violations were brought down through a mutually agreed agreement between the two governments and their armies and we are highly hopeful that the same should be done by the present governments on both sides. Aaghaz-e-Dosti express its hope with the leadership of both sides in Governments, Diplomatic Missions and Armed forces who can definitely bring down these violations through initiating and establishing dialogue process. Meetings of two NSAs also bring some hope to us for its positive results are yet to come on ground and most required on border where lives of innocent people are on stake.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti also appeals with Governments of India and Pakistan to resume meeting of DGMOs of both sides and to remove heavy casualty arms and ammunition from front lines from both sides as its immediate availability and use would only result in more casualties. Being a most volatile start in 2018, escalated incidents of ceasefire violations must be brought down with efforts of governments and people.
We at Aaghaz-e-Dosti believe that our efforts in fostering people to people relations would continue. We are the youth group who believe in ideology of peace and love. On one side, we are deeply distressed upon the disappearance of our member Raza Khan in Pakistan, however our hope still remains with the Government of Pakistan as we feel that Government would do its best efforts to protect peace workers. However, our commitment to peace is undeterred and without any fear and we feel that being voice of youths, who are in majority in both countries, our voice will be heard by leaders on both sides and effective steps will be taken in welfare of humanity and with the vision of long lasting relations of two countries. Doing this would save much lives from both sides and will be a real service to people.
News published on:
Kashmir Times http://www.kashmirtimes.in/newsdet.aspx?q=76867
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is concerned about the whereabouts of Raza Mahmood Khan, a Pakistani peace activist who is also the convener-Pakistan of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. It has been reported that Raza Khan went missing on the evening of 2nd December 2017. He was last seen at the end of a talk he organized on the issue of extremism at Lowkey Lokai. The Lahore police subsequently registered an FIR for a missing person case on the complaint received from his family and friends there. Since then, there has been no trace of him even as the investigation is ongoing.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is a joint project of two youth-led organisations – Mission Bhartiyam (India) and Hum Sab Aik Hain (Pakistan). It is managed by students and young professionals who work for Aaghaz-e-Dosti voluntarily, without any form of monetary remuneration.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is an apolitical initiative that does not attach itself to any political ideology, except for the ideology of peace and humanity. Aaghaz-e-Dosti members from both India and Pakistan have complete faith in the constitutions of their respective countries and their affiliation with this initiative is voluntary on the basis of their belief in the universal value of human rights, to which all countries and people of the world are committed.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is a civil society initiative and works on a people-to-people level. It does not speak about the domestic affairs of the respective countries. It works to highlight the role that people or civilians can play in improving relations between the two countries. For this, it works through peace education activities that facilitates interaction between people of both countries, dispels stereotypes and stresses the importance of peace and peacebuilding.
For 5 years now, Aaghaz-e-Dosti has been consistently working through peace education activities that include interactive sessions called ‘Aman Chaupals’, connecting Indian and Pakistani classrooms through video conferencing (Indo-Pak Classroom Connect), peace workshops, discussions, letter and greeting card exchange programs, Indo-Pak Peace Calendar, Indo-Pak open mics that facilitate virtual interactions between youths, a virtual eight-week peace-building course, peace Internships, and various virtual campaigns.
While being deeply concerned and in pain, Aaghaz-e-Dosti acknowledges Raza Khan’s valuable efforts to work for peace education, mostly among school students. Raza joined Aaghaz-e-Dosti in year 2015 when he was already involved in activism at a local level in Pakistan for different issues concerning Pakistan.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti extends its gratitude to everyone who is supporting and helping to find Raza Khan. We have complete faith in the working of state agencies and the judiciary and are hopeful that they will be able to find Raza soon and safe.
To contact us, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
*This is the second press statement. The first one can be accessed at https://aaghazedosti.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/statement-of-aaghaz-e-dosti-on-missing-report-of-raza-khan-convener-pakistan-of-aaghaz-e-dosti/
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is concerned about the whereabouts of Raza Mehmood Khan, a Pakistani peace activist who is also our convener. It has been reported that Raza Khan went missing on the evening of 2nd December 2017. He was last seen at the end of a talk he organized on the issue of extremism at his office. The Lahore police subsequently registered an FIR for the missing person case on the complaint received by his family and friends there. Since then, there has been no trace of him while the investigation is still on going.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is a joint collaborative venture between India and Pakistan which was founded in 2012 with a team of volunteers, mostly youth and students who were advocating for global peace. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is an apolitical initiative that does not attach itself to any political ideology except for the ideology of peace and humanity. Aaghaz-e-Dosti members from both India and Pakistan have complete faith in the constitutions of their own countries and their affiliation with this initiative is voluntary on the basis of their belief in the universal values of human rights, to which all countries and people of the world are committed.
While being deeply concerned and in pain, Aaghaz-e-Dosti acknowledges Raza Khan’s valuable efforts to work for peace education, mostly among school students as a core work of the Aaghaz-e-Dosti for Indo-Pak Friendship. Raza joined Aaghaz-e-Dosti in year 2015 and was already involved in activism at a local level in Pakistan for different issues concerning Pakistan.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti extends its gratitude to everyone who are supporting and helping to find Raza Khan. We have complete faith in the working of state agencies and are hopeful that Raza will be back soon with the efforts of the Government of Pakistan and its state institutions.
To contact us, email at email@example.com
Aaghaz-e-Dosti Lahore chapter organized ‘Chiraagh-e-Aman Jalao’ on 6th August 2017. Aaghaz-e-dosti believes in peace and harmony in South Asian Region and the whole world, collectively. Mainly there are two reasons why Chiraagh-e-aman Jalao was organized. Firstly, in August 2017, Pakistan and India are going to be 70 years old and still the two neighboring countries are living in conflict.
Even after 70 years of birth, Pakistan and India needs to resolve all the contemporary conflicts including border conflict. We are gathering at river Ravi, which symbolize that future of India and Pakistan must flow together like waves of river and with the virtue to serve humanity.
We gathered on 6th August as 6th and 9th August 1945 has been one of the darkest days in world’s history when during the final stage of World War II, the United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history. We hope that despite being nuclear empowered nations, India and Pakistan will take all steps to resolve their conflicts and to provide future generation a better region that will be free from any kind of violence, hatred, conflict and war. Our future must grow together.
This, Chiraagh-e-Aman was a very tiny memorial for all violence and hatred provoking incidents resulting in numerous victims. Aaghaz-e-dosti calls on all actors to regurgitate the significant responsibility of the States in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. AED also stresses the importance of peace and humanity. AED urges all actors to increase their inputs for sustaining peace.
Aaghaz-e-dosti demands both Pakistani and Indian State to back the treaty banning nuclear weapons. It’s been more than seven decades when the world has witnessed the macro destruction due to nuclear weapons, now it is the time to learn from the her-story. Both nations need and dreams for the freedom from poverty. We demand for a welfare state instead of a security state. People are still deprived from pure drinking water, health facilities, food, shelter etc. Both countries need to relax visa policy and increase trade, religious tourism, cultural exchange etc. For emphasizing on this AED called the both nations to join to lit the lamp, a lamp of hope, harmony and humanity.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti (lit. beginning of Friendship) aims to eradicate mutual hatred and suspicion to create unwavering bonds of peace and friendship. This is because we believe that miscommunication and lack of communication has helped sustain the conflict. To meet our objective, Aaghaz-e-Dosti has taken several initiatives ranging from interactive sessions in schools to public demonstrations, from art-based initiatives to writing articles and issuing statements to disseminate the misrepresented voice across the border.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti seeks to enhance people-to-people relations. It seeks to become the medium to discover and recognize the misrepresented reality on the other side of the border. Aaghaz-e-Dosti was started in 2012 by Mission Bhartiyam, an India-based youth organisation. It has collaborated with several organisations in the past but from May 2017, Aaghaz-e-Dosti became a joint initiative of Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based “Hum Sab Aik Hain”.
‘Hum Sab Aik Hain’ is an organization formed by a group of young people based in Lahore. The objective of this organization is to promote peace and harmony among the masses by highlighting, advocating and organizing towards discourses and movements to bring about Socio-Political and Economic changes required for a peaceful society.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a cross border Indo-Pak Friendship Initiative, is now a laureate under the category of “Special Mention” for the Public Peace Prize 2017. Public Peace Prize is an International award and regarded as the “People’s Award”. It is the public that sends in nominations and then votes to choose the laureates according to the proposed categories. In 2017, it has recognised peacemakers from Cameroon, Colombia, Ghana, India, France, Nigeria, Pakistan, USA and Yemen. The criteria for recognition was is uniqueness of project, challenges, courage, audacity and selflessness of changemakers and their efforts.
In 2017, it has recognised peacemakers from Cameroon, Colombia, Ghana, India, France, Nigeria, Pakistan, USA and Yemen. Besides Aaghaz-e-Dosti, 2017 laureates include Elliot Hillary Dogbe who is an 11 year old peace activist from Ghana, Khairatul Saidu from Nigeria who is working for rights for the unjustly imprisoned, Zubair Torwali from Pakistan for his work to increase literacy in the indigeneous people of Swat Valley among several other inspiring changemakers who have been felicitated as laureates or finalists.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti (“Beginning of Friendship” in Hindi and Urdu) is proud to have received such a recognition. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is proclaimed as Laureate for the 2017 Public Peace Prize in the category of Mediators for Reconciliation between Groups Divided by Conflicts.
Public Peace Prize wrote for Aaghaz-e-Dosti, “Aaghaz-e-Dosti is laureate 2017 for its pledge and its consistent actions seeking to reconcile communities that have been rivals in two countries. Most of the public’s support went to this civil initiative which was considered both innovative and bold.”
An initiative engaged with citizen diplomacy, Aaghaz-e-Dosti works by facilitating people-to-people contact, challenging mutual hatred and suspicion, creating a culture of peace and understanding among people of both countries, and highlighting the issues of victims of conflicts. It works through peace education activities in schools and colleges, advocacy on the issues of the victims of conflict by documentation and by approaching the concerned authorities on both sides.
Despite being a voluntary and unfunded initiative, Aaghaz-e-Dosti has been able to be a consistent voice and platform working for Indo-Pak peace since May 2012. Aaghaz-e-Dosti was started by some individuals led by Ravi Nitesh of Mission Bhartiyam in India in 2012. For Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Mission Bhartiyam had collaborated with several organisations of Pakistan (such as CYDA, IMOV, The Catalyst, The Catalyst for Peace) in the past and from May 2017, Aaghaz-e-Dosti became a joint initiative of Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based Hum Sab Aik Hai (lit. “We are One”).
Aaghaz-e-Dosti has always been run by active and committed individuals who worked voluntarily. For this reason, there have been people who also left in the spirit of keeping the initiative active. This award is dedicated to every individual who has ever contributed to Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
At present, Aaghaz-e-Dosti has regional chapters and or co-ordinators in Aligarh, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Delhi, Mumbai and Vadodara in India and in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Toba Tek Singh in Pakistan. It also has co-ordinators in Dubai and Kyrgyz Republic.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti has received several awards in the past for its peacebuilding efforts. For Aaghaz-e-Dosti, this recognition is recognising the commitment of the team of volunteers who are working for the cause and realising the hope for peace of millions of people who are affected with conflict, violence, hatred and enmity.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti extends its sincere thanks to Public Peace Prize and assure that it will continue to bring to our fold, more committed and motivated young people who want to make this world a better place to live in and in making our region more peaceful and free from violence. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is committed and increasing its membership base in both countries as well as in third countries to cater IndoPak diaspora and spreading peace message across globe. It respects, appreciates and follows SDG goals of UN where Peacebuilding is seen as one of the global committment under SDG13. In coming months, Aaghaz-e-Dosti is bringing few innovative and new programs under which people will take part towards strengthening citizen diplomacy and peace education.
With the objective to increase the peace tribe, Aaghaz-e-Dosti launches peace internships. The Peace Internship Program is a four-week internship program (can be extended) which while being specialized in a specific field – writing, research, video editing and designing, will inculcate an understanding of peace and conflict in context of the Indo-Pak issue. The internship will equip you to understand conflict, and contribute to peace between India and Pakistan.
The Peace Internship Program has been designed keeping in mind the voluntary nature and the time constraints that may bound an individual. The program is home-based and easily doable but does require hardwork. An intern will have to devote about 10 hours in a week.
Since this is a non-funded initiative, we will not be able to offer any monetary remuneration. However, the interns will receive a certificate on the completion of the internship program.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is offering four types of internship. While an applicant can apply for more than one, he/she will be accepted only for one.
Writing Interns will be given a maximum of 4 different writing assignments which may include movie review, article, poem and fiction story. Feedback will be provided on the writing style, analysis and understanding of the conflict.
- Good command over written English
- Prior knowledge of writing skills
- Ability to analyse issues
- Able to meet deadlines and complete one assignment (writing and incorporation of feedback) in a week’s time
To apply, please send a writing sample along with your CV and statement of interest.
Work: This will be done in a group. A group of 4 people will work on a particular issue that informs the Indo-Pak Conflict. The team will divide the work and will be involved in compiling, analyzing and documenting data. The objective of the research team will be to understand the issue from different perspectives.
Data collection will involve finding and reading existing works, collecting data through survey and interview method.
The team will write a joint report. Besides the report, they can also explore creative, alternative methods to present the findings.
Eligibility: Any previous experience in research will be preferred. To apply, please send your CV and statement of interest.
Interns will make video on particular issue, in collaboration with research team or independent. This will involve video making and editing work.
Eligibility: Some experience in video making/editing is mandatory. Please share any previous work along with your CV and statement of interest.
Design Interns – photo editing and designing of posters (content will be given).
Eligibility: Some experience in designing and photo editing is mandatory. Please share any previous work along with your CV and statement of interest.
The first peace internship will start from 20th June (tentative date). Please do not apply if you will not be able to commit one month (10 hours a week) for this program.
Deadline to Apply: 15 June 2017
To apply, please email with the above-stated documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaghaz-e-Dosti (lit. Beginning of Friendship) was initiated by Mission Bhartiyam in 2012. At present, it is a joint project of Mission Bhartiyam of India and Hum Sab Aik Hai of Pakistan.
The working structure of Aaghaz-e-Dosti consists of founder, two convenors (temporary post) – India and Pakistan, core committee members, city-coordinators, members of regional team and task-based committees.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti has been working consistently since its launch in 2012. With the motive to work actively and extensively, every year, the team is restructured and membership is renewed. Here is the current team structure:
Founder of Aaghaz-e-Dosti: Ravi Nitesh
Conveners – Devika Mittal (India) and Raza Khan (Pakistan)
Core Members: Ravi Nitesh, Devika Mittal, Raza Khan and Madhulika V Narasimhan
Aligarh – Ilma Iqbal (Co-ordinator)
Baroda – Dr. Nidhi Shendurnikar Tere (Co-ordinator)
Chandigarh – Astinder Kaur ji (Co-ordinator)
Dehradun – Prashant Nautiyal (Co-ordinator)
Delhi – Madhulika Narasimhan (Chairperson), Madhuri (Treasurer), Shruti Achesh, Sarral Sharma, Neelanjan Chakraborty, Sanjana Arya, Manish Bhaduariya, Madalsa Poddar, Radhika Arora, Dr. Praveen Saraswat and Rupika
Islamabad – Syed Zeeshan Ali Shah, Fatima Shah and Saba Khalid
Lahore – Raza Khan, Safia Bokhari (Co-ordinator), Farooq Ishraq (General Secretary), Sarah Awan (Information Secretary), Atiqa Shahid
Toba Tek Singh – Umair Ahmad (Co-ordinator)
Nasima Karim – Co-ordinator
Zebaish Shaikh – Co-ordinator
Blog/Editing Team Devika Mittal, Madhulika V Narasimhan, Dr. Nidhi Shendurnikar Tere and Sheharyar Rizwan
Social Media Initiatives Team Swathi Gadepalli and Rupika
Design Team Shruti Achesh and Prashant Nautiyal
Volunteers: While anyone can apply to become a volunteer, only those who work are recognised as volunteers and on the basis of their work, are given a responsibility and enrolled in the team.
Chandigarh, India: Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a voluntary and non-political Indo-Pak cross border friendship initiative launched its 5th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar in Chandigarh on 18 February at St’ Stephens School.
The calendar was launched by Smt. Asha Jaswal, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh; Dr. DNV Kumara Guru, Director – External Relations and Human Resources at Indian School of Business, Mohali, Punjab; Mr. Sandeep Joshi, Cartoonist, The Tribune Group; Mr. Avtar Singh, Director – People’s Convention Centre; Mr. Louis Lopez, Principal, St. Stephen’s School, Chandigarh; Mr. Pramod Sharma, Director – Yuvsatta and Shruti Achesh, member Aaghaz-e-dosti.
The Launch program was organised at St. Stephen’s School by Yuvsatta, a Chandigarh based youth empowering NGO, who is also one of the collaborators of the Aaghaz-e-dosti Indo-Pak Peace Calendar this year. The program was attended by majority of the students of the school along with the school Principal, Vice Principal, teachers and the staff members.
Besides the Launch, the esteemed guests also presented their views regarding Indo-Pak issues and the value of developing friendly relations with the neighbouring countries.
The Aaghaz-e-dosti Indo Pak peace calendar features selected paintings (6 paintings from India and 6 from Pakistan) from schools students (Grade 8 to 12) of India and Pakistan. These Paintings depict an innocent and apolitical horizon of peace.
This year, we received thought-provoking expressions from students of several cities in India (Bulandshahr, Cuttack, Dehradun, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Surat and Vadodara) and in Pakistan (Karachi, Lahore, Swabi and Toba Tek Singh). Along with the paintings, peace calendar includes messages from peace activists and renowned intellectuals. This year, Peace calendar includes messages of Dr. Salima Hashmi, Dr I A Rehman, Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed, Lt. General (Retd) Muhammad Masood Aslam from Pakistan and Dr Shashi Tharoor, Col (retd) Virender Sahai, Major General (retd) Ashok Mehta, Sudheendra Kulkarni , Dr Syeda Hameed from India.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Louis Lopez, Principal St. Stephen’s School congratulated Aaghaz-e-dosti for taking this thought forward to initiate Peace between the two nations. He talked about the role of students in peacebuilding and how the noble values of peace and non violence can lead our country and can contribute in developing a peaceful and more humane environment in the world.
Shruti Achesh, who is a member of the Aaghaz-e-Dosti team, Delhi, gave an introduction on the vision and mission of the initiative and, how this peace calendar is helping to bridge distances between the people of India and Pakistan. She said that both countries have a history and geography shared together and in no way both can even think about being a rival of each other. She described how common people as well as children of both the countries are eager to develop friendly relations and are doing efforts to achieve that. She recited examples when during classroom connects of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, students from both sides became so happy while talking to each other and started inviting each other to their home immediately.
Chief Guest Smt. Asha Jaswal said that Indo-Pak relations is one area where we need more and more people to work for.. And the best people who can contribute towards this initiative is the youth of both the nations and everyone should support them. She also congratulated Aaghaz-e-Dosti for initiating this process of people to people contact and emphasized on the point that no one wants war, everyone wants to live in peace with each other and, if Aaghaz-e-dosti has taken this initiative to bring this forward, then everyone should encourage them by themselves being a part of this process. She also told that there are lot of efforts being done to normalise the relations through increased role of people to people communication and it needs to be developed more and more.
Mr. DNV Kumara Guru who is the Director – External Relations and Human Resources at Indian School of Business said, there are much deeper bonds of love and friendship between the people of India and Pakistan and we should continue making efforts to strengthen these bonds, to build bridges and to remove all kinds of barriers that divide us. He said we all are peace loving human beings and it is our responsibility to break this rhetoric to foster harmony, love and the importance of togetherness.
Mr. Sandeep Joshi, who is a cartoonist with the Tribune Group stressed on the importance of art in bridging the gap between the two nations. He further added that art accepts no boundries and can be one of the ways in which we can create a momentum for peace between India and Pakistan.
Pramod Sharma, Director and Coordinator – Yuvsatta told that he has had many experiences through his travel to Pakistan and he has found that people on both sides of the border are same. He also talked about the Global Youth Peace Festival that is organised by his esteemed organisation every year in Chandigarh, and where they are trying to promote the process of building peaceful ties by inviting and encouraging the youth from different parts of the world.
Running since last 5 years and, presently with a vibrant team of youth coordinators along with more than 15 chapters in both Pakistan and India, Aaghaz-e-Dosti aims to create unwavering bonds of Peace and friendship between these two nations by strengthening people to people contact. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is heading towards its objective through various activities such as Aman Chaupals, Peace Workshops, Classroom to Classroom connects, Indo-Pak Peace Calendar, Discussions and Seminars and others. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is one of the most prominent voice on Indo-Pak issues and has been recognized for its voluntary efforts by people, media and governments on both sides of the border along with many awards from organizations and peace institutions.
This year, calendar has been launched in presence of various dignitaries in Lahore (1 Jan), Toba Tek Singh (8 Jan), Peshawar (9 Jan), Karachi (29 Jan) in Pakistan and New Delhi (14 Jan) Mumbai (30 Jan), Dehradun (5th Feb), Panipat (11th Feb) and Kolkata (5 March) in India. The Calendar has also been launched in Kyrgz Republic.
Press Release by
On International Non-Violence Day, a peace demonstration organised in Lahore
Lahore: A number of citizens under the banner of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an Indo-Pak friendship Initiative, gathered at Liberty Market on Oct 2, 2016 to raise their voice for peace. The Slogan was “Save Our Future – End War Mongering between Pakistan and India”.
They said that as neighbors, we, the peoples of Pakistan & India share one water, we share the air, we share a history, culture & language. We also share poverty, illiteracy, inequality, pollution and youth unemployment. And most importantly, we share a future.
But our future is jeopardized by war mongering, hate, jingoism and in dehumanizing the other. As peace loving people of this land, we demand of both States and Leaders to engage each other, de-escalate, and resolve their differences diplomatically.
Both states have been engaged in a proxy war in Afghanistan, Kashmir and Baluchistan which does not serve the people of this region. Because of this, the whole SAARC region is affected leading to a lack of regional cooperation, which is critical for the success of all countries in the region. Additionally, it is important for both States to understand that Human Rights are key to peace in their respective countries, and thus both states should ensure that all their citizens have the rights enshrined in their respective constitutions as well as the UN Charter.
As peace loving people, we demand that leadership of both nations talk immediately to de-escalate the current situation, followed by devising an institutional framework (restart the composite dialogue) to resolve all outstanding issues diplomatically. Else we the people will suffer, we will fall further behind the rest of the world, and we will not be able to manage the coming crises such as climate change which will impact us all.
The gathering consisted of senior activists, young activists, college and even some school students. The gathering was also joined by some passersby.
For further information, email at email@example.com or contact Raza Khan (Lahore Co-ordinator) at +92 300 4934142