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Pakistani girl’s dreams turn into reality – with some help from Indian company

Shifa is like any other girl – a life full of joy, dreams, goals and a passion for doing something. After the death of her grandmother (dadi ammi) whom she loved a lot, she would often see her in her dreams where her dadi would talk to her and share a few memories of India.

In 2018, Shifa, who was a chemist by qualification and loved to indulge in social welfare, thought she should try her hand at a small business. This is where her real journey started – she learnt that establishing a business is always more difficult than the daily routine of a job.

But since she was ready to take on the challenge, she started exploring ideas based on her own observations and calculations such as the risks involved, cash flow, need for a certain type of business, capital involved etc. Like any other entrepreneur would do.

The idea of opening her own laundry instantly clicked and she started working towards it. When she talked to her friends and family, most of them rejected the idea, mainly because she had no experience of a washing business. Shifa narrates:

Shifa_Owner_WashHub Pakistan

Shifa (Founder-WashHub, Pakistan)

“In 2018, mujhe business ka junoon tha. Laundry start karney ka idea aya. Hoon to mein chemist and social worker. Par ek dam sey yeh idea aya to bas sab ne bohat sunai, guide karna to door ki baat hai. Mein subha se raat tak laundry companies ko mails bhejti thi. But no response.”



But Shifa did not give up hope and instead became ever more determined to take up the challenge and make all the effort she could to bring her idea to life. She looked up all the laundry businesses on the internet and started writing them e-mails for guidance. She did not even count the number of emails she had sent. While she didn’t receive any response to her mails, she did not feel defeated and sent more emails to more companies.

Her effort bore some fruit when she received a surprise response to one of her emails. But wait! This reply was from an Indian company! And they were ready to guide her on how to open a laundry business. Shifa started taking tips from WashApp, the Indian company, collected resources locally and, finally, succeeded in opening her own laundry in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

She says, “Ek din meri aankh khuli and I saw an email from India. One of the biggest companies in India. After that daily unn se baat hoti thi and they guided me at every single step.”

WashApp Team India

Washapp Team (India)

While narrating her story to Aaghaz-e-Dosti, she says that the entire process sounds like a dream and makes her so happy. She believes that people living on the other side of the border have a good heart and we just need to stretch our hands towards each other to become united. She said “I wish ke mein sab ko bata sakoon ke border key uss paar bhi hum jaise log baste hain jo hum se pyar karty hain bas hath barhanay ki dair hai. Ek bar koshish to keejiye.”

Aaghaz-e-Dosti learnt that her business started with providing laundry services initially to domestic users and students, but after positive feedback and trustworthy relationship with customers, it has grown significantly into a firm, called WashHub, and now provides services to industries, hospitals, restaurants and many other commercial users.

She never forgets to say thank you to the Indian company that guided her about how to set up her own laundry.

Her message to young entrepreneurs is:

“Never give up on what you really want to do. Anyone with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.”

(Send your Indo-Pak stories, experiences, poems, travel blogs, articles etc at to publish with us)


New friendships in the neighbourhood: Experience of an Indian in Pakistan

By Chintan Girish Modi


Aliya and Chintan doing namaste and aadaab respectively

I learnt of Aaghaz-e-Dosti a few months ago, and I have been following your work with great interest. It is a simple and powerful initiative to build friendships between Indians and Pakistanis. Your efforts to encourage such constructive cross-border interaction are indeed worthy of appreciation. I like the way Mission Bhartiyam in Delhi is collaborating with The Catalyst in Islamabad to organize simultaneous events in India and Pakistan, and to facilitate interactions of locals with Indians travelling to Pakistan, and Pakistanis travelling to India.

Thanks for involving me in your work by introducing me to Aliya Harir of The Catalyst during my recent visit to Islamabad. I enjoyed spending time with Aliya and her friends Tauqeer, Imrana, Saba, Anum and Natasha from Quaid-e-Azam University. They took me to the Lok Virsa National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, and later for a sumptuous meal at Habibi, where we were joined by Saba’s husband Zulqurnain.

With the shopkeeper from Tharparkar

With the shopkeeper from Tharparkar

Unfortunately, Lok Virsa was shut that day, but we got enough time to look around at the handicrafts stalls set up by crafts persons hailing from the different provinces of Pakistan. I particularly enjoyed looking at blue pottery from Hala, and bed covers as well as wall hangings from Tharparkar. I did not buy any pottery, fearing that it might break due to rough handling of baggage at the airport. However, I did pick up a few colourful bed covers. 

One of the guys at the Tharparkar stall was curious about where I had come from. When I told him that I live in Mumbai but that my mother is from Rajasthan, which lies on the other side of the Thar desert, he was quite delighted. He got one of his mates to bring me a cup of tea. After I paid for my purchases, he offered me a wall hanging as a gift, and another person at the stall gifted me an embroidered pouch studded with mirrors. It was a touching gesture. I told him, “Aap itni khushi say day rahay haen, galay milnaa tau bantaa hae!” (Translation: “You are giving this with so much joy, let me give you a hug!”

I was so engrossed in looking at all the handicrafts that I lost track of the minutes slipping by. However, Aliya and her friends were quite patient and generous with their time. After the meal at Habibi and a round of photographs for keepsake, they bid me goodbye, and left me with a lovely flower vase and a postcard that said, “Thank you, Chintan! Hope to see you in Pakistan again. With Love, Team Catalyst.” I hope for the same.

Aaghaz-e-Dosti Team: Saba, Aliya, Chintan, Anum, Imrana, Natasha and Tauqeer

Aaghaz-e-Dosti Team: Saba, Aliya, Chintan, Anum, Imrana, Natasha and Tauqeer

Chintan Girish Modi is an independent educator, writer and researcher based in Mumbai. He was in Pakistan for the Children’s Literature Festival Lahore 2013, and also made a short trip to Islamabad during his stay.

Indo-Pak Relations: Bright Eyes,With Colors Of Love and Peace

by Ravi Nitesh


She was a very young student who narrated some lines of love and peace and extended her love towards the neighbor country named India. In her lines, she imagined a tour to the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort and also meeting and befriending some Indians. After coming back to India, during my formal and informal experience sharing, I happened to interact with a person who worked for Indo-Pak peace through letter exchange programs among school students. In his experience, he narrated an incident when a son of a police officer from Karachi informed his father that he is writing a letter to an unknown Indian friend. To this, his father remarked, “you must write, the mistake that our generation did, you must not.”

There are a lot of examples when we try to find innocent and pure hearts, still unaffected by the mindless and dirty politics. These young minds are the future of our countries. These young minds must know the importance of humanity, fraternity, love and peace, not only among their society but also during inter-societal communications. As some bad examples of the immature minds, a student of graduation posted his Facebook status that “people should not work towards friendship with Pakistan”. He further added that, “they must work and see towards problems of their own country and not to go and extend support with neighbor”. Statement received some comments including the one that says ‘’all these people who are working towards Indo-Pak peace must be sent to Karachi in trucks.”

These examples show that there are minds that have become corrupt because they are misinformed. Surely, these statements are neither logical, nor acceptable but I am sure that there are the people on both sides of border who think like this. It is surprising, isn’t it? These people who are supposedly passed out from schools and colleges can become a threat to peace.

These examples should not disillusion us but should push us more towards working on these peace processes. We must know that shaping young minds must be a priority as values of love and peace that will be received in younger age, will be in memory and will reflect in thoughts and work of these students even when they will become mature.
We must know that maturity is not an attribute of age. We must know that maturity without feelings, maturity without values of peace and love has no use. We must understand that a society can become harmonious only through peace and by spreading love within and outside of it.

In view of the younger minds and hearts, we must work towards these bright and colorful eyes that can change the whole scenario, whose hearts and minds are full of love and feelings. These students, in their present age, are so fascinated with concept of humanity that their hearts are pure and full of love, their minds act regardless of any favor towards religion, caste, race, gender, region etc that we can say that these children, young minds truly reflect the concepts of equality, freedom, secularism etc as they are unknown to political use of these sociological terminology.

Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and is a founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti 

Relax Visa: Move Towards Friendship

by Ravi Nitesh

….And it was so nice to hear, the dream of this student… “I want to travel to India.” He had expressed it in a general talk during an informal discussion about the neighbor country.


I met him during my recent visit to Lahore to attend a convention held on Relaxing Visa and what other pure, simple and natural desire could highlight the need of relaxing visa? This dream clearly depicts a major crack in the wall of Indo-Pak relations. In fact, it shouldn’t be a dream for anyone, it must be there as an obvious thing, as a right to get.We must appreciate the work of Governments and civil societies of both sides for their meetings and initiatives that have ultimately brought a positive result in terms of visa relaxation. Though this move must be welcomed by all, there is still an ample scope and a need for further amendment.A Question always come in my mind that why our dreams are slaves of our governments? In pre-independence scenario, the whole region was one while after the two countries emerged, we could not make a comfortable relation even after 65 years? Whose fault is this?

In fact, in present scenario, there are strong reasons to say that the enriching Indo-Pak relation is not only good for both countries, but it will also affect other geo-political scenarios as well in positive ways. South Asia will become undoubtedly strong with a better confidence building and peace keeping approach. There are many things in which we have to look to maintain and to enrich this bilateral relation. Among these, the one of ‘Relaxing Visa’ obviously must be preferred, as this will be the respect of people’s wish. For a real confidence building, governments of both the countries must know that it is only people of both the countries for whom and from whom the governments are in existence, and without recognizing the wish of their real makers (the public), the role of governments will be incomplete.

There is an urgent need for rethinking on present attitude of visa approvals and to make it relaxed for granting visa. New visa policy presented some relaxation but still it is not as per the requirement. People too should start demanding the same in peaceful ways as they all have rights to do so. Defining political boundaries doesn’t mean that boundaries will be imposed on hearts. Many people are trying to bring it in government’s priority to pay attention towards liberalized visa rules.

In a notable ‘Relax Visa Campaign’ of an organization in Pakistan, more than 85,000 persons signed to favor the relax visa. This number clearly shows the people’s desire. It is a common fact that our roots are same, our feelings are same and even our lifestyles are same. It is a fact that whenever anyone goes to border to see off a friend, they both weep together. It is a fact that whenever common people of both the countries meet each other they both smile and greet each other as equals. Can we realize ever that how we both are living in exile?

As for where the government and political issues are concerned, it is well known that governments and political parties of not only these countries but of most of the countries of this world, work only to get vote and try to make things that can polarize the voters. With this fact, we all must understand that government will not do everything. Signature campaigns and other democratic ways of making demands by people are there to let the government understand the view of people and then to make decisions. That is why the collective effort is required from all sides. It is us who can make the real change. Issuing visa is a thing that can bring the real happiness on people’s faces.

There are so many reasons that make it necessary. We all are aware with history, divided families, relations, friendships etc. As a human being, it is our natural right to move anywhere; however this natural right is restricted by political boundaries. Governments must understand that political boundaries must act only to provide facilities, security, living standard etc. and not here to impose boundaries on emotions and desire. We, the people of India and Pakistan, must believe that even if our governments are unable to understand and to follow our wishes, the day will come when governments will work for the people’s wish.

We all will demand till then, we all will wait till then.

Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and is a founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti 

India-Pakistan: Conquering Hatred

by Vidya Bhushan Rawat (India)


The biggest casualty of the Indo-Pakistan war mongering jingoism is the community of people who believe in people to people dialogue and have mutual admiration for art, culture and sports. Even when there is so much of air of distrust between the government, it need to be understood that Pakistan has not yet matured as democracy and its government continue to function under the watchful eyes of powerful military. The military get strength from being the most ‘efficient’ and ‘uncorrupted’ institution in Pakistan but the fact is that to get continuous legitimacy of political interventions, it is essential for it, to discredit the political class as a whole and therefore find a route to stage a well-orchestrated coup.

Many of us feel proud for our track record as a ‘democratic’ country amidst our neighbors who have mostly been suppressed by the military dictators or old religious thugs pretending to have God’s blessings to lord over them. Pakistan was a country build up on the dreams of a secular idea by M.A.Jinnah yet the man could not see it grow and today it is a shattered nation completely in the grip of those who devalue their own father of nation. Today’s Pakistan is not a country what Jinnah visualized but a country where the forces of jingoism and fanaticism rules despite being ‘extra-state’ actors. It is these forces who are now becoming extraordinarily powerful in our countries as they have developed bullying tactics to get their thing done and get away with everything particularly if they happen to ‘represent’ the ‘majority’ communities.

Hence it was very difficult for the government of India to touch Bal Thackarey despite all his unconstitutional rhetoric as well as the violent activities which resulted out of his hate speeches and writings. Narendra Modi or Uma Bharati to Kalyan Singh, all ‘respected’ leaders of their party and future aspirants for various power positions of India yet we have no apologies about them and their action. Actually, state does not act except move slowly and by the time their issues come for justice, they are mostly no more. So, no political leader in India has got any punishment for spreading hatred on communal and caste lines. Hence when Owaisi is arrested his supporters cite example of Modi and Thackrey. Subsequently, when the Hindutva leaders are caught they will careful take up one two such cases where government has not acted and these issues become complimentary for political outfits using religion for their own purposes. The Hindutva hate mongers may not be in the ‘most wanted’ list of they are not ‘wanted’ internationally but definitely in the court of law they used the law for their own purposes. Then there are other members of the Parivar who have always used such tactics to intimidate the Muslims and Christians in the country. In Pakistan, these extra-state actors play dubious role of supporting Taliban in Afghanistan as well as linking the cause of Kashmir to Islamic revivalism in the valley. These extra state actors have full support from those in power because they speak the language which the power elite feel constrained to talk about and covertly support through various mechanism.

India and Pakistan are two unequal neighbors. Despite everything, historically too, India will remain an elder brother and there is nothing wrong in being elder except behaving elderly too is important for both of us. Circumstances have not made Pakistan a plural democratic political system like India but that cannot erase our common heritage that we have worked and build up in so many thousands years. We are different countries and societies just because of a law that separated us which is just 65 years old but our civilization is much older than the British Empire came here. How can the two people with same language, culture, idea are divided. Pakistan is not able to develop its democratic institutions strongly but my problem is with those who claim we have ‘better’ democracy. If Hina Rabbani Khar does not know how to speak as a foreign minister then one can understand very well that she does not come from a political background but Sushma Swaraj and her party’s political understanding and struggle should have made their reaction more mature and political rather than being simply jingoistic.

It is humiliating when our political class, intellectuals, media all jump in for closing every relationship with Pakistan. Why should you deny me listening to Ghulam Ali or why should Pakistanis not listen to Mohammdad Rafi or Lata Mangeskar. Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Arundhati Roy, Faiz Ahemed Faiz, Firakh, Sahir, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Kaifi Azmi, Ali Sardar Jafari and the list is long are not confined to our boundaries but have transcended them. In the most oppressing moments of history, art, culture and sports have always united people.

It does not humiliate a Pakistan player when he is asked to leave from India as our officials say that we do not want to play with an ‘enemy’. It is insulting that the Indian state is not able to provide protection to their guests who represent their country but not necessarily support every political and military thought of their nation. How can you call a player an enemy? Can we call a competition between Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali a war between the two countries or is it a treat to listen to both of them. How can I call Faiz Ahmed Faiz or a player like Waseem Akram my enemy. For that matter, how can Faiz be put in the category of the hate mongers like Tahir Qadri. How can Sushma Swaraj and like her become voice of India?

It is the game that media has played to serve their own internal purposes and strengthened to boost some of those who enjoy and make money on the martyrdom of others. The media uses the deaths for their own marketing purposes and celebrate them. When soldiers die, we are filling their homes with money and other support but if he return home undead, serving the nation for over 35 years, he does not get that much of money. The capitalist media glorifies deaths and link it to ‘valor’. In today’s 24 hour TV world, it is the best ‘activity’ to boost our TRPs and hence every anchor become a ‘rabid rabble rouser’, much more dangerous than Owaisis and Qadris as they want to push words in the mouth of people and use them according to their own convenience. The world is not threatened by these loudmouths like Qadris, Owaisis or Thackarays, as they are part of ‘State apparatus’ who only speak the language the powerful state want them to speak and if they have out lived their utility then an action is taken but it is only done when the state realize that their presence and association with it is counter-productive and politically detrimental.

As an Indian it is shameful for me to hear that attempt are being made to send artists, writers, journalists and sports persons back to Pakistan simply in the name of their being ‘unwanted’. Even in the height of mistrust, it is these voices of dissent and of love and affection that open the small window of peace and togetherness. One must remember that those who make the biggest noise about nationalism are the most dangerous species as they are least ready to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the people. They only enjoy the sacrifices of others and use every moment of a brave man’s life for his nation, as politics of their parties. It is time that people to people contact must not be allowed to submit to such fascist nationalist forces whose only interest is to keep people subjugated.

The people of Pakistan who want friendship with India and vice versa cannot be victimized because their political class is pushing the countries to war. It is only important for us to remember that war has never ever resulted in any solution to any issue and it will only bring disasters and catastrophe in the region. It is more insulting for us as Indian if our hearts are not bigger in welcoming those people who we love to watch playing on the ground and listen live or on our TV studios and films. It is time, we learn that at the end of the day, we have to live in the same world and a war will never make it better and will keep us in perpetual hatred. Millions of people who love each other’s and have relations and are just divided because of ‘nationhood’ would be denied the basic human rights by this thin dividing line. Can we allow this and remain in perpetual war so that our generations do not grow and suffer in hunger and malnutrition further. An eye for an eye is never a solution and we need not only mature political diplomacy to handle such crisis but stronger people to people contact so that war mongers and their hate cries are defeated forever.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist from India

Launch of “Calendar for Peace and Love” and sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence

Calendar for Peace and Love

Aaghaz-e Dosti

The mission is to create unwavering bonds of peace, love and trust between the two countries. This path is riddled with several difficulties. But we should be determined to move towards our goals. We have to remind ourselves constantly that peace and friendship is not just what we desire and must have but the people on the other side also have the same desire.

For this, we have launched a calendar which we call “Calendar for Peace and Love” which would remind us every day about our goals. This calendar will serve as a hope shared by people on both sides of the border. With the turn of the pages to start a new month, the hope shall be renewed.

Under our initiative, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, we have launched Calendar for Peace and Love wherein we had planned a calendar with paintings from youth of both countries. The calendar also has messages from some known people who have been striving for these goals for years. We decided to incorporate their messages as blessings for our journey.

For this event, Mission Bhartiyam had collaborated with two organisations from Pakistan – Centre for Youth Development Activities (CYDA) and Imov Humans.

Launch of Calendar for Peace and Love and sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence 

On 27th January, we plan to launch the “Calendar for Peace and Love”. This will be followed by a discussion or a sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence.

 For the discussion, we will be inviting people to share their experiences and thoughts. The main speakers will include people who have been working for strengthening the Indo-Pak ties, those who have been to Pakistan and some students from Pakistan who have been studying here. Besides them, the discussion is open to anyone.

In this event, we will be inviting the participants from Delhi whose paintings have been selected. We will give them the calendar and the joint certificate. 

The details of the programme are:

 Date: 27th January 2012

 Time: 6:00-8:30 PM

 Venue: Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi 

To be a part of the launch and discussion, drop us a mail at or call at 9958907799 (Ravi Nitesh)

We will send you the official invite.

Facebook event

Statement of condemnation of clash on Indo-pak border by peace activists

Statement by Aaghaz-e-Dosti and some peace activists on the recent case of “violation of ceasefire”

 “We condemn any violation of ceasefire. We condemn acts of security forces who had crossed LoC. It is reported that two indian soldiers and (prior to that) one pakistani soldier were killed. It is also true that all these incidents used to happen whenever both the nations try to establish friendly relationship and that is why the people’s role become more important in spreading message of peace and love. If you believe in people’s power, you must believe that people will achieve their objective and that is towards love and humanity.”

You also know that any soldier who has been killed like this, or even in war, does not know the reasons of war and how all these things are politically framed to get political benefits of government(s).

 You also know that killing of any life is equally disturbing regardless of persons’s identity on the basis of gender/religion/region/nationality. We are sure that you know that you can (should) oppose the government(s) and not the people. We are sure that you can (should) kill the ill mentality of government(s) and not its people.

 We are sure that like us, you too give respect to a soldier, like a soldier and as a human being. We are sure that you know that killed soldiers have not taken their decision for violating any ceasefire or for firing upon each other, it was the ‘order’ that received to them. We are sure that their families are equally disturbed and crying upon their deaths no matter they were Indian or Pakistanis.

 Taken birth in India or in Pakistan must not decide that we are enemies, it is us who should and who must decide how we will treat each other. We, the people of India and Pakistan must come forward to express our concern on all these and we, together must spread the message of peace and love for each other, to let the hate/attacks down and it is only possible when we will trust each other and will move together.

We also urge with government(s) to let the truth come before the public and to register protest on global platform. We also request to media, to bring and to get the possible solutions to bring the truth.  

We share some lines of Roshan Romani:







Aaghaz-e-Dosti had also asked some eminent people to give their view on recent clash and some of these are given here:

Prithvi Sharma from India Friends Association stated:

First of all, it is difficult to know the facts given such high levels of tension and secrecy. We can only rely on the media and the government, neither of which are particularly reliable under such circumstances. I am a pacifist, so I condemn all violence no matter in whose name it is committed. However, it has become the dominant myth of our times that all our evils result from bad politicians. I disagree. It absolves us of all responsibility. People carry hate and prejudice. Yes, the vested interests, be it the politicians or other wielders of power, do exploit. But they won’t be able to do this if people did not participate.

I also do not believe that being a soldier automatically confers a level of integrity on any one. The world history is replete with horrific deeds committed by soldiers. Such acts are committed voluntarily as often as they are committed under pressure from superiors. At the same time, I do not see soldiers any worse than the rest of us. It is the situation that they are put in that makes them do what they do. A soldier’s job is to kill. By definition he has to kill or be killed. In spite of the myth that we tend to build around our warriors, even under the best of circumstances, they are just like the rest of us, trying to do a job under extremely difficult circumstances, arguably far more difficult than faced by most of us. And most of them do perform their task with courage and integrity. It is however, when they are put in to situations (such as in Kashmir) where their mission is poorly defined and widely opposed that we get in to difficulty. I don’t suppose it is any different for those on the opposite side of the border. So, you can say that the real culprits are the political bosses, military commanders and other powers that be but that only tells half of the story.

India and Pakistan are two countries. For better or worse, the people in Pakistan made their choice. That can’t be reversed. There is every reason that we should live as good neighbors with respect and goodwill towards each other. We must strive for that. What to do? Certainly, we should support the soldiers and their families. We should express our support for the continuation of dialogue between the two countries. If there are forces that are trying to derail the process, the best way to disarm them is to not react to their provocation. Besides that, I want to paraphrase Gandhiji who, when asked as to how a Christian can be a good Hindu, said that by becoming a good Christian. Or something like that. We must get our house in order, work for a just, free and democratic society in India. That is the best way to be friends with our neighbors in Pakistan.

Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of India & Social Activist told Aaghaz-e-Dosti volunteers:

 Of course, we should agree for a UN inquiry into the matter. What other option is there when Pakistan is denying their role in the incident. In such matters, it is important to involve the UN and avoid the nationalistic jingoism that we are seeing in the media.

Though mutual talk is the best solution, but if the two nations disagree so violently, it is best to involve the UN. Otherwise the jingoism being promoted by the media can lead to a dangerous situation.

Dipak Dholakia, Gandhian Activist

Indo Pak tension must get a permanent solution and Kashmir has to play the role in this.

Sagar Rabari, Social Activist from Ahemdabad

 I don’t see any role for third party inquiry in this border violence, UN’s record is not straight so far as disputes are concerned.

 Secondly, on border, such incidents happens when peace process gets momentum, because there so many forces in both the country who are not happy with the peace process and they do want to derail it. Government has to register protests and also fix the dates for next meeting for dialogue and sports, cultural activity also.

 In our country, many things are driven by emotions, to pass a law without proper thinking of its misuses or to solve border issues cannot be done by emotions, it requires lot profound thinking of all the facets of issue.

People on both side should be vigilant on respective governments and also proceed forward with optimism, ultimately truth and peace will prevail.

Kiran Shaheen, Social Activist

Indo – Pak tension is an easy target for both the governments to divert the immediate concerns. We have witnessed this several times. 

 Issued by,

 Aaghaz-e-dosti (Peace and Friendship initiative between India and Pakistan) |

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An Evening in Liberty : Lahore Memoirs

by Ravi Nitesh

‘So you are from Karachi?’ the shopkeeper asked while I with other friends was roaming in Lahore and my friends Owais & Abbas told him that I came from outside Lahore. This one statement itself reveals the fact that yes we are alike.

In fact, the relation of a country with other , though ideally (should be) depends on desire of people, but unfortunately, in India and Pakistan, even though a most required and most felt desire of people to meet each other, governments are the only entities that are deciding the relations regardless of people’s emotions.

India and Pakistan are the countries who are more famous for their mutual hate than any mutual progress and love. In contrast, Indians and Pakistanis are the people of two countries who extend their love and supports towards each other whenever they meet. In spite of all unfortunate incidents such as wars and all imposed misunderstandings , still we , the Indians and Pakistanis, together build a region that shares almost same culture, same people, same thoughts etc. In most of the cases, we are alike. In fact, India is more diverse in terms of its states where we have different languages, different culture and different people, while on other hand, across the border, we share a common culture with our neighbor. These things are not just part of facts, but these are the part of life, part of emotions and above all its about pain. Yes, the pain with that we both are suffering. Why not we are allowed to meet frequently with each other? What restrict us? The simple answer is Government policy. And the joke is that, this policy exists on the name of security. So we can say that it is government policy that will decide and authorize us to meet and to visit a place or person. Is it the real thing that we mean of being civilized? Was the natural flow of people not the desire and need of humanity?

As an Indian in Pakistan, you always feel the special gesture you received by them (the Pakistanis). These special gesture was experienced by two Indian delegates who just as a look of nearby tea stall , went for a tea and interacted with people there. One of them had a car and he offered him to give them a 15 minute free tour in his car just because they were special guest.

This country was not only similar but also friendly. We have not experienced even for a single moment that any of them behaved or looked with hate. In coming time, I hope and pray for more relaxed visa norms, for more chances to meet with each other and for more communication. It is the people to can make the real change, because they live the feelings, the pain and the memories. Government has no right to restrict the movements, and in spite of its various policies and regulations, emotions will travel because it cannot restrict.

Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti

Story of the Border: Lahore Memoirs

by Ravi Nitesh

Which country’s passport do you have?” the officer asked. “India” I replied. “You are our guest, our neighbor” told the officer with smiling face.

When we reached at Atari Border, in Pakistan side, in contrast with our perception, amazingly we didn’t see heavy deployment of armed persons in and around immigration centre. Instead, those polite officers of immigration centre welcomed us and after knowing that we came from India, they offered us cold water too. One of them , also handed over me a bottle filled with cold water and told that I should keep it for the way.

Regardless of our individual identity, we all were only Indian or Pakistanis on the borders of both sides. Our passports have been checked several times during crossing the border, intelligence units tried to ask so many things before crossing the border, however they all were very cooperative. When they knew that the visit is all about strengthening the Indo Pak relation, they became more supportive.

I can say without fear that some of them were not so generous, may be it was because of their tough training, mindsets or some practical experiences or anything else. i experienced some rude behavior of these men with/without uniforms who seems with some negativity and stress. On the other hand, some others were not only polite but also had positive hope for the future and they were willing to have a strong relations of friendship between the countries.

By this experience, it seems that its all depends on a person regardless of his country and job, to make himself aligned towards humanity. In my view, the role and responsibilities of security personals of any country is just to check on crime and thus to help in maintaining peace. If it is, then they must have filled with positive hope and energy to make their job more fruitful.

Role of these security personals are really important. These are the first people who experience the behavior of persons of both sides, and similarly these are the first persons whose behavior was experienced by the persons who crossed the borders. This first experience, in my view , must be such that we both should not be felt like stranger and feared, instead, the gesture must be friendly and polite. In practical, every outsider first meet with a common soldier and immigration officers of the country posted at borders. They are the first persons who represent the country as a whole only with their behavior.

Atari border has been developed in terms of its infrastructure and in India side, lot of renovations has been made to provide easiness to travelers. A comfortable bus service provided from Immigration centre to main gate of border (only about 500 meters). It is good to see that trade is continuing between us.Trucks were lined up on border for transporting goods across borders. I heard that crossing trucks from one country to other is not permitted and then both sides of trucks load and unload the goods to/from each other’s trucks.

It was a visit that kind of pulls me again and again to revisit. I hope and believe that we will get some sort of more relaxation on visa to get it accomplished. It will certainly be a tour to get experience of similar culture, love, emotions and feelings that, probably cannot be expressed in the form of words.

Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti

Want Peace? Talk To Your Enemy!

by Asad Wahab


“ If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies ”.

I came across two pieces of news lately, first was on 7 th January where it said Indian Army Crossed LOC and attacked a Pakistani Check post and killed one soldier and in retaliatory fire they left a gun and a dagger and went back. And a day after that, there was a news that Pakistan Army crossed LOC and attacked Indian patrolling party, and killed two soldiers. It in turns enraged the common citizens and whose anger can be vividly seen on social media from both sides of the border. 

It may look like a simple incident to our social media generation, an incident on which they feel that they should show their hatred for the other side and exchange some abuses. But unfortunately they do not know that back in the history, just a few decades ago, same small skirmishes on LOC turned into a 1965 war, luckily there were no nuclear weapons then, but today the situation is different. If these small drops of hatred keep piling up it may one day end up in a kind of situation, the immensity of whose destruction would be unfathomable! 

The reason why I am writing is because I want people from both sides to realize that it’s time to find solutions. I am not asking to compromise on anything or sit back and join friendship group and bury your hatred for the time being, I want to spill it out once and for all and empty our minds of these hatred then try to work for a ‘Solution’ rather ignoring issues and leaving it for our generations to come. It won’t be any easy but believe me it would be worth every moment spent on it. 

The situation at the moment has ended up in a whole mess, both sides rejects reports from each other and I think it needs think tanks type of bodies or groups of individuals from both sides to sit and aggressively discuss the issues and bring out all the “ Possible Solutions ” of the issues, and then let the governments decide if there is any solution on which both governments can agree. If not there can be more brainstorming and more solutions, and thus at least we could be on out path to solutions.

What happen today is that govt. officials sit together, have tea, enjoy tours, get TA/DA funds and then go back to their respective offices after giving same old statements. The head of the governments hardly have any stakes involved in our respective countries. Manmohan Singh doesn’t give a damn, he could go to any country of his choice and enjoy the rest of his life leaving India in same mess, same is the case with President Zardari here. The bitter tuth is that, it’s me and you, our brothers and sisters that would die in these attacks and skirmishes.

Today as the young generation, we can’t even pressurize the governments properly, they have an easy excuse that they tried their best but “ koi solution nai nikla ” (Couldn’t find a solution). So may be, if someone can come up with solutions of the issues and tell the government’s k “ yeh lo possible solutions ”(take these possible solutions), and choose whichever you want but end this xyz (water, sir creek, mutual information sharing, media blame game etc) issue at least. And once we are able to do it publically, then would come the test of the honesty of governments on both sides, then only we would be able to know how sincere they actually are, to implement certain solution. We can further categorically discuss how to reach a solution within us, but before that at least we should know if there is anyone interested among common people to reach a solution?( Not to be mixed with joining some peace and harmony building group!, it literally means a solution finding group working like a think tank )

And with all that, since India and Pakistan both have nurtured two very big armies, and they always need a reason for their existence, so it’s in their mutual benefit that they keep fighting, so that there may be an excuse for their existence. Otherwise, it would be lame to feed the two giants with so much of budgets while poor’s have no clothes to wear and no food to eat and no shelter to live under!

It’s a bitter situation, but someone will have to work and think, and use their minds to find solutions. Without solutions we won’t be able to move, not even an inch! And solutions can be found, only when two groups(who cares about their people and has stakes involved in respective country) can sit together on one table with preset parameters and strictly one agenda of “figuring out all possible solutions to any given issue”. It would take a lot of time to come up with some solutions, but believe me it would be worth every moment spent on.

Unfortunately no one from both sides has considered promoting a pure cause of “FINDING SOLUTIONS”! It does not need any money to invest in; all it needs is time and intention to do so. Someone will have to stand up and tell the governments and military-industrial complex to stop betting on human lives, for it’s us who suffers. We need to do it for the sake of ourselves and the generations to come. It’s a now or never, we must keep in mind that despite all peace efforts, one single bullet from either sides can triggers the very same hatred from both sides and end up in another ugly war. And we need to give them “Solutions” to snatch their “Reason” for firing that one bullet. 

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