01/04/2010, 00.00
INDIA - PAKISTAN
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Delhi launches "Love Pakistan" campaign

by CT Nilesh
A year after the terrorist attack in Mumbai and after 62 years of wars and tensions, two newspapers in India and Pakistan are asking their readers to go beyond the cliché: "People across the border are men and women like us." Series of cultural, economic, fraternal initiatives.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - On the first of January, the World Day for Peace, the most circulated newspaper of India, The Times of India, has come out with this only message on the full cover page: “Love Pakistan”.

One year after the terrorist attack on Mumbai, (widely attributed to an organization based in Pakistan),  62 years of bitter confrontation after the partition of the subcontinent, after four wars between the two nations, it needs quite a courage to invite Indians “To Love Pakistan”.  In fact the newspaper gives an explanation :  “Feels odd to see those two words side by side, doesn’t it? Terror, hatred and fanaticism somehow sit more comfortably in our minds when we think of the other side of the border. Words that we’ve been fed in daily doses over the last six decades. And in greater doses over the last one year. Shutting our minds to the undeniable truth that people across the border are, above all, people. Like us.”

 “Why? Why must we do it? Why do we need them? Why don’t they first say sorry for what they’ve done? And the answer is simple. It is easier to say Hi than to say Sorry. It is shorter too”

The newspaper develop these motivations with a long article in second page.  This initiative had been taken simultaneously  by the two leading media houses of India and Pakistan: The Times of India and by Pakistan’s Jang Group to bring the people of the two nations closer together, culturally emotionally and peacefully.  There will be a series of cross-border cultural interactions, business seminars, music and literary festivals and citizens meets that will give the bonds of humanity a chance to survive outside the battlefields of politics, terrorism and fundamentalism.  The initiative had been launched under the name: Aman Ki Asha (Hope of Peace) An Indo-Pak Peace Project.

In the inside page of the paper a leading article  : “Peace with Pakistan: Give Tomorrow a Chance”. Says: “History is what we inherit. The future is what we want to make of it.”  “Our efforts can never supplant official government-to-government talks. What we hope to start is a movement that will gradually make its way from the periphery to the centre, a wave of goodwill that will touch the hearts and minds of people of both sides.” A calendar of events are scheduled for all the main cities of India and Pakistan along January and February. Thousand of schoolchildren across India will reach out their counterpart in Pakistan – sending messages of peace, love and harmony. 25 winners of the best messages will go on exchange visit to live in each others’ homes.

 

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