By TCN News,
New Delhi: On 27th September, a delegation of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an initiative of indo-Pak friendship, met a six-member delegation of MPAs and activists from Pakistan. They were on a visit on the invitation of BBPPF (Bharat Bangladesh Pakistan Peoples Forum) to enhance peaceful relations with India through a people-centric approach. They had their sessions in Kolkata and were on their way back via Delhi.
The delegation from Pakistan included Mr. Chaudhary Amjad, Member of Provincial Assembly (Punjab) from Pakistan Muslim League (N), Md. Mian Rafiq, Member of Provincial Assembly (Punjab) from Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Tri-national Committee member of BBPPF, Mr. Fanous Gojar, Chairperson of Awami Workers Party (Pakistan), Mr. Shakeel Ahmad, President, Awami Workers Party (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) and President of BBPPF Pakistan Chapter, Mr. Umar Zada, Social Activist and affiliated with Government Postgraduate College and a young student from Peshawar, Mr. Saifullah.
However, contrary to what one can expect and predict by looking at the profiles of the members, the session, conducted entirely in Hindi/Urdu, was very far from being formal. Another fact to add to the astonishment is that the meeting was hastily arranged as the delegation had a sudden change in plan and were to leave early in the morning, next day but despite this and with many other people waiting, the delegation spent more than two hours with the youth delegation of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. The Aaghaz-e-Dosti delegation included Ravi Nitesh, Devika Mittal, V Arun Kumar, Haseeb Mustafa Alvi and Subhi Dupur, who were all either students or young professionals.
The reason was stated not just by one but all of the members. It was that they believed that seeds of peace and friendship now lies with the youth.
Umar Zada, who is a social activist and affiliated with Govt Post Graduate College, Timarpar , Pakistan, remarked that, “In these 66 years after independence, those who had witnessed the pain of separation, have either died or are very old now and that is why the responsibility to move ahead falls on the shoulder of youths, people like you. It is very much required to sensitize the youths about the need to build up relations for love and being together.” He said that their journey would not have been completed if they would not have talked to the youths here and so it is today when he feels happy to see the delegation of Aaghaz-e-Dosti that is working towards spreading peace and enhancing relations with India and Pakistan.
This was also re-iterated by other members of the delegation. The interaction had revolved around many issues ranging from the current situation and the need for peace to the situation of left politics in Pakistan.
Shakeel Ahmed, President of Awami Workers Party (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) and President of Pakistan Chapter of BBPPF, spoke on a variety of issues. He expressed his concern that there are so many things that are required to change between the countries through the governments. He talked about the need to establish people-to-people connections and the ways through which it can be achieved. He mentioned the discouraging phone call rates for India in Pakistan (and vice versa) and the unavailability of any good scheme. He also mentioned the high postal rates. He remarked, “It is ironic that we need to spent almost 8 to 10 times higher the amount to talk or to send couriers to our brother(India) than to countries which are thousands of miles away.
He shared that he is witnessing the deep roots of love between the people of both countries. He highlighted the popularity of Bollywood and Bollywood stars. He described that when they had celebrated the birthday of Dilip Kumar in his paternal home in Pakistan, it was joined by many Pakistanis.
As for the current situation, he posed a question to the delegation, “Do you know why these attacks are happening? Do you why they are happening at this time”? He remarked, “The common people want the relations to be strong but there are still some elements on both sides who do not wish this”. He also requested to Indians that any such thing that try to hurt India and that seems to oppose any peace process, must not be seen as a thing supported by people. These unfortunate things are in fact opposite to the desire of Pakistanis and work and with the motive to derail the peace process and therefore it becomes quite necessary to continue with the dialogues and peace process without any fear.
They had also shared their desires and experiences. Chaudhary Amjad, a member of provincial assembly, Punjab from PML(N) shared that he is more happy this time as he did not come on an official visit as a Government guest. This time, he is not bounded by protocols and restrictions and so has tried to look India with free thoughts. He shared his experience of a rickshaw ride in Old Delhi. He was happy to see the striking similarities between old delhi and Pakistani cities.
Fanous Gojar, chairperson of Awami Workers Party, Pakistan told us that it was his second visit to India and he desperately wants to go to Lucknow when he comes next time. It is because, during his time in a prison in Karachi, there were many who belonged to Lucknow. So he had developed the desire to visit Lucknow.
The delegation also had a shy 8 year old who was here to be nurtured for peace and love between India and Pakistan.
The delegation had also invited Aaghaz-e-Dosti delegation members to Pakistan and expressed their solidarity and support. They also gave their messages of support for the initiative. The videos will be available on the youtube channel of Aaghaz-e-Dosti.