SAFMA seminar calls for bringing people of India, Pakistan together
LAHORE: A seminar, titled “Revival of Pak-India Dialogue”, was held at the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) on Thursday.
Prominent Indian film director and producer, Mahesh Bhatt, former federal law minister SM Masood, Indian journalist and activist Jatin Desai and SAFMA Secretary General, Imtiaz Alam, addressed the seminar.
Speakers at the event agreed that both countries are facing identical issues.
The panelists, during the seminar, talked in different languages that included Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu with the aim of removing distances between the citizens of both the countries. The Indian speakers at the seminar mutually agreed that “they felt completely at home in Pakistan”. However, they said the main challenge was to eliminate barriers between citizens of both the countries. “It was imperative to settle differences between India and Pakistan by resuming composite dialogue, which had been stalled since the Mumbai attacks in 2008,” said Desai, adding, “It was the prime responsibility of youth to promote peace and harmony between the two rival states.” While addressing the audience, Masood said that he himself was born in India but later came to Pakistan, his parents’ graves also being located in India. He said, “South Asia is one of the most volatile regions of the world as there are certain elements whose only aim is to create conflicts between people.” He added that no progress is possible without peace and only youth of both the countries can bring this progress. “The trend is not going to reverse itself, however, the youth can bring about a positive change,” he commented.
Mahesh Bhatt said that we live in dangerous times and need a collective regional response to terrorism, adding that the medium of cinema was one strong way of bringing people together to battle the menace. He further said that after the Mumbai terror attacks, the film industry had suffered immensely since artists from both the countries were not allowed to travel across the border. He said that after the 26/11 attacks, there was bitterness on both sides, which halted the composite dialogue initiated for peace between the countries. SAFMA Secretary General, Imtiaz Alam, said that after a prolonged standoff between India and Pakistan, the ice is seemingly melting, even though the causes behind the animosity and conflict continue to persist.
Source: Daily Times