Citizen-driven movement from both the countries, to seek peace and amity, will provide "alternative narrative" to efforts being made to resolve issues between India and Pakistan, experts today said.
City-based NGO, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, today held a panel discussion on 'Reinitiating Indo-Pak Peace building Efforts', saying stereotypes connected with Pakistan need to be dismantled, if lasting peace is to be achieved.
"I am glad that such citizen's initiative are being taken to work towards peaceful bilateral ties. But, such efforts had been made in the past as well, in the 60s and 70s, like the Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy, and this very venue (India International Centre, Delhi) has hosted several meeting held in that process that involved members from both sides of the border.
"And, meeting were held in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Lahore to discuss ways to achieve peace through cultural and non-political means," said T C A Raghavan, former Ambassador of India to Pakistan.
Major General (retd) Ashok K Mehta said, people-driven movements can help, but it should not lose its aim, as it has happened in the past.
"I was part of this Forum, but I lost interest in it, as it became politicised and the members started promoting their own vested interest," he alleged.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti says it aims to build unwavering bonds of peace, love, friendship, and remove hatred and animosity that have existed since the partition.
"We are very active on social media as we realised the virtual space allows people from both the countries to interact, which is not really possible in real space," a member of the NGO said.
Rahul Jalali, former President of Press Club of India said, "such people-driven efforts should also contribute towards providing a platform for people from the media field to add meaningfully to the narrative, rather than them launching war rooms in TV studios while discussing Indo-Pak matters."
An exhibition of painting made by school students of India and Pakistan, letters exchanges under several projects of the NGO was also inaugurated.
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