Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Introductory passage is provided by this website and may not represent the views of the archived document's author.
BACK

Search the Republic of Rumi

The Role Of Civil Society in Pakistan and India

Introductory
Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4
Closing & Thanks
Notes on Speakers

Archives

Civil Society in India and Pakistan, 4

Based on the procedings of the seminar "The Role Of Civil Society in Pakistan and India:
Peace, Conflict Resolution, Democracy" by Jang Group of Newspapers (Pakistan) & Friedrich/Naumann Foundation (Germany), September 12-13, 1997 at Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi.

Text edited by Khurram Ali Shafique and Farida Z. Hemani


Session 4

Information dissemination and
popular culture

with special emphasis on market economy as an instrument of conflict resolution; parallel channels; role of economic and business community as a stake holder in India/Pakistan dialogue


Khorakiwala
Khaled Ahmed
Poonam Barua
Dr. Haroon Ahmed
Dr. Navnita Chedha Behera
Kaiser Bengali
Dr. Rainer Adams
Discussion

Mr. Khorakiwala (Pakistan)

Quotes from the speaker

Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards.

A man cannot touch his neighbour’s heart with anything less than his own.

Man’s greatest blunder has been trying to make peace with the skies instead of making peace with his neighbours.

We are not only neighbours geographically but neighbours as far as statistics of economic development are concerned, also.

Three subsequent wars have only added to the stars of partition.

Neither India of today is what Mahatma Gandhi dreamt of, neither Pakistan what Quaid-e-Azam dreamt of.

We have to empower people at the village level to speak up and unless we do that politicians will have their own agenda.

The budget allocation that we have for defence, both in India and Pakistan, is at the cost of the common man.

Mr. Khorakiwala pointed out that the "market" and the business community of both the counties can play a substantial role in improving the ties between the two neighbour counties. "It’s the market economy that we have to look forward to because business of business is business."

During the entire length of his speech, he supported his progressive viewpoint of the two countries forgetting their past differences and working towards the common goal of uplifting the socio-eonomic state of its common people.

He presented a comparison of the economic parameters and statistics of India and Pakistan viz. a viz. eleven other countries developing countries of the South Asian region including Philipines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam etc.

The analysis shows that both India and Pakistan are very similar in terms of statistics of economic order. With Pakistan having $440 GNP/capita and 12.2% inflation and India having $310 GNP/capita and 8.2%, they rank 7th and 8th, respectively in the 11-nation comparison. India, however, is better off in terms of their literacy rate and child mortality compared to Pakistan. However, compared to other countries of the block, both the nations are pretty far behind. The speaker emphasised the need for understanding the real causes of the low levels of our economies as we both have abundant and excellent human resources.

PAKISTAN INDIA
$ GNP per capita 440 310
Inflation 12.2 % 8.2 %
Life expectancy 62 yrs 61 yrs
Literacy rate 35 % 52 %
Child mortality under 5 yrs 137 124
Human development Index 0.393 0.382

The speaker also pointed out that we have essentially the same culture and if we are serious about peace, we should rely less on arms and more on heads. "We have lived together for centuries, we are people of the same stock. Why allow 50 years of partition to divide us and mistrust each other’s intention?"

In this regard, he urged the civil society, comprising of non-political people to come together as a powerful institution in order to (a) create public opinion, (b) ensure that the politicians govern well, and (c) act as a pressure group.

Remarking on the co-ordination and exchange of information, facts and data banks among the NGOs in Sindh and Punjab, he regretted that such a co-operation does not exist among the NGOs in India and they’ve certainly leant an important lesson today.

He also acknowledged the role of dirty politics, played by the politicians on both sides of the border, which has deepened the divide in the name of religion. Since he was the Sheriff of Bombay during the time that Babri mosque riots took place, he spoke from his experiences. His observation has been that the Indian politicians don’t understand their Muslim electorate well. He said that the Indian politicians were surprised to learn in a meeting of religious leader, following the riots, when he informed them about the injunction of Hub-ul-Watan min al Imaan which means that a Muslim’s faith is incomplete without patriotism for his homeland. Thus, he concluded that a colossal misunderstanding and misinformation is also responsible for this ethnic divide. Yet, he says that he wouldn’t blame the politicians for that as it is also the responsibility of the Muslims in India to inform their Indian colleagues about what Islam is and what it really means.

However, making this point of bridging the information lag, he moved towards presenting his viewpoint of means to resolving the conflict. Coming from a business background, he feels that in the past, economy has been driven by politics. However, in the present post-liberalisation era, it is time that politics be economy driven. There should be effective partnerships between the governments and the businesses of the two countries and within the countries themselves.

In this regard, he also pointed out the commonality of vested interests of these two entities (i.e. government and businesses) and that this vested interest is not necessarily a bad thing. The politicians want to remain in power and want to be re-elected and for that they work towards eliminating literacy, poverty and improving health and education standards. When this is successfully achieved, the economic standing of the common man is improved and he acquires extra purchasing power, which translates into greater profits for the businesses. Therefore, this inter-connection should be exploited for the benefit of the common man.

He also addressed the issue of Kashmir, which is perceived by many as a roadblock in improving the estranged relations between the two counties. The respected speaker was of the view to let the Kashmir issue be simultaneously resolved. That we need to stop treating Kashmir as a piece of real estate that needs to be bargained upon and that the people of Kashmir should be given the choice to decide their own future.

Therefore, by not allowing the Kashmir issue to hinder effective resolution of the conflict, Mr. Khorakiwala suggested that visa restrictions between the countries should be relaxed and there should be a free movement of goods and people to boost trade. Also, whatever is allowed to be imported from other countries should be allowed to be imported from within our two countries. The consumer in Pakistan has to pay a much higher price for a good of Indian origin that is imported into Pakistan from Dubai or Singapore and vice versa. If free trade is allowed, the people of both the countries will benefit.


Khaled Ahmed (Pakistan)

Quotes from the speaker

Free market is terrible for both India and Pakistan. It’s going to be very destructive. But both countries will have to decide what they want to keep. Is their nationalism worth keeping? Is their indoctrination, stereotyping of each other worth keeping?

And we have a Prime Minister who is a businessman, who will deregulate the economy, will privatise the economy, who will make us face the true economic reality of Pakistan and there will be suffering in that... labour will be exploited.

But India is willing to buy this expensive power which means that India in the times to come will have the same rates, at which it will sell electricity, as us. Otherwise, India will have load shedding.

We think that if we trade with India, the disputes will be forgotten and we will have to actually pull down our army budgets. If we pull down our army budgets, we will not be able to fight over the disputes that are outstanding between us.

And we are both vying for the same money . India and Pakistan are looking for these foreign funds floating around the world which cannot be invested in home countries because the costs are too high.

It also means that external finance will look at the conditions and those conditions may actually force you to change your religious attitudes. That is what the free market is going to destroy.

Journalism is a private sector thing. If I get my advertisements from the government, I am no longer free.

Prejudice will not go away because, somehow, we have not intellectually improved. I don’t think we will improve intellectually. I think the free trade market will force us to be careful.

Mr. Khaled Ahmed focused on the various aspects of privatisation and globalisation and its implications for both Pakistan and India. Free free trade between the two countries, as well as trade brought about by various treaties of SAARC and external finance provided by western agencies, was identified by him as one of the areas of special interest in this regard.

Mr. Ahmed observed that a strong state sector seems to be an ideological reality, that has been laboriously and gradually nurtured in India. In Pakistan, however, it was brought about by nationalisation – and therefore pretty weak to begin with – and never flourished to acquire a strong stature. Both the countries are now faced with the global trend to de-regulate and privatise. Although, Pakistan has embraced this economic reality facing the rest of the world, including ex-socialist powers like Russia and China, India is still going through its moments of hesitation and still has a long way to go in creating an even playing field. "The external aspect of free market is globalisation. That you don’t only create an even playing field within your own economy. Remove the subsidies, privatise the state sector organisations and allow the private sector to flourish as it should flourish."

While state sectors have their own sets of problems such as limits to growth, proliferation of bureaucracy i.e. too many bureaucrats interfering in the affairs of the entrepreneurs with unnecessary formalities like the permit system, globalisation is not without its sets of problems. Globalisation aspect bothers us all alike and that can be witnessed from the number of complaints that have gone to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). "If you look at the complaints that have gone to WTO, you will find that third world countries have complained more often against the third world countries and not against the commanding, bigger economies of the world"

Pakistan had to live with the perpetual fear of military coup for most of its life because it had a large state sector and hence it was very easy for the military to take over – a fear that is prevalent no more since the army has lost its interests following the huge losses incurred by the state sector. Although India had a very large state sector, it was also accompanied by a healthy private sector and a strong, free press and, therefore, never had to live with this kind of fear.

Both the countries have not yet been able to improve their trade ties and when one looks at it closely, the reason is more political than economic on both the sides. "I do not think reasons behind objections to trading with India are genuine. I think they are more political. The Pakistani mind is a very militarised mind. It concentrates very much on the disputes and jurisprudence of war between the two countries. Let me put it this way. Whereas in Europe or anywhere else in the world, war is considered an obstacle to trade, we consider trade as an obstacle to the prosecution of war." On the other hand, India may be wanting to trade with Pakistan but with the same sneaky political agenda in mind. "India wants trade with Pakistan because it thinks that the disputes will be forgotten. India is the status quo power and it doesn’t want to resolve these disputes". Since Pakistan is not the status quo power, its reluctance for trade with India is understandable.

India exerts a tremendous influence in the region due to it’s economic prowess. It makes 87% of value added in South Asia and comprises of 75-77% population in the region. It has, however, not emerged as a benign trading partner due to lack of concessions on its part. There exists a lot of uneven playing field in the form of subsidies provided by the Indian Government that give India an unfair advantage compared to other nations in the region. This unfair advantage is accentuated by cheaper labour and electricity. A case in point is the politically motivated kerosene subsidy which hurts Pakistan. "The subsidy is equal to our budget gap. The planned deficit of Pakistan is equal only to the kerosene subsidy in India" However, the speaker is of the view that these "uneven playing field" will hurt India eventually and they will have to do away with these subsidies. Pakistan has suffered a power crisis and India will follow. It, too, will have to enter expensive contracts with international companies and when that happens the difference in power rates across the border, and the accompanying unfair edge, will cease.

Both India and Pakistan, because of the state of their economies, require external finance especially to bring about privatisation. This money that enters their respective countries will exert certain pressures on both the countries trading practices and inefficiencies and unevenness’ will definitely will have to be done away with. The subsidies will have to go including subsidies like child labour in our region which has met with a extensive western media disapproval. "All these unevenness’ will have to go because there is no free lunch for either India nor for Pakistan"

The rise of the Private Sector can also improve freedom of the press on both sides by reducing the press’s dependence on government’s for advertisements. Although, it will not get rid of prejudices, it will at least make our opinions, about one another, more tolerable.

Mr. Khaled concluded with the proposition: "We don’t have opinions. We have prejudices. I don’t think those will be removed but I don’ t think those attitudes are worth keeping. Let me tell you, honestly, that I don’t see anything in India and Pakistan worth keeping. So why not allow this destructive thing called free trade to come in and sort us out?"


Poonam Barua (India)

Quotes from the speaker

Greater public information and knowledge are contributing to the pressures for the government to perform on both sides. The people of India and Pakistan are becoming overwhelmingly aware of the social opportunities and economic development in other countries and the complete lack of it or slow driving of it in their own countries.

Policy making and internal discourse on foreign policy matters has traditionally been the domain of civil bureaucracy and politicians and to some extent the military in Pakistan.

Ms. Poonam Barua elaborated on the critical role that the business community can play in the India/Pakistan peace resolution process along with the other elements such as civil society, media etc. "The media and civil society has only been tangentially related so far to this process, if at all, and the business community as an influential component in this process i.e. foreign policy strategy, is only evolving now. Unfortunately a bit too late and yet to be recognised in the sub-continent as a key driver of strategy and decision making."

The two major influences that are causing the business community and others to assume a more active role, in her view, are:

    1. Media explosion and the consequent softening of the barriers of communication.
    2. Forces of liberalisation and globalisation that is forcing the business community and civil society into seeking a larger leadership role in the democratic process as well as the foreign policy process.

These have also altered the context in which the civil society in both the countries view their mutual relations.

Due to this greater public information and knowledge influx, the speaker thinks that not only the government on both sides is under greater pressure to perform better but the people of both countries have also become more aware of their social and economic rights. The media has exposed them to the heady economic successes of other South Asian countries which has brought to light the rampant corruption and failure of their own governments and institutions. Both countries can take advantage of this greater awareness. "Together with the improved information density and rising public aspirations, I think, both countries are on the verge of a very, very unique opportunity, which they must take to improve the India/Pakistan relations.’

In recent meetings and rounds of discussions between the business delegations of both the countries, a very clear and progressive vision has emerged. "Business community needs to take on a very large role in creating a public awareness for improving bilateral relations on both sides." The contentious issues, however, remain and need to be effectively dealt with. She recognised them as follows:

    1. The provision of subsidies by India.
    2. Pakistan denying the status of "Most Favoured Nation" (MFN) to India.
    3. Outdated shipping contracts between Bombay and Karachi that need to be revised.
    4. Land routes between the two countries that need to be opened up so that the trade could be carried out freely.

She also hailed the efforts of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of both the countries in assuming leadership roles in the peace resolution process. On this occasion, she quoted the chairman of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry "I call to the business leadership to helping in create a public opinion to improve the relations on both the sides. She also quoted the President of the Indian business delegation, Mr. Vanai Kumar, who said,"The business community can play a key role in shifting the paradigm between business and politics." She also mentioned the extremely unilateral offer that the President of the Indian delegation made to the Chamber of Lahore Commerce and Industry of opening an export office in the premises of the PHT Chamber of commerce, New Delhi.

Lastly, she made key resolutions of areas, which she thinks, should be receiving greater attention for involving the business community, in a broader way, and the civil society, in a much more specific manner, for the conflict resolution process.

    1. The people to people contact. There is no substitute for it and therefore the exchange and involvement of people on both sides should be increased.
    2. Information-sharing. The internet and other modes of technology should be used more adequately to supplement the exchange of vital information and statistics.
    3. Sharing of ideas. Exchange of views between the different channels in conflict resolution. i.e. The NGOs, the business community, security, politics and academicians should work together rather than in isolation.
    4. Bi-lateral trade. Inter-SAARC trade is 3% and Indo-Pak trade is only 1% of this. Trade between the two countries should be increased not only to improve relations but also to alleviate the massive poverty prevalent in both the countries. Trade can also be enhanced by removing all artificial trade barriers such as visa regulations, tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, subsidies etc.
    5. Sharing of information on human resource development for e.g. by exchange of faculty between Lahore School of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Lucknow school of Management.

Haroon Ahmed (Pakistan)

Quotes from the speaker

My humble submission is to consolidate messages and pack them so they are acceptable to the current mental set.

The respective governments… know very well that they can’t go through the arms race perpetually.

Ever since the last decade of this century had forced a major perceptual change, it has amply demonstrated that no amount of weapons or military might could halt the already deteriorating social situation from getting worse.

The myth of contrived security has been broken yet the mindset created by military industrial complex lingers on.

There are lessons to be learnt from the two armed conflicts between India and Pakistan . Instead, we distort history and worse of all, we believe in it.

We cannot afford arms race, still the demands of the so-called defence need continues. The emergence of Bangladesh should have taught us the basic lessons in the track of democracy, justice and human rights. We have repressed them three and I dare say successfully.

To my mind, there is one objective which should be pursued and that is to convey to the people a few relevant messages which relate to their needs and demands.

Sermons are known to be endured; knowledge, changed attitude and call to reason does not arouse more people but arousing emotion works.

Dr. Haroon Ahmed’s topic was "Parallel Contacts" with special emphasis on the mental set of the people of these countries i.e. India and Pakistan. He began by defining a "mentally fit" person. In terms of psychiatry, he/she is one who can take care of himself, his family members and above all, abide and participate in civic and civil responsibilities. So in support of the efficacy of such discussions he said that "such activity does not only help the development of civil society but proves to promote the mental health of the participants because the sense of collective-ness, belonging-ness reduces alienation."

Dr. Ahmed was of the view that both countries cannot engage in the arms race perpetually and it was time that public opinion was built to help the inert governments on both sides to take a bold initiative. He also spoke about the mental set of the people of both the countries who perceive each other as enemies. This mindset created by the on going arms conflict between the countries makes people on both sides insensitive and inhumane. "People under this mindset are contemptuous of democracy, insensitive to human rights and have their own brand of justice."

As to how to alter the negative thinking of the people he proposed that a few relevant messages need to be conveyed to the people in an effective and attractive manner. "The formula is concentrate knowledge, generate emotion for behavioural change." In order to achieve this objective and bring about real change, he advocated a greater use of the science of advertising, electronic media and modern methods of communication. In this regard, he proposed that inter reaction between "people who matter" can be brought about by two ways. Firstly, that people should explore more avenues of people to people exchange through exchanges between professional groups, cultural troupes etc. And, secondly, by arranging melas and moots that give an opportunity to the common citizens of both the countries to understand each other better. "Seminars may not touch the common man but melas and thelas do."


Navnita Chadha Behera (India)

Quotes from the speaker

There are a few positives, I think we need to build upon them.

Parallel channels basically, the way I look at it, is different bodies, different groups of people from all walks of life in two countries who are meeting in an organised manner and discussing issues which are of concern to both of us especially sensitive issues.

Like a given is that you cannot question whether Kashmir is an integral part of India or cannot question whether Kashmir morally belongs to Pakistan.

Just don’t give them visas, they don’t get to see each other’ – it is as simple as that.

We need to build upon these constituencies which are in a very nascent stage, which are in a very incipient stage but they are there. That there are alternatives. That there is no one way of looking at India/Pakistan relations.

It is sad to know that not a single woman from the Pakistani side, with the sole exception of Sadiqa Ji, was there on this panel.

Visits should be encouraged to clarify notions, misconceptions.

The only way to learn is to come here and interact with people like you… and then you learn what the realities of life are.

Dr. Navnita Chadha Behera focused on "parallel channels" and looked, exclusively, at non-official dialogues especially concerning bilateral issues aimed at creating a better understanding between citizens of the two countries.

She approached the topic using the conventional jargon of "track 2 diplomacy" (Track 1 means government to government channels) which refers to non-governmental channels.

In "track 2" dialogues, groups of citizens of the two countries set up information channels, channels of operation or links independent of their respective governments and look at specific issues such as Kashmir, opening up of trade, nuclear arms. They try to see how they can resolve these sensitive issues and then provide recommendations to their respective governments.

The speaker was of the view that track 2 have evolved over the last few years and increasingly being used as a "testing ground" to explore ideas that are difficult to pursue from the governmental platforms of the respective countries. "But what is increasingly happening is that the kind of dialogues that are taking place are going far beyond the vision or the conception of what we understood by track 2 dialogues"

She also looked at "track 3" dialogues, which, according to her, were more "visionary." Track 3 is more focused towards creating a social and political space outside the governmental network which would hopefully address India/Pakistan issues in a more open manner and build "alternative constituencies." They seek to mobilise public opinion and pressurise their respective governments to change their thinking and question their conventional beliefs or "the givens"

In her view the distinction between track 2 and track 3 lied in (a) the nature of people who are involved, and (b) the way or the modus operandi by which objectives are sought.

She emphasised that a South Asian study that had been conducted last year to document these dialogues showed that 40 such parallel channels existed between South Asian countries including India and Pakistan both at the bilateral and regional level. The exchanges have been made between people of all age groups from all walks of life from journalists to social workers and from school going kids to retired military officials.

Trying to sum up the net result of such interactions, she said that the results were mixed. The biggest criticism levelled against such dialogues has been that successes in track 2/track 3 dialogues are not being translated into track 1 dialogues. "The governments are not getting any better, the visas are not any easier to get, so what does it all amount to, ultimately, when you look at the ground realities?"

But then she also commented that the very nature of this process i.e. creating civic space is difficult. She also made us realise since it is difficult to create social space within one’s own country viz. a viz. one’s government, then addressing foreign policy issues, especially when they touch upon concerns of national security of the respective countries, is bound to be a very slow and painful process. In this regard she felt that the ultimate veto power remained with the governments in the form of visa restrictions which hindered people to people contact. Nonetheless, she concluded that "it is making a difference because it’s spreading" and expanding in it’s reach.

There are positives, even though they are fewer than the negatives, and the speaker stressed that we need to build upon them.

Ms. Barua identified the following problem areas in track2/track 3 level dialogues:

    1. Dialogues at this level were not getting translated into governmental level dialogues.
    2. We often blaming western or outside forces for creating the differences within us. Instead, we need to decide how we are going to buildbridges. Also, we shouldn’t hold reservations if a third party steps in to facilitate the peace resolution process.
    3. Generation and gender issues. She felt that participation of women from the Pakistani side is not adequate and also the youngsters of both the countries are not getting to see each other as frequently as they should.

She ended on an optimistic note saying that both the sides need to loosen up a little and the people can do rest for themselves.


Kaiser Bengali (Pakistan)

Quotes from the speaker

Pakistan does not have local government. It doesn’t exist. The constitution of the country only refers to local bodies and that too only in one sentence. It just says that the provincial governments shall organize local bodies for managing local affairs.

But the private sector/market in order to operate requires a super structure which I would call the State.

It is the economies of agglomeration which determines the growth of economic activities and the concentrations of population that give rise to urbanization.

Mr. Kaiser Bengali explored the relationship between the civil society, the state and their interdependencies. He was of the view that civil society cannot be built outside the state or apart from the state. Also, he emphasized the need for civil society to be strong to influence the character and composition of the state.

According to Mr. Kaiser, the civil society consists of five basic elements: (a) press, (b) NGOs, (b) trade associations, (c) trade unions, and (d) market

The market plays a very crucial role in the formation of civil society in any country. Unfortunately, since Pakistan had been under military rule for the majority of its years, the market is very weak. "A market economy requires entrepreneurs. Without an entrepreneurial base, a market economy cannot function and Pakistan lacks an entrepreneurial base."

Therefore, according to the speaker, the weakness of the civil society can be attributed to the weakness of the market economy, which in turn can be traced back to the weakness of the State.

The State sector in Pakistan is unresponsive to public needs and the needs of the society and therefore incapable of supporting the civil society.

Stepping into history, the speaker notes that this was not always the case. In the pre-colonial era, each village was autonomous and run by a social contract. If a tribal or feudal culture prevailed in an area, it also assumed responsibilities and duties for looking after that area.

However, with the arrival of the British, this self-reliant village governance system collapsed and was replaced by centralised bureaucracy in the form of a District Commissioner who was an outsider and little aware of the needs of the people. Therefore, civil society became "atomised" and "introverted."

In the post colonial era, the society has transformed rapidly in terms of demography. Overnight urbanisation has taken place. People of different tribes inhabit the cities and live together yet they are divided and do not inter-react. "We have a situation in Karachi where two-thirds of the population today are those whose parents or grandparents might have migrated from India around 1947. One-third of the population comprises of migrants from other parts of the country. They are in a sense economic migrants"

The social fabric of the cities, according to the speaker, is rather weak and this is largely due to the lack of local government bodies. There is no body to look into maintaining the basic infrastructure of the cities such as water, housing, roads, health and educational facilities as a result of which the cities are in a state of decay and disintegration. "In over 50 years, this commons sense in our cities has not developed and it has not developed, in my opinion, due to the heavily centralised nature of the state." The inhabitants, unfortunately do not have a choice but foreign investment is adversely affected as foreign investors choose not to return to such conditions. Thus, the market suffers. In a sense, it is a vicious circle.


Rainer Adams

Quotes from the speaker

It’s possible.

Dr. Rainer Adams, the chairperson offered personal remarks on the session, pointing out that there are lessons to be learnt from the fact that for many years the French were the arch enemies of "us Germans." Now both are partners in the European Monetary Union (EMU). Change comes slowly and gradually "but it’s possible." In the case of Germany and France it was brought about by economic co-ordination, frequent travel and personal contacts between the people of France and Germany.


Discussion

Q. In discussing the inadequacy and poor development of civil society in our part of the world, the economic dimension has been by-passed. The economic deterrents need to be addressed to create efficiency on both the sides.

Sultan Ahmed

Q. Problem with our government is that whenever we have lawlessness, terrorism or chaotic disorder, higher government functionaries accuse the Indian agencies to have created the trouble. Why do the political parties blame agencies abroad to train terrorists and killers? Why can’t we have an effective media to inform the people of the real situation and whole truths? It all depends on our own perception and unity. Why haven’t track 2 been successful in addressing these issues and which channel would you call that?

Dr. Sri Ram Khanna: Whenever there is a bomb blast in India, we are told that there was Pakistani hand behind it. We are made to believe that the Pakistanis want to destroy us. During this dialogue, we must address the dirty accusations that we like to push under the carpet.

Q. Seminars like this don’t influence the minds of the masses.

Q. The whole problem between Pakistan and India is not lack of communication. The real problem is that terrorist activities here are always said to be emanating from India. This is a very serious problem as it negatively influences the mind-set of people who no nothing better. Real friendship can only result when we ask important questions like "who is doing it" "why are they doing it" and "how to stop them"

Rashida Patel

Q. I like the title of this conference and especially the words in it: "peace, conflict-resolution and democracy."

Maliha Rizvi

Q. Do you intend to pass some resolutions? May I suggest cutting the defence budget by at least 25% and diverting the savings from this towards education, health facilities, infrastructure development and social sector. Also, more people to contact should be encouraged through relaxation of visa restrictions.

Azhar Jamil

Next Session


Source: The Role Of Civil Society in Pakistan and India:
Peace, Conflict Resolution, Democracy: Procedings of the seminar
by Jang Group of Newspapers (Pakistan) & Friedrich/Naumann Foundation (Germany).
Edited by Khurram Ali Shafique and Farida Z. Hemani


Back to Top

Search the Republic of Rumi
 
Page Hits | Visitors BACK | HOME | CONTACT