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Indo-Pak Students Talk To Each Other Via Video!



Indo-Pak Students Talk To Each Other Via Video!

Indo-Pak Students Talk To Each Other Via Video!

New Delhi: In first of its kind, video conferencing is used to conduct an interaction between youth activists from Pakistan and Indian students with the aim to counter stereotypes and misconceptions. This was Aaghaz-e-Dosti’s twelfth Aman Chaupal. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is an Indo-Pak Friendship initiative of India-based Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based The Catalyst – TC. Aaghaz-e-Dosti has conducted 12 aman chaupals or Indo-Pak peace sessions wherein someone from Pakistan interacts with students in India (or vice versa). This was the first time that ICT has been used to connect and start an interaction between people of both countries.

In this session, youth activists and Pakistan team of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Aliya Harir (Convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti from Pakistan) and Syed Zeeshan Ali Shah, had interacted with about 100 students and faculty members from Headstart School of Bangalore who were on an educational trip in Delhi. The educational trip, organised by renowned Heritage Artist Vikram Kalra, was to cover places in North-Indian states especially Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar and Wagah border. The trip aimed at giving students a better understanding and multiple perspectives of historical events. Aman Chaupal was organised to give the students a perspective of Pakistan from the Pakistanis themselves.

The session that was conducted in a mixed language of Hindi/Urdu and English went on for over an hour. The questions revolved around the history of Pakistan, the partition narratives, the culture of Pakistan and the everyday life of Pakistanis.

How are Indians different from Pakistanis?, asked a student. Aliya Harir replied that there is no difference. Life on both sides of the border is just the same. We share a similar culture, language, challenges and even the same stereotypes. Syed Zeeshan Ali Shah responded that while the media on both sides project that we are different, there is no difference on ground.

A student asked if Pakistanis are very religious. Aliya replied that there are extremists and moderates in every country. Pakistan also has its share of both.

There were questions around the struggle of independence and partition narrative. Students asked how the partition is presented in Pakistan. Aliya Harir told them that in the official narrative, partition is seen as a moment of liberation. Another question was on popularity of Bhagat Singh in Pakistan. Aliya said that Bhagat Singh is a renowned historical figure and memory in Lahore side.

A student asked if Pakistanis feel that they got less land or an unfair distribution of resources during partition. Syed Zeeshan Ali Shah replied that there is no point thinking about what happened in the past. We should now focus to think about creating a better present and future.

A student came and told that his Nani’s sister lives somewhere in Pakistan and he want to visit there.

Hall was filled with curiosity and emotions, everyone wanted to talk with them and the whole environment expressed the reality that how the people of two countries want to meet each other and they never make any attempt fail to live in the moments when they get a chance to meet and to talk.

In a very emotional moment at the end, these Indian students gathered together in front of screen and sung “lab pe aati hai dua banke tamanna meri”, a song written by Allama Iqbal, the national poet of Pakistan, for the youth activists from Pakistan.

Article submitted by Devika Mittal and Aliya Harir (Convenors)


Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin



Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told




The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus



Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.




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