SZABIST Organizes a Seminar on India-Pakistan Relations
In a recent seminar, “India-Pakistan Relations: Bottlenecks and Way Forward” organized by SZABIST, participants stated that dialogue was the only way forward for the two countries. Dr. Savita Pande, Professor, Department of International Relations, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, joined the participants through Skype, while other speakers included: Ms. Beena Sarwar, Editor, Aman Ki Asha; Mr. Amar Jaleel, columnist and fiction writer and Mr. Amin Hashwani, President, Pakistan-India CEOs Business Forum.
The speakers dwelt on almost every crucial aspect of India-Pakistan relations, including the baggage of partition, mind set of political elite, territorial disputes, water dispute, terrorism, trade-related apprehensions etc. Maintaining the much publicized stance of the Indian government, Dr. Savita Pande highlighted cross-border terrorism as the core issue between India and Pakistan and stated that no composite dialogue can work before addressing the issue of terrorism. However, she added that the two countries need to focus on the role of the media. On the water dispute, Dr. Pande suggested that more treaties must be built based on Indus Waters Treaty as, in her view, Indus Waters Treaty has worked and making amendments to it disbands the treaty.
Beena Sarwar apprised the audience that common people in India do not carry ill will against Pakistan. She also stated that now “a new kind of ‘peace monger’ is increasingly active who is neither political activist nor has any links with Pakistan. They are the Indian youth and are passionate about having cordial links with Pakistan.” She stressed upon the increased people-to-people contact to dissolve misconceptions between the two nations and highlighted the significance of joint ventures, particularly in the area of healthcare.
Amin Hashwani highlighted the significance of trade with India. “Trade dispels misconceptions among the people of the countries involved in trading. It leads to economic growth that in turn creates vested interests of companies that are directed towards peace,” he said. Mr. Hashwani also stated that “nations operate on economic interests rather than ideological interests.”
Amar Jaleel lamented on the baggage of hatred that the two countries carry since partition. He termed the riots during partition as the “holocaust” of 1947 while stating that history does not exist in the form of audio or video data that can be edited. “Hatred in the heart can grow into a fire and flowers do not grow in fire. Put out that fire to cultivate peace,” he said.
Dr. Riaz Shaikh, Head of Faculty of Social Sciences, SZABIST, emphasized upon the need of dialogue to resolve differences between the two countries as, in his view, “wars never resolved problems; they just created new ones.”