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The Dawn

Published Date: Mar 14, 2014

Hate mongering curriculums need to be changed for better Pakistan-India ties

Pakistan and India should learn lesson from the European countries to
resolve their decades-old issues.Islamabad and New Delhi will have to
change the curriculums of their educational institutions which have been
spreading hatred between the two countries. Besides, visas should be
issued at Wagah and Attari borders.

These were the main points on
which the members of an Indian peace delegation and Pakistani
intellectuals developed consensus during a dialogue, ‘People-people
contact: A way forward’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) on Thursday.

Satya Paul Arora, the secretary
general of South Asian Fraternity, New Delhi, said in new era issues
between countries cannot be resolved through wars.

“Pakistan and
India should take confidence-building measures and the best way to boost
confidence is to increase people-to-people contacts.”

He said
visas for journalists, traders, lawyers, students and academicians
should specifically be relaxed for a better communication and business
relationships between the two countries.

Chairman of the Patita
(Destitute) Sudhar Sabha, New Delhi, Kharaiti Lal Bhola said he was born
in Pind Dadan Khan near Jhelum in 1929 and actively participated in the
freedom movement.

“At that time, there were no differences among
Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs. I feel division of the
subcontinent was wrong and it created problems but now we can resolve
issues by making the visa process easy.”

He said both the
countries had been spending large chunks of their budgets on armies.
Funds should be spent on the people, he said.

Chairman Gram Bharati Samiti, Jaipur, Bhawani Shanker Kusum said to him India and Pakistan were similar countries.

“We
have same heroes, same history and even same culture. So the ‘citizens
without border’ policy should be adopted for both the countries.”

He
added: "We have to forget what happened in the past. People of both the
sides made mistakes but we have to acknowledge that a number of people
also helped the minorities who were migrating in 1947. We have to
rewrite history," he said.

Secretary Lala Lajpat Rai Birthplace
Memorial Committee, Dhudike Ranjit Singh said he had come to Pakistan
for the first time but Punjab was the same on both sides of the border.

"If
Germans can unite themselves by demolishing a wall, why people of
Punjab cannot get united by removing the barbed wire? Some elements in
India do not want people-to-people contacts," he said.

Pakistani
writer Ahmad Saleem said both Pakistan and India had been teaching wrong
history to the new generations because both had different dimensions of
history in their curriculums.

"To bring people of both the
countries close to each other, we have to start writing that how Muslims
helped Hindus go India and how Hindus helped Muslims reach Pakistan,"
he said.

Former deputy high commissioner to India Shafqat Kakakhel
said after the partition hatred increased between the peoples of both
the countries for almost 40 years.

But for the last 25 years, he
added, non-governmental organisations and think-tanks had started
working to bring the peoples of the two countries closer. “We have to
understand that India and Pakistan have bitter relations with all their
neighbouring countries,” he said.