By Murad Vehaj Afridi
Bolingbrook, IL: I am a Muslim from Pakistan and I am really interested in bringing about friendly relations between Indians and Pakistanis.
I visited Pakistan last year (April/May) and went to the great city of Lahore. This city, as you all may know has historical importance dating back to the Mughal dynasty. My cousin took me to the India-Pakistan border at Kasur. I witnessed the parade ceremony of military personnel of both the countries and took some pictures. However, for some reason, I had seen immense hatred in the eyes of the military personnel of both the countries.
When we came back home, I asked my cousin how often are these military ceremonies held? He told me they were held every day on a regular basis. People from both the countries come to the border just to witness the ceremonies and they cheer their military jawans when these exercises are being conducted. I asked my cousin, if he had noticed the immense hatred in the eyes of the military jawans of both the sides. He said: “Yes, our military has to be ready to attack the enemy, so we have to be prepared at all the times.” I told him, but this was very dangerous situation, if one jawan looked a the other jawan the wrong way. They could start fighting. And my cousin said: “Yes that is the reason both the armies are prepared to attack each other at a moment’s notice.”
I said: “But this is not the way to promote peace and harmony and better relations between our countries.” He said: “Murad, what you are talking is politics, but our armies have to be ready at all times to defend our countries from enemies.”
At that time, I had not heard of this Aman ki aasha (quest for peace) venture by Times of India and Jang newspapers. Now that I am back in the US, I have a suggestion for both India and Pakistan. They should stop this daily parade ceremonies immediately and instead invite one family from each country and threat them as guests.
This can be done right at the border. The Pakistani military should play a host to the Indian family and give them food and gifts and show them that Pakistanis are very hospitable people.
Similarly, the Indian military can reciprocate in the same manner. I am sure, this kind of gesture from both the sides will be very helpful in restoring trust and good relations between the common people of both the countries.
This could be considered a step in the right direction towards normalizing relations between the two countries. Once a trust has been developed between the common people, then both the governments could consider easing travel restrictions for the good of both the countries and peoples. Once the trust has been established on both the sides, relations will start improving soon. We can even see bilateral trade flourishing between the two countries.
In these days of globalization, no individual country can survive by remaining isolated or fighting with a neighboring country.
I hope and pray that leaders of both countries understand this and allow peoples to work for good and friendly relations between these neighboring countries.