By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)
The two very popular private media groups of Pakistan and India have taken the initiative to begin a new tradition of establishing friendly relations between these two angry neighbors of South Asia. Perhaps for the first time in the history of subcontinent, very effective media groups have taken the responsibility to bring peace to the region.
As journalism is the spokesman of the intellectual forces of a society so it has a leading role in the formation of public opinion. In Pakistan because of martial laws, politics has never got strong footings. But even though there are solo political attempts but these political personalities also could not be able to frame public opinion. Even their own parties are divided so media is the only source of intellectual development for public.
If we study the history of India and Pakistan, it is full of warring situations and lack of trust. And sorry to say that media has also contributed in this. But now these two media groups have started a new history to disown all those previous negative, unconstructive and pessimistic roles of media. This development really deserves appreciation. But this holy task now puts some responsibilities on these media groups.
The first and foremost task is to invite other media groups to join Aman ki Asha. The journalists and owners of media groups from both countries should keep an eye on such news stories which can disrupt peace between India and Pakistan. They should make it compulsory that if such material is published so that particular newspaper or channel will have to face journalistic boycott from journalists and social boycott civil society. In the same way all those political parties and pressure groups should be discouraged openly on media whose sole aim is to disrupt Aman Ki Asha.
The issues between India and Pakistan are almost 6 decades old. Now media should arrange such peaceful talk shows which can result in formation of realistic approach towards these issues. It’s a quandary here in Pakistan that whenever our governments tried to solve the Kashmir issue, they were interrupted either by internal segments or external powers. So every time our new rulers are so scared that they stop talking about Kashmir.
In Musharaf period the steps taken towards Kashmir problem were even more realistic than Shimla agreement and Lahore pact. The point that made possible this agreement though it was not mentioned in the agreement, was a joint struggle against terrorism. It was decided that both countries will gradually minimize their army in Kashmir, Kashmiris will freely move to both parts of Kashmir, both parts of Kashmir will be given full internal sovereignty and formation of triangular commission comprising leaders of Pakistan , India and Kashmir. This formula was also acceptable to India. Now it is the responsibility of stakeholders of Aman Ki Asha to arrange public talk shows to compel governments of India and Pakistan to implement that formula.
Besides Kashmir issue the media must scrutinize the educational syllabus of both countries and try to give proposals for elimination of such topics that promote hatred among people of India and Pakistan.
Today our scholars take part in all those Inter Faith Dialogues which are held to minimize hatred among Muslims, Christians and Jews all over the world. But is more important that we should struggle hard to wipe out the mental barriers among Hindus and Muslims. Because approximately 1.5 billon population of South Asia is always at the verge of war.
The media groups of Aman ki Asha should also concentrate on this reality that India and Pakistan have naturally common defense, economic and political interests. We Pakistanis and Indians are well aware of the fact that even after having atomic capabilities we are not having sound sleep. Why? Because we hate each other. So our journalist community should promote the concept of common interest of India and Pakistan. Journalists should send their articles to neghbouring country so that their point of view is studied by common people. Media should discourage conditionality in Indo-Pak negotiations. And if these media groups need international help, they should look towards regional nations.
Aman ki Asha can be made successful in this way otherwise it is not more than another mirage for the desperate people of the subcontinent.