Need to understand mindset of Punjabis on both sides, says Pak expert

Need to understand mindset of Punjabis on both sides, says Pak expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
“Do not enter into a ‘love marriage’ of two Punjabs without understanding the mindset of Punjabis on either side of the Indo-Pakistan border”, cautioned Mr Tahir Malik, Group Co-ordinator of the Pakistani delegation at a seminar on “Developments in Pakistan Punjab”, organised at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here today.

Mr Malik was speaking on the mindset of Pakistan Punjab’s journalists. He said post-1947 the mindset of the Punjabi in Pakistan was anti-India as it was he, who had suffered the greatest damage and seen the carnage of Partition. The issue of sharing rivers waters and its control had left an even deeper scar on the thought process of the Punjabi in Pakistan.

India, he said, was a big country and should have treated Pakistan with respect after Partition. He said both the countries were at crucial juncture and this opportunity of history should not be missed. Time that has gone past has gone, it cannot be reversed.

His colleague, Mr Jalil. H. Akhtar, made another important point. He said: “So far peace is our final destination. It has to become a habit for both countries to live peacefully. He said the time was for economic sharing.

Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of the Tribune group of newspapers, who chaired the session, said: “I would be cautious in my approach as there were enough people on both sides of the border, who could scuttle the peace process”.

There is no choice but to have peace. Mr Dua said people of both the countries were ignorant of each other as there was no information being exchanged through newspapers. He opined: “I do not see what security threat can a newspaper pose to either India or Pakistan”. Mr Dua, who plays an active role in the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), once again championed the cause of posting more and more Indian correspondents to Pakistan and vice versa.

Earlier, in the morning during the presentation on cultural exchanges between two Punjabs, Mr Nadeem Mizra suggested that there had to be a provision of free travel pass to move across two Punjabs divided across the Radcliffe Line. He reminded the audience that language was the strongest bond between the people. Folk tales, drama, poetry and music of both the Punjabs were common.

Among others, this session was also attended by Gen V.P. Malik (retd), who led the Indian forces during the Kargil war. General Malik said things were moving in the right direction and setting up industry in the border belt would provide for economic security that could prevent war. Economic goals stand a better chance than military might, said the General.

Mr Omer Farooq Mannan listed what could be shared between farmers of both the Punjabs to improve upon the existing conditions. The possibility of religious tourism to Sikh shrines and Hindu temples in Pakistan was presented by Mr Khalid Pervez.