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'Karachi is just like Mumbai!'
Vijay Singh in Mumbai | July 14, 2003 17:18 IST
Last Updated: July 14, 2003 15:59 IST
Thirteen Indian students on Monday concluded their 12-day goodwill visit to Pakistan and headed home after making a joint statement with their counterparts to work for peace in the region.
They took part in a South Asian peace camp in Karachi 'Youth without borders - Peace Through Art, Film and Dialogue' and pledged to work for peace and removal of misconceptions.
During the camp, the youth produced a 10-minute documentary film Buss! (Enough), highlighting the prejudices and the 'misinformation spread by vested interests and the one-way propaganda conducted by the respective governments'.
Thirteen Pakistani students participated in the camp.
The visit of the students' delegation from Mumbai was a follow-up to the recent Indo-Pak peace initiatives.
Lalita Ramdas, wife of former Indian naval chief Admiral L Ramdas, who was also a participant in the 'track-II diplomacy' between the two countries, said people of the region shared thousands of years of history, heritage and traditions but 'vested interests in both the countries forced them to forget their past'.
"I have gone to Pakistan three times. So it was not a new experience for me. But for the students it was a new experience. We got good coverage in Pakistani media. We didn't discuss political and diplomatic issues. Our main agenda was to make a film, build trust, to understand each other and to remove fear from each other's mind. In our next workshop we will discuss serious issues," she told rediff.com.
The Indian students, who were put up at the Textile Institute of Pakistan near Karachi, considered the trip 'very successful'.
Ruzbeh Masani, from Nashik, said, "Pakistan is very enjoyable, I had the best experience of my life, I made a few friends in Pakistan. In the workshop we were divided in different group and together we made a short documentary film. There are many issues where Pakistani textbooks say completely different from what the Indian textbooks says. It is very disappointing that historians cannot tell the youth of nation what actually happened. We don't know what the truth is!"
"We got a huge surprise. Pakistanis have same lifestyle like we have. I find Pakistani mehmannawazi great." Sairekha Suresh Kumar from Pune told rediff.com.
Pavitra Chalam from Bangalore said, "We did specific activities. We are trying to bring peace and awareness through music and art. We had and dance workshop. We had lots of debate and dialogue. I loved Karachi. It's full of life. It's like Mumbai."