'We need to change our attitude towards our brothers and sisters living across the border' :Ayesha Amaan

[caption id="attachment_24701" align="alignleft" width="216"]Aayesha Amaan Aayesha Amaan[/caption]

The Indo-Pakistan?conflict has spanned decades, keeping the news channels on tenterhooks with every

[caption id="attachment_24702" align="alignright" width="448"]Ayesha Amaan seated extreme left  in the first row Ayesha Amaan seated extreme left in the first row[/caption]

turn of events. However, while years of struggling to keep each other at bay have taught the two political?arch-rivals?strategies to abate tension wherever possible, the media in both countries has largely refrained from employing any peacemaking tactics.

Recently, India-Pakistan Regional Young Leaders Initiative Forum Concluded in Islamabad. Ayesha Amaan was one of the three members?represented?India at the Forum.

Asia Society launched the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative in 2006 to develop next generation leaders across the Asia-Pacific region. In eight years, Asia 21 has become the leading next generation network in the Asia-Pacific, with over seven hundred active members from 30 countries and economies and across all sectors. The India-Pakistan Regional Young Leaders Initiative (IPRYLI) was established to help nurture a community of next generation leaders in India and Pakistan committed to coming together across borders and boundaries to address issues facing these two countries.

Ayesha Amaan is Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of the?Aaryans Group and Chief Operating Officer of the Aaryan?Foundation.The Aaryan Foundation, a corporate social responsibility arm?of Aaryans Group, is engaged in supporting the education of disadvantaged youth and?underprivileged children. Aaysha was presented with the Indian Achievers Award in 2010 and?the Women Leaders of India Award in 2011 for social work she has done in her personal capacity. She?represented?India at Asia's Society 21 Young Leaders program in?Islamabad?Recently. As she is one of the member at Asia's 21 Young Leader Program.

Here are our Interview Excerpts with her.

[caption id="attachment_24706" align="alignright" width="448"]From left to right: Mr Sanjeev Sherchan ,  Associate Director of Global Leadership Initiatives at Asia Society, Mr. Michel Kulma,  Programme Head Global Leadership Initiatives at Asia Society, Mr. Syed Ghazi Jamal, MP from Fata Constituency of Pakistan,  Ayesha Amaan, & Mr Javaid Laghari HEAD and chairperson Higher Education Commission of Pakistan From left to right: Mr Sanjeev Sherchan , Associate Director of Global Leadership Initiatives at Asia Society, Mr. Michel Kulma, Programme Head Global Leadership Initiatives at Asia Society, Mr. Syed Ghazi Jamal, MP from Fata Constituency of Pakistan, Ayesha Amaan, & Mr Javaid Laghari HEAD and chairperson Higher Education Commission of Pakistan[/caption]

Tell us about your Experience in Islamabad.

It was wonderful, great really no words to describe how good I felt over there. They don?t have any hard feelings or grudges against India. In fact, they want to come down here and see the beauty of our country. Media has modified India-Pakistan democracy a lot just for higher TRP?s. I stayed at a separate guest house for one day because I wanted to interact with the common people there. Five Star hotel treatments are same everywhere so I took this step to know real Islamabad. And it?s just like India; there is no difference between India and Islamabad. Every person there has a story connected to India. I talked to about 100 people there and each of them was happy when I told them I am from India. It?s just a mindset here that we believe about Pakistani?s hating India.

What was your suggestion at the conference?

My main concentration was on easy visa processing between both the countries. It will definitely ease our commutations which is highly required. Also, we have decided to do some promotions through ads, posters, short films. There is no relation between easy visa and terrorism. If something has to happen, it will. What we need to stop is increasing tension between both the countries due to wrong news and rumors.?On either side, reports are one dimensional, biased and indifferent to the adversities that escalating tensions cause.

Other members at the conference encouraged the cultural activities among both the countries. More actors, artists should get visa to perform at various occasions. Also, we all know we keep doing meetings, making peace treaty and pass messages to each other. But this time we have to really execute it. We have to tell people that India and Pakistan are like brothers. ?Pakistan is not our enemy, it?s just like a second home for all Indians.

?India-Pakistan news brings heat in the public here. Do you think it?s the same in Pakistan too?

No, definitely not. Those of us who interact with people from across the border know that people in India and Pakistan share a common heritage as well as overwhelming similarities in culture, outlook and language. The much hyped enmity between us may just be a construct, emphasized year after year by attention seeking media channels.It is about time our news makers understand that when it comes to India-Pakistan relations, populations in either camp would much rather see a compromise than a replay of tension.

What was the one thing that strike you most there?

I felt so good after seeing that Pakistanis are waiting to come and see India. They miss India a lot and want to meet people here. Like every common man, they want to have vacation here and see Taj Mahal. Once the relations will improve no politicians can do anything.I met many hindus there too and no one is bothered about the politics going on between both the countries. The problem is created artificially and its all the matter of loving each other instead of living in an illusion.

Being member of such an innovative and peacemaking organization, what?s your message to citizens?

Only one thing we need to change Is our attitude towards them. We don?t want to know the truth; we are just living with pre consumed emotions. And that?s really wrong; we have to let go our past. There is no point of believing something which is not true. Pakistan is our part and will be always. In our hearts, we have to make space for them and let go all hatred.

When is the next being held?

Once a part of this forum, we keep meeting to plan the next course of action. In?December, ill be going to china and then London. we will continue this initiative till our target to connect people across borders is met.

Interested can email Aaryan Foundation at mystique.earth@yahoo.com or visit: aaryanfoundation.org.


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