The launch of the Fifth India-Pakistan Peace Calendar, a unique initiative started by Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint India-Pakistan youth friendship platform, is underway in different cities.
Featuring selected paintings by students of grade 8-12 from India and Pakistan, the calendar symbolises the people’s yearning for peace. The organisers say they received “thought-provoking expressions from students of several cities” in both countries.
Peshawar launch of the Peace Calendar, Geo News report
Besides the paintings, the calendar includes messages from peace activists and renowned intellectuals. They include Salima Hashmi, I.A. Rehman, Dr. Mubashir Hassan, Khadim Hussain, Masood Aslam from Pakistan and Shashi Tharoor, Virender Sahai, Ashok Mehta, Dr Syeda Hameed, Dr Kavita Sharma and Sudheendra Kulkarni from India.
Each launch is accompanied by a panel discussion titled ‘Sharing of Hopes for a peaceful co-existence’. Prominent local intellectuals and activists participate in the panel discussion and launch in each city.
The year’s Peace Calendar launches kicked off from Lahore on January 1, 2017, at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The panel discussion moderated by Punjabi poet Afzal Saahir featured eminent speakers like artist and educationist Salima Hashmi, daughter of legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, political scientist and author Dr. Ishtiaque Ahmed, and historian Hassan Zaidi.
Prominent personalities who participated in the launch at Toba Tek Singh on Jan. 8 included Reverend John Samuel, Diocese of Faisalabad, Dr. Muhammad Saleem, Government College University Faisalabad, religious leader Hafiz Abdul Hai, human rights activist Zara Shah, poet and author Abdul Khaliq Sannam, and youth activist and Aaghaz-e-Dosti coordinator Umair Ahmad. Journalist Gulzar Ahmad of ARY moderated the discussion held at the Gojra Bar Association. Schoolgirl Sammia Sanam, a student from Govt. Girls High School, Gojra Toba Tek Singh whose painting features in the peace calendar, was also felicitated.
Chief guest at the Peshawar launch, held at the Bacha Khan Markaz on Jan. 14 was Mian Iftikhar Hussain of the Awami National Party. Other speakers included Faiz Ullah Jan, University of Peshawar, Shamim Shahid of Express Tribune, Zalan Mohmand of Baacha Khan Trust Research Center, Aimal Khan, great-grandson of Bacha Khan and Khadim Hussain of the Baacha Khan Trust Educational Foundation. Participants appreciated the efforts of seventh-grade student Kalsoom of Baacha Khan School, Pabinai Swabi, whose painting features in the calendar.
The calendar was launched in Karachi at the Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences on Jan. 30 with prominent speakers including journalist Mubashir Zaidi, Sheema Kermani of the feminist dance theatre group Tehrik-e-Niswan, head of Oxford University Press, Pakistan, Ameena Saiyid and peace activist Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour and Education Research.
In India, the calendar was launched in Delhi on Jan. 14 at the India International Centre, with veteran Gandhian and freedom fighter Dr. S. N. Subbarao, activist, writer, and former member Planning Commission Dr. Syeda Hameed, social activist Kamla Bhasin, and Col (Retd) Virendra Sahai, founder India Pakistan Soldiers Initiative (IPSI).
The event in Mumbai on Jan. 30 at the Observer Research Foundation was also a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary. Speakers included Zakir, president of Anjuman group, one of the largest educational group in Maharashtra providing technical education to lakhs of students, Ravi Nitesh, founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Bollywood actor and activist Suhasini Mulay, Sudheendra Kulkarni, head of ORF Mumbai, Sushobha Barve of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation and the eminent surgeon Dr Sanjay Nagral who also treats patients from Pakistan.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti, launch in Delhi
The most calendar launch was in Dehradun on Sunday, Feb 5, with the launch program and panel followed by a special screening of the film “Toba Tek Singh” directed by renowned film director Ketan Mehta and starring Pankaj Kapoor. Speakers included scientist and nuclear disarmament activist Prof Dhirendra Sharma, social worker and founder and Secretary of Purkal Youth Development Society Learning Academy G. K. Swamy and anthropologist Lokesh Ohri.
The calendar launch events are free and open to the public. The calendar itself is available for purchase for Rs. 200 INR / Rs. 200 PKR.
To register for the calendar launch, go to: Registration for 5th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar Launch. For further details email [email protected]