Hameed Haroon, the CEO of Pakistan-based Dawn Media group said that there was need for a greater understanding of the common history of India and Pakistan and to allow greater interaction between academics of the two countries.
“In 1947, we faced partition but the bigger and far more harmful partition was in 1965 when intellectuals of the two countries were cut off. Till now no one speaks about this tragedy. How will we understand each other without studying our common heritage. There is a need to allow greater interaction among the academia of the two countries,” said Haroon, who is in Mumbai on an invitation from the Observer Research Foundation.
Haroon said that citizens of the two countries were psychologically dependent on each other, and drew a list of instances of the shared heritage between the two countries. People of the two countries had a common heritage dating back to the eight millennium BC, he said.
“We are part of one psychological dependency. Indians can’t be holy without Pakistan and the Pakistanis cannot be holy without Indians,” Haroon said.
“In Pakistan, students are taught that Pakistan was created in 712 when Muhammad Bin Kasim invaded Sind. They believe that the Mughal territory was located in Pakistan. If this is the type of history that we teach, what kind of people are we creating. What is happening in your country is similar, albeit in a far more sophisticated way,” Haroon said.
He also spoke about the need to allow each generation in both countries to participate collectively in the shared heritage of their forefathers considering that in terms of reconciliation, African nations seemed to have stolen a march over India and Pakistan.
The ORF said it planned to start a Mumbai Karachi Friendship Forum, which would bring people from the two cities together. As part of the initiative, the forum is planning to display Marathi as well as Gujarati films in Karachi. The city has groups of ethnic minorities which still speak these languages in Pakistan. Sudheendra Kulkarni, Chairman of ORF, Mumbai said that the Shiv Sena had threatened to teach a lesson to those who invited Pakistanis into the country.
“The best way of neutralizing this threat is holding functions with Pakistanis again and we have done it. Mumbai will never surrender to those who want to safeguard this wall of separation,” he said adding the consulates of both the countries in Mumbai and Karachi should be opened soon.