A People's Movement for Peace and
Security in the Af-Pak-India Region



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Indian Subcontinent News



*Young Change Makers invited by COVA, at Hyderabad, AP, India, on Nov 24, 2013

If you are a young person (Age 16-35), who wants to Serve Society, dreams of being a Change Maker, and Transform the World into a better place, Youth TRAC is your Platform. Youth TRAC can provide you orientation to a) Social Issues; b) Leadership and Communication Skills; c) Community Outreach and Mobilization; d) Principles and Practice of Social Advocacy; e) approaching /using Officials, Political Parties and Media to Address Social Issues; and training in Theatre Arts. Also you can link with others to form a Youth Action Group to address the issue of concern to you, initiate Outreach Programs in local communities and colleges to propagate your ideas, and/or organize Youth Festivals, Conventions and Exchange Programs. Meetings are held 10 am to 12.30 pm, on the last Sunday of every month, near Charminar Bus Stand, at COVA Office, 20-4-10, Charminar, Hyderabad, AP, India . More info from, or 8019606643. Next meeting will be held on November 24, 2013.*Afghan woman Dr. Sakina Yaqoobi wins $1 million Opus prize, Khaama Press, Nov 17,

An Afghan woman was awarded the 2013 Opus Prize at a ceremony at Georgetown University for her work for her humanitarian efforts in education sector. Dr. Sakina Yaqoobi is a trained public health specialist and the president of Afghan Institute of Learnign (AIL), which is an Afghan women-led non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides teacher training, schooling and health education to women and children...*Sikh pilgrims arrive in Pakistan amid heavy security, PTI, November 16, 2013

A large number of Sikh devotees from India and various other countries have arrived in Pakistan to celebrate the 545th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Syed Faraz Abbass, the deputy secretary of the Shrines Evacuee Trust Property Board, said nearly 2,000 foreigners from various countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and France would participate in the pilgrimage for ten days...

*Pakistan businesses favour granting MFN status to India, SAMN, November 16, 2013

Pakistan should grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, said Federation of Pakistani Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Zubair Ahmed Malik at a trade event, Zee News reported on Friday. Malik is in India as the head of a Pakistani business delegation participating in the India International Trade Fair. While attending an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), he emphasised the need for the two countries to ease visa restrictions...

*Pakistan, Sri Lanka to expand free trade agreement, SAMN, Nov 19, 2013

Pakistan and Sri Lanka are going to expand the scope of their existing free trade agreement (FTA) in a bid to deepen bilateral trade between the two countries. To this effect, a ministerial joint economic commission (JEC) is due to hold a meeting in Colombo on November 27-28.“We are going to include a chapter on services sector and investment in the existing FTA and in addition, the existing bilateral trade deal will be further deepened by reducing the list of sensitive items,” a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce told The News...

*Pakistan offers to build sugar mills in Sri Lanka, SAMN, November 16, 2013

In a bid to strengthen bilateral economic ties with Sri Lanka, Pakistan on Thursday offered to build sugar mills in the island nation. The offer was extended during a meeting between premier Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a statement released on Friday read...

Pak-National Book Festival: Exchanges of the literary sort, Express Tribune, April 25, 2013

RAWALPINDI: In a refreshing break from gadgets and gizmos, scores of people thronged to the National Book Day festival that concluded here on Monday. The three-day event featured over a 100 stalls, reading sessions by poets and writers including Intizar Hussain, Nazir Naji, Ahmed Aqeel Rubi and Attaul Haq Qasmi….People of all age groups browsed through the stalls that were laden with books, pamphlets, stationary, paintings and historic photos by the National Archives. Many were seen walking out with over-sized bags of books..’s exports to Pakistan rise to US $1.64bn, SAMN, April 23, 2013

India's exports to Pakistan has improved to $1.64 billion during April-February 2012-13, the parliament was informed on Monday. For the entire 2011-12 fiscal, the shipments to the neighboring country had stood at US$1.53 billion. The country's imports from Pakistan too increased to US$487.5 million during April-February 2012-13…. Both the countries are in the process of further strengthening their trade ties as Pakistan has already switched over from a positive list to an approach of selective negative list of imports…

India, Pakistan seek to untangle trade knots, SAMN, April 20, 2013


In recent months, India and Pakistan have enjoyed a significant increase in trade flows, boosting the still tentative rapprochement between the two neighborsAccording to Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, trade volume between the two countries is the "highest ever"…. however, officials say a number of thorny issues must still be ironed out…

India says it has non-military interest in Afghanistan, SAMN, April 20, 2013

"We have a non-military interest in Afghanistan. We have committed a billion dollars to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We are building Afghanistan's parliament. We're building roads... But we've not sent a single soldier to Afghanistan," Chidambaram told the popular Charlie Rose Show…."Afghanistan is really not our immediate neighbor. It is our neighbor's neighbour. So we recognize that Pakistan has a more than usual interest in Afghanistan. But that is for Pakistan to find a way in which it can evolve or forge a working relationship," he said…

Indian Logistics Company to Export Afghan Fruit, March 24, 2013

According to the ministry, the Indian company IG International will export 800 tonnes of apples, and more than 3,000 tonnes of pomegranates and grapes to India via an Iranian port. The company is also interested in opening a branch in Kabul to facilitate trades with Afghan farmers.

"The company is planning to open a branch in Kabul. It's intending to take Afghanistan's fruit to India via Iran," said Abdul Qayoum Basam, head of the ministry's private sector development department.

IG International's interest in exporting Afghanistan's fruit came after they visited an agricultural business fair in the Badam Bagh area of Kabul city.

Following the agricultural fair, a number of the Afghan farmers and traders who participated said they had received more work during those days.

"It's fairs such as this that create opportunities for people and traders to come and make these agreements with us... Most of the people coming here are from companies," one of the participants told TOLOnews.

The agricultural fair, which was open over Nowruz, is said to have had more than 100,000 visitors.

A cross-border collaboration, Aman Ki Asha, January 2, 2013

 Representatives of the internationally recognised Self Employed Women Association (SEWA) Academy, India, visited Pakistan for the first time, and conducted a workshop in Lahore to train home-based workers from around Pakistan. HomeNet organised the three-day training held last week, led by SEWA Academy Director Namrita Bali, Program Coordinator Sapna Raval, and Trainer Rema Kapur, along with Renu Golani, Program Manager, HomeNet South Asia. Home-based workers from eleven cities in Pakistan's four provinces attended the training, aimed at building leadership and organising capacities. Organisers hope that sharing the success story of the SEWA movement and information about organisational strategies will help home based workers in Pakistan to strengthen their own movement…

India: Single, nationwide helpline coming for women, The Hindu, January 8, 2013

The government is planning a single, toll-free helpline number across India to help women in distress, and the States have been asked to look into the possibility of creating a separate fleet of all-women PCR (police control room) vehicles, particularly in cities where crime is on the rise.

Also, registering complaints online, without having to visit police stations, could become a reality from April…

Start of Quetta <==> Kandahar, Afghanistan Flights - December 25, 2012

QUETTA, BALUCHISTAN - PIA has started flights on Quetta-Kandahar route and the first plane with 198 passengers on board flew on Tuesday, December 25, 2012. The inauguration ceremony was held at the Quetta International Airport. Managing Director of PIA Captain Junaid, Afghan Consul General Ghulam Bahadar, and high officials of the airline attended the ceremony. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Junaid said two flights during a week would carry passengers for Quetta to Kandahar and it was hoped that the route would benefit both countries. He said that initiation of Quetta-Kandahar flights would lessen the miseries of passengers travelling between two countries.

Civil Society from PaK to attend Intra-Kashmir conference in Jammu, GK News, Dec 14,

 Islamabad, Dec 13: A high-level delegation comprising civil society representatives, intellectuals, jurists and traders from Pakistan administrative Kashmir on Friday left for Delhi to attend a two-day intra-Kashmir conference scheduled to be held in Jammu from December 14-16 2012. About 50 participants, hailing from both sides of line of control LoC, with special experience in judiciary, business, academics, culture, media, development and social fields have been invited in the conference being hosted by a Delhi based NGO, the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation…

New India, Pakistan visa regime to come into force in two phases, SAMN, Dec 15, 2012

India and Pakistan announce a new visa regime that will make cross-border travel easier as part of a thaw in their long-hostile ties. It will come into force in two phases on Jan. 15 and March 15, said a joint statement by the two ministers…. Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said tensions between the nuclear-powered rivals have eased a great deal since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in which 10 Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people…

Pakistan, India traders to force govts for NTBs removal, SAMN, December 13, 2012

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) have agreed to form a committee to sort out all Non-Tariff Barriers hitting Pak-India trade. The decision was made at a meeting between LCCI and CII here at the Lahore Chamber of

Pak Parl delegation visits Indian Parliament, PTI, December 06, 2012

A Parliamentary delegation from Pakistan on Thursday visited the Indian Parliament and was warmly welcomed by members in both houses…."I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, Chairman of the Senate of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and members of Parliamentary Delegation from Pakistan, who are on a visit to as our honoured guests," Speaker Meira Kumar said…

India says it is ready to help Afghanistan in peacebuilding, SAMN, December 6, 2012

Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Secretary (East) Sanjay Singh Wednesday said that India seeks to strengthen the hands of the Afghan people in bringing peace and prosperity to their country. Singh noted that India's assistance to Afghanistan has helped build vital civil infrastructure, develop human resources and capacity in areas like education, health, agriculture and rural development…

Gujral brought Pakistan, India closer,' The Hindu, December 1, 2012

Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday condoled the death of I.K. Gujral, the former Indian premier. "He [Gujral] will always be remembered for his admirable role he played to bring India and Pakistan closer,'' he said in his message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"In his death, the region has lost a noble and distinguished politician," Mr. Ashraf said.

 Conscious policy of conciliation with neighbours, The Hindu, December 1, 2012

Policy of structured dialogue of discussing all issues by subject specialist ministries Inder Kumar Gujral was an unlikely practitioner of conciliatory politics. For a person whose family was dispatched penniless and truncated in the communal riots that marred the partition of India, the impact of any bitterness of those events on his politics remained on the margins.  He was also an unlikely practitioner of diplomacy. An outsider, whose voice on foreign policy was heard with respect, whether he was in government or out of it. His stint as a Left leaning Congressman around the time Jawaharlal Nehru was laying out the country's foreign policy also influenced his Gujral doctrine, basically a four-pillared edifice, for which he had a brief four years in two near-equal phases to implement…

 Moving along: Aman ki Asha Strategic Seminar, Aman Ki Asha, November 28, 2012

There have been some positive developments in relations between India and Pakistan, towards which the Aman ki Asha campaign, launched on January 1, 2010, has played a significant role. Through its closed door AKA Strategic Seminar series followed by public interactions Aman ki Asha has also been taking up contentious issues that have been the cause of much of the hostility between these two countries. The third in this series is the forthcoming two-day seminar, to take place on December 2-3, 2012 in New Delhi. Agenda items include "Finding Solutions to the contentious issues. Focussed discussion on the relatively low hanging fruits of Sir Creek, Siachen and related issue", "Kashmir, Terrorism and related issues. The right time to start a dialogue and develop a road map", and "Indo Pak relations, Summary, way forward"…

*Pakistan dismisses blasphemy case against Christian girl, Reuters, November 20, 2012

Security officials surrounding  a Christian girl accused of blasphemy, move her to a helicopter in Rawalpindi

 RAWALPINDI (Reuters) - A Pakistani court dismissed on Tuesday a blasphemy case against a Christian girl which had drawn international condemnation and concern about the rights of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim country. Rimsha Masih, believed to be no older than 14, was charged with burning pages of the Koran in August but was granted bail in September after a cleric was detained on suspicion of planting evidence to stir up resentment against Christians. Masih's lawyer, Tahir Naveed, said the Islamabad High Court's decision to throw out the case was based on the fact that no one had seen her burning pages of the Koran…


*Former soldiers urge Indian-Pakistan peace, SAMN, November 20, 2012


"Let us get rid of the historical baggage that separates the people of our two countries so we can bridge the communication gap and get over the trust deficit between India and Pakistan," said Lt Gen (retired) Moti Dar, former vice chief of the Indian army, and the president of the Indian chapter of the India-Pakistan Soldiers' Initiative (IPSI). He was addressing students at the city campus of Beaconhouse National University on Monday at a seminar, India-Pakistan Relations: Prospects and Challenges. The seminar, organised by BNU and the IPSI, included members of both the Pakistan and Indian chapters of the IPSI.

*`Nanhe Hath Malala," Pankaj Nigam, Beena Issues, November 10, 2012

"Duniya ki sabse bahadur beti Malala Yusufazai ke liye" ("For the world's bravest daughter  Malala Yousafzai") a poetic tribute by Pankaj Nigam, an Indian, and translated in Urdu by Nasir Mustafa Rana, a Pakistani.

In nannhe hatho'n se ho kar
awaz uthegi goonjegi
in nannhe haatho'n me ban parcham
azadi khulkar jhoomegi

ye haath kheench kar laye'nge
taareek waqt me sooraj ko
ye haath uda le jaaye'nge
us pari desh me titli ko

ye haath karenge ab hisaab
un dabi sisakti faslo'n ka
ye haath likhenge mustaqbil
ab aane wali naslo'n ka

ye haath banayenge apni
shaffaaf sunahri duniya ko
wo duniya jisme jang nahi
aurat bachcho'n par zulm nahi
wo duniya jisme pyar bhara
wo duniya jo bas apni ho
bas itni ke mai'n hans to sakoo'n
aur hansne se mere
tumhe dar na lage.

*India expedites visas for Pakistani cricket fans, SAMN, November 8, 2012

An upcoming series offers "a tremendous opportunity" to foster warming ties, officials say. In another sign of improving relations, India plans to issue a record number of "cricket visas" to Pakistani nationals intending to root for their team. The Pakistani team will be playing three one-day internationals (50 overs per side) at Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi during December and January. In addition, two 20-20 matches -- the fastest version of the sport -- will be staged in Ahmedabad and Bangalore…

 *Pak invites India to anti-narcotics conference, Rediff News, November 08, 2012

 India is among the 12 countries invited by Pakistan to participate in a regional ministerial conference on countering narcotics trafficking that is being hosted by Islamabad next week. The meet, on November 12 and 13 is being organised at the initiative of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari The aim of the conference is to share experiences in countering illicit drugs and discuss prospects of regional cooperation for 'pragmatic, comprehensive and sustainable ways' of addressing the production, demand and trafficking of narcotics, Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said on Thursday…

*Punjabs form common business council to promote trade, SAMN, November 7, 2012


A common business council aimed at promoting bilateral trade was formed during a business roundtable attended by visiting Indian Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Pakistani Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The business council -- to consist of 10 members from both sides -- will take steps to establish joint industrial zones, hold business conferences and increase trade relations. The India-Pakistan business roundtable was held under the auspices of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade…

*India approves projects worth $100 mn in Afghanistan, PTI, November 08, 2012

 India on Thursday approved small-scale projects worth $100 million for implementation in strife-torn Afghanistan….The Cabinet decision comes ahead of the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai here next week. The SDP directly impact local communities and support social-economic development and facilitate community life through creation of infrastructure in various sectors including education, health, agriculture, Chidambaram said…

*Hyphenating cultures across the seas, Garga Chatterjee, Aman Ki Asha, November 7, 2012

 The Partition of India and Pakistan caused numerous ruptures and restricted mundane exchanges. In the antagonistic climate created by the states of Pakistan and the Union of India, and ordinary people find it almost impossible to simply meet and mingle, given the restrictive visa regimes. Entire generations have grown up with an acute awareness of the 'other' without any human interaction. Strangely, what cannot happen in the subcontinent, has found an unlikely theatre of expression - the diaspora. It is here that peoples from the two nations can visit each other's houses, share meals, sorrows and joys, without visas…

 *Afghanistan & India to sign more pacts during Karzai's visit, Khaama Press, Nov 5, 2012

 India and Afghanistan will discuss prospects of enhancing Delhi's role in training Afghan security forces and sign four pacts in diverse areas, including mines and fertilisers, during Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to the country later this week. Karzai, who will begin his tour from Mumbai, will interact with the business community there and seek greater investment in his country in various sectors…

Pond formed with 'Shiva's tears' restored in Pak, PTI, November 6, 2012

Scores of Hindus participated in a special ceremony held at the historic Katasraj Temple in Pakistan's Punjab province following the restoration of its holy pond, which had begun drying up due to excessive use of groundwater by a nearby cement factory. A total of 115 Hindus from cities across Pakistan visited the temple in Chakwal district. Shri Amar Kund, the sacred pond, was showered with rose petals and pilgrims drank its water and filled bottles to take home.

Indian Parliamentary delegation in Pak for SAARC meet, PTI, November 04, 2012

Pakistan on Sunday sought the support of SAARC countries in fighting the menace of illegal drugs, that were being used as a "weapon of war", as parliamentary delegations from India  and other members gathered for a meeting of the regional grouping….The Indian delegation is being led by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar who had made a considerable impact on Pakistani politicians during a bilateral visit to Islamabad in February…The three-day meet opened with the main objective of strengthening people-to-people contacts to foster mutual understanding, trust and friendship in the region…

Prominent Taliban leader join peace process in Herat, Khamma Press, November 4, 2012

According to local authorities in western Herat province of Afghanistan, a prominent Taliban leader Mullah Baz Mohammad joined peace process along with his 12 fighters in Keshk-e-Rabat district. The Taliban leader was mostly operating against the Afghan government in Keshk, Keshk-e-Rabat-e-Sangi and Torghundi port highway and joined peace process on Saturday…

*Kabaddi takes centre stage for Pakistan and India, SAMN, November 4, 2012

 As long-frozen cricket ties between Pakistan and India thaw, the two arch-rivals are also hoping this weekend's Kabaddi Asia Cup can bring the countries closer together….For Indian team manager Gurmail Singh, the harmony and brotherly spirit of kabaddi is what matters most. "We are here as ambassadors of India," said Gurmail as his team were given a rousing welcome at the Wagah border crossing…

*Pakistan to allow import of Indian agricultural goods, SMN, November 2, 2012

 Islamabad is set to allow the use of land transportation to import agricultural goods from India, a move that would likely boost trade in food between the two countries and is vehemently opposed by farmers' lobbies in Pakistan. According to a report in a Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune, the federal cabinet has already decided to grant most-favoured nation status to India, which simply means that Pakistan will not discriminate against Indian goods compared to imports from other countries. The MFN status will be implemented by the end of December. The liberalisation of the agriculture trade is expected to come before the cabinet once again before that deadline…*SAARC CCI hails Pakistan's decision to ratify visa regime, SAMN, November 3, 2012

 Vikramjit Singh Sahnay, president of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Saarc CCI), on Friday welcomed the decision of the Pakistan cabinet to ratify the Pakistan-India visa regime agreement, according to a statement. In a message sent to Iftikhar Ali Malik, vice president of the Saarc CCI, Pakistan chapter, Sahnay said that it is a bold and historic decision by Pakistan to simplify the cumbersome procedure for the grant of visa with a view to promote people-to-people contact, it said…*Pak-India peace conference today, SAMN, October 19, 2012

A one-day Pak-India peace conference is being held today (Friday) at Lahore Press Club to promote friendly relations between the two countries. A 40-member Indian journalists' delegation arrived here in the City on Thursday to take part in the peace moot on the invitation of Lahore Press Club (LPC). President, LPC, Arshad Ansari and members of the governing body welcomed the visiting guests at Wahga border amid beat of drums and songs by folk singers. President Chandigarh Press Club, Sukhbir Baajwa and President Delhi Press Club Anil Aanand are leading the delegation from India which also includes four lady journalists…*(India) PM, Karzai to hold talks on regional security situation, PTI, October 19, 2012

 Regional security situation and other key bilateral issues between India and Afghanistan will be discussed during the talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 12. Though the exact itinerary has not been finalised so far, the Afghan president, who will also deliver the annual Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad annual lecture on November 11, is expected to stay for a couple of days in the country, official sources said…

October 2012 - Afghanistan Mobile Phone News

--Etisalat has successfully rolled out its electricity bill payment program to 2,000 customers and aims to have 300,000 in Kabul by the end of the year.


--Afghan Wireless (AWCC) will introduce a mobile money product built on NFC "touchless" technology. The service will allow customers to conduct transactions simply by waving their handsets over a point of sale device at a local shop.  Roll-out is schedule for late 2012/early 2013. 


--Roshan recently became the third Afghan telecom to offer 3G services after Etisalat and MTN. Business Monitor International estimates 50,000 3G subscribers in Afghanistan currently and predicts 1 million by 2016. 


--Roshan's M-Paisa continues to revolutionize microfinance in Afghanistan with partner bank Mutahid. Some 1,200 clients now receive and repay loans without the danger and expense of traveling with cash.  Mutahid is expanding the program to five additional provinces, including Herat.*India-Pakistan border trade may see a boom, SAMN, October 16, 2012

 The Attari-Wagah international land border between India and Pakistan in Punjab has been witness to two wars and has troopers guarding it round the clock, but things could change for the better in 2013 as trade through the crossing is set to expand.

Pakistan has agreed to allow trading of up to 6,000 items from the current 137 via the land border route. This means that trade between both countries could go up by at least five times in the next three years…

*Fast-track business: Fresh move for speedier India-Pakistan trade, SAMN, Oct 15, 2012

Pakistani authorities have decided to enhance the existing capacity of resources and manpower to ensure fast-tracked trade between Pakistan and India. Thereby, customs officials at the Wagah border are instructed to perform their duties round-the-clock in three shifts, starting from today, The Express Tribune has learnt. The decision was taken at an inter-departmental meeting held at the Wagah border…

*Supporters of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), attend a rally to condemn the attack on 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot last Tuesday by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Tens of thousands rallied in Pakistan's largest city Sunday in support of a 14-year-old girl who was shot and critically wounded by the Taliban for promoting girls' education and criticizing the militant group. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)Thousands rally for Pakistani girl shot by Taliban, Associated Press, October 14, 2012

  KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Tens of thousands rallied in Pakistan's largest city Sunday in support of a 14-year-old girl who was shot and critically wounded by the Taliban for promoting girls' education and criticizing the militant group. The demonstration in the southern city of Karachi was by far the largest since Malala Yousufzai and two of her classmates were shot on Oct. 9 while returning home from school in Pakistan's northwest….Many of the demonstrators carried the young girl's picture and banners praising her bravery

*Pak holds special prayers for teenage rights activist, PTI, October 12, 2012

Special prayers and vigils were held at mosques and educational institutions across Pakistan on Friday for the recovery of teenage rights activist Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head during an assassination attempt by the Taliban. The attack on the 14-year-old who led a campaign for the education of girls has triggered anger and revulsion across Pakistan, and even some right wing politicians perceived as being soft on the Taliban have said that the incident went against Islamic ideals….The governments of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces urged people to observe the day as 'Youm-e-Dua' (day of prayer)…

*Afghan students to offer prayers for Malala Yousafzai, SAMN, October 13, 2012

A day after the nation observed Yaum-e-Dua for an early and full recovery of Malala Yousafzai, the Afghan government has announced that prayers will be held across the country on Saturday (today) for the 14-year-old girl, the Afghan embassy said on Friday….Shams Zardasht, the Afghan embassy spokesman, told The Express Tribune that in light of the brutal attack on her, the Afghan government has decided to express solidarity with the people of Pakistan and Malala's family…

 *Pakistani, Indian banks may start cross-border work in March, October 11, 2012

Banks in Pakistan and India have been advised to complete documentation required to open branches in each other's countries by November 30, says Minister (Trade) at the High Commission of Pakistan in India Naeem Anwar…. The opening of bank branches is expected to facilitate trade between the two countries and is part of a series of steps designed to normalise economic relations, a process initiated in December 2010…and expressing solidarity…

 *Pak, India capable of resolving issues bilaterally: (Pak) FO, SAMN, October 12, 2012

Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan on Thursday said India and Pakistan were capable enough to address issues between them, including Kashmir, bilaterally…

Octomber 5, 2012

Pakistan allows extra 200,000 tonnes of sugar exports to India, SAMNr

Traders from neighouring India are showing interest in the sugar as prices there are much higher than in Pakistan….Pakistan will allow exports of 200,000 tonnes of sugar on top of the 300,000 tonnes already permitted, a producers' body said, as it looks to trim surplus stocks and bolster domestic prices…

August 26, 2012

Normalization of Indo-Pak ties vital for peace: Pak PM, R. Kashmir

Rawalpindi, Aug 25: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Saturday said normalization of relations between India and Pakistan holds key to peace and prosperity of the millions of poverty stricken people of the two countries. While commenting on the recently concluded successful visit of a Pakistani parliamentary delegation to India, Gilani said that such visits were of paramount importance to build bridges between the people on sustainable basis encompassing mutual respect and mutual interest…

August 17, 2012

India to offer fresh trade sops to Pakistan

In a move to help promote trade and bilateral ties with Pakistan, the government is set to slash 30% items or 254 products from the sensitive list under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta) with the Cabinet set to consider the proposal on Friday. As part of pruning the list for non-least developed countries, which includes Sri Lanka, India plans to reduce peak customs duty on these products to 5% over three years. Eventually, the sensitive list for least developed countries like Bangladesh and Nepal is to be merged with the one for NLDCs and reduced to 25 alcohol and tobacco-based products…

August 15, 2012

VIDEO: Sare Jahan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara  

Penned before the 1947 Partition by Sir Muhammad Iqbal, a well-known Punjabi philosopher, poet, and politician in British India, this video is a Harp production with vocals by Smriti Caprihan & Mukund, and is directed by Anhad Kashyap & Achint Setia.

Candlelight vigil on Pakistan, India border today, SAMN, August 14, 2012

South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), Hind Pak Dosti Manch and Folklore Research Academy are set to hold a candlelight vigil on August 14 on the Indo-Pak border at Wagah for promoting harmony between the two countries….(General Secretary, Hind Pak Dosti Manch Satnam) Manak said that people on both the sides turned up for the march at the Attari check post on August 14 at 12.00 am…

August 14, 2012

Afghans Olympic medalist warmly welcomed home

KABUL, (Xinhua) -- The inciting Afghans awarded red-carpet welcome to Olympic medallist Rohullah Nikpa who returned home on Tuesday as thousands of people waited in long queue at Kabul International Airport.

A long convoy of motorcades and horse riders were slowly moving on the road leading to the airport to welcome the medallist. The roads as well as government building were seen decorated with the pictures of the Nikpa and banners inscribed with slogans encouraging sport and athletes.

Afghan taekwondo player, Rohullah Nikpa, was the first Afghan athlete who had won bronze medal in Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and secured again bronze in London Olympics 2012 on Aug. 9.

Hundreds of people were accompanying their athletes from airport to Kabul sport stadium, where thousands of people were waiting to welcome them.

The emotional and happy fans were chanting "Thank you for win", "Victory is yours," and "Afghanistan, Afghanistan" when meeting the players at the stadium.

The Afghan parliament is going to formally appreciate Nikpa and his team on Wednesday; while sport fan and businessmen will also award the Olympic medallist privately.

A six-member Afghan team which includes Rohullah Nikpa and Nisar Ahmad Bahawi in taekwondo, Masoud Azizi and Tahmina Kohistani the only female in the team in running, Aimal Faisal and Ajmal Faizi Zada in boxing and judo represented Afghanistan in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

August 13, 2012

NEW DELHI -- SpiceJet Ltd. said it will start direct non-stop flights to Kabul from Aug. 14, becoming the first private airline in India to fly to the capital of Afghanistan.

The flights between New Delhi and Kabul will initially run for three days a week, said India's second-biggest budget airline by market share.

National carrier Air India is currently the only Indian carrier that has flights to Afghanistan.

Kabul will be the fourth international destination for SpiceJet, adding to Colombo, Kathmandu, and Dubai.

In addition to SpiceJet Ltd, Ariana Afghan Airlines, Air India, Kam Airways, and Safi Airways have non-stop flights between New Delhi and Kabul. Ariana Afghan Airlines also operates a non-stop flight between New Delhi and Kandahar, Afghanistan,

Wall Street Journal

August 12, 2012

Ramzan brings taste of India's finest sweets to Pakistan, GK News, August 12, 2012
Rawalpindi, Every year during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan, the Indian High Commission in Pakistan mounts an operation with military-like precision to spread goodwill and give Pakistanis a taste of some of India's finest sweets. A small group of staff members of the High Commission travels from Rawalpindi to Delhi in a van to bring back hundreds of boxes packed with kaju katlis, sohan halwa and barfis and cans of rasgollas, cham chams and gulab jamuns. The sweets are then distributed among a diverse group that includes ministers, politicians, military officers, academics, civil society activists and journalists in the week before the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr. From Rawalpindi, sweets are also sent to people in Karachi and Lahore….The distribution of sweets was not stopped even when bilateral relations were affected by events like the 2008 Mumbai attacks…

August 6, 2012

Indian team in Pakistan for power export talks, SAMN

 An Indian power ministry delegation is in Islamabad to negotiate the export of 500 megawatts across the Wagah border and work out the modalities for transmission of electricity to bridge demand and supply gap on either side. If the two sides work out an agreement on the modalities of transfer, it could be signed during external affairs minister SM Krishna's three-day visit to Pakistan from September 7.

Pakistanis, Indians to celebrate Independence Days together for Peace (Worldwide)

 Although many questions remain about 'independence', Indians and Pakistanis every year join hands on Aug 14 and 15 to celebrate each other's Independence Day together and wish each other well. However, since not everyone can be physically present at the border on Aug 14/15, supporters of peace are invited to get together wherever in the world they are, at any time on Aug 14 and 15, and spend a few moments meditating, praying, envisioning peace between India and Pakistan.

Participating groups:

 - Aman ki Asha

 - Institute for Peace and Secular Studies

 - Pray for Peace between India and Pakistan

 - Pakistan Youth Alliance

 - Ummeed-e-Milaap

 - Indo-Pak Peace Media

Association For Communal Harmony In Asia (ACHA)

- Romancing the Border


August 2, 2012

India, Pakistan artistes to celebrate Independence Day at Munabao, August 14 & 15, 2012

In an effort to send out a message of peace and harmony, folk artists, social workers and other eminent personalities from both the countries are set to take part in the Independence Day celebrations on August 14-15 at Munabao, the border village in Jaisalmer district. The event, a first at the Rajasthan border, is a brainchild of Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy and social activist Nikhil Dey. They said that folk artists residing in Thar Desert of Barmer-Jaisalmer play Neembuda-Neembuda, Kesaria Balam including other famous folk songs, which the folk artists of Sindh area across the border also play.

South Asia Media Link

August 2, 2012

Pakistani official sacked after polishing shoes in India

Mohammad Khursheed Khan, a deputy attorney general in Peshawar, who aimed at creating inter-faith harmony by polishing shoes of worshipers at different temples and gurdwaras in India and Pakistan, has been removed from office.

Times of India News Link

August 1, 2012

India formally allows foreign investment from Pakistan

India on Wednesday overturned its ban on foreign investment from Pakistan in a move designed to build goodwill amid a renewed push for a peace settlement between the two neighbors.

“The government of India has reviewed the policy… and decided to permit a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan to make investments in India,” said a statement from the Indian commerce ministry.

July 30, 2012

India to send wheat to Kabul via Pakistan, SAMN,

India is all set to send another 150 thousand tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan through Karachi port even as it finalises escalated financial approvals to restart the work at the Salma hydroelectric and irrigation dam project - built over Hari river at Chisti Sharif in the country's Herat province. With the external affairs ministry setting up the new Development Projects Administration (DPA) wing solely to monitor India-aided projects, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka have become New Delhi's focus areas in the sub-continent…

July 30, 2012

SAARC Chamber pushes for visa ease to boost trade, SAMN

 In a letter to Chidambaram, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Vikramjit Sahney said the present SAARC visa exemption scheme (SVES) is "extremely restrictive" on the movement of Indian and Pakistani businessmen…."Visa liberalisation between India and Pakistan are important to boost trade and investment between the countries. Already both the sides have taken so many steps to boost economic ties," Sahney said…ury.

July 28, 2012

President invites Indian PM Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan, APP 

ISLAMABAD, July 27 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday formally invited Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan saying it would provide an opportunity to the two leaderships to take stock of bilateral relations….The President in his letter also suggested to the Indian Prime Minister to visit his ancestral hometown on the occasion of birthday celebration of Baba Guru Nanak Sahib…

July 27, 2012

India, Pakistan friendship inevitable: Krishna, SAMN

Indian External Affairs Minister SM…Krishna said that after reaching an understanding on some sensitive issues in the recent past, friendship was inevitable for the two countries. He called upon India and Pakistan to be more realistic and appreciative of each other's intentions."It is necessary for both India and Pakistan to realise that we do not gain anything in conducting an acrimonious debate, a slanging match. On the other hand, we have everything to gain from people of both the countries, that if we can be more realistic and if we can be more understanding, if we can be more appreciative of each other's intent," he said…

July 26, 2012

Traders urge India, Pakistan to restore Sindh-Rajasthan rail link, SAMN

India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IPCCI) President S M Munir has urged the governments of Pakistan and India to restore the old Sindh Rajasthan rail route for cargo service and also open up all trade routes that exist in 1965. Emphasising the need for improving railway connectivity between India and Pakistan, he said the railway connectivity between the two countries for cargo movement was highly irregular and suffered from shortage of wagons and lake of coordination between the Pakistani and Indian railway authorities…














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