Aman ki asha is a new peace initiative started by the two prominent media groups – The Times of India in India and The Jang Group in Pakistan. This initiative was created as a result of a public opinion survey they conducted in India and Pakistan in January, 2010. This survey indicated that 72% of Pakistanis and 66% of Indians expressed that they wanted “peaceful relations between the two countries”. (The lower percentage of peace backers in India is reflective of the wounds inflicted by the 26/11 terrorist activities in Mumbai). The aim of this movement is for people to take charge of the peace process, rather than leaving it to the politicians alone, by shaping public opinion through the exchange of people and ideas between Pakistan and India.
In a joint statement, the media group said: “Public opinion is far too potent a force to be left in the hands of narrow vested interests. The people of today must find its voice and force the rulers to listen. The awaam (people) must write its own placards and fashion its own slogans. The leader must learn to be led and not blindly followed”.
In July, 2010, Aman ki asha initiated two well-represented joint conferences in Delhi: a Pakistan/India business and industry conference, and a “Water is Life” conference on the disputed Indus River water usage between the two countries.
Aman ki asha has been welcomed by the intelligentsia and the general public in both countries. Well-known film personalities, such as India’s Amitabh Buchan and Pakistan’s actress Zeba Begum, are also actively supporting this movement.