South Asia has been lagging behind other regions in every aspect because of tensions between Pakistan and India. If they join hands to foster peace, they can make immense progress, former education minister Mian Imran Masood said at conference at the Punjab University on Monday.
The PU’s Department of History had organised an international conference on Socio-Economic and Cultural Relations between India and Pakistan. The inaugural session was presided over by Vice Chancellor Mujahid Kamran and Masud was the chief guest.
Kamran urged historians to write history based on facts.
Prof Zhon Rong from Jiangsu Normal University, China, in his keynote speech, discussed the potential of investment and joint ventures between India, Pakistan and China. He said the opportunities were great and could only be exploited if there was peace in the region.
Masud appreciated gestures for peace by the governments of India and Pakistan.
LUMS Professor Muhammad Waseem discussed the problems and prospects of peace between India and Pakistan. He said the problems were not limited to the governmental level, but in fact serious psychological and mental constructs among the people created serious barriers and constraints for peace.
He said there was an urgent need to de-contextualise the situation. “Academic discourses should dispose of the meta-narratives glorifying themselves and vilifying the ‘other’,” he said.
The inaugural session was followed by three academic sessions. They focused on Economic and Socio-Cultural cooperation in South Asia, Shared Memories, Partition and Communal Relations and Peace, Religion and Mysticism. Fifteen scholars presented their papers. The conference will continue till Wednesday, November 27.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2013.
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