PICTURES

Read all about the good news... for peace

On Jan 1, 2010, our readers woke up with a message of peace between India and Pakistan on the front page of The Times of India. So did the readers of Jang and The News in Pakistan.

That was when Aman ki Asha, a campaign co-authored by The Times of India and The Jang group - Pakistan's largest media house - was born.

"Aman ki Asha" means hope for peace, and it seeks to foster people contact between the two countries through positive media stories, music concerts featuring singers from both sides performing together, meetings of soldiers, and cricket tournaments.

Thanks to the campaign, the community of those yearning for peace has become a stronger and closely knit constituency connecting Lahore, Karachi, Delhi, Mumbai, London and Dubai.

After Pakistani Sufi singers Abida Parveen and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan thrilled audiences in Delhi and Mumbai, scholars and editors have criss-crossed the border, discussing ways to goad governments into restarting the peace dialogue and easing travel and trade curbs.

Surveys show that Aman ki Asha has improved Indians' and Pakistanis' perceptions about each other. The campaign also strengthens - and is strengthened by - NGOs that have been laying the groundwork for years, and energises people from both sides to work for peace.