Washington, July 21 : Indian and Pakistani students currently on a visit to the United States have said that they have a deep desire to know each other better, and believe that the wall of suspicion that prevails in both of their countries needs to be broken down sooner than later.
Keshav Pasari, a member of 14-member Indian team visiting Washington D.C., said that his interactions with his Pakistani counterparts had convinced him that "Books are not a reliable source of information when it comes to India-Pakistan relations."
"If you need information about each other, take it from whichever source you can, but do not trust the books you are taught. I thought Pakistanis were rigid, unreasonable and they hated us. Now I know they do not," The Dawn quoted Keshav, as saying.
Usman Chaudhry, his new friend from Lahore, agreed.
"We should read neutral authors, international experts," he said. eshav and Usman said that their 21-day visit to the United States is proving to be an eye-opener to the potential for improving relations between India and Pakistan.
"I will have to look for another profession because I do not want to fight Usman." Saroj Merani, who teaches journalism at a Bombay college, comes from a Sindhi family whose parents were from Karachi and Rohri. Her students did a research project on Dawn, comparing it with Indian newspapers.
"Things are changing. We are learning to know each other. We have to know each other," said Saroj, who is one of the coordinator's of the group.
"Awesome," said Isbah, a Lahore student, when asked to define her experience. "We need to know each other better."
The programme is organised by a group called Seeds of Peace, formed by a journalist, John Wallach, to promote peace between Arab and Israeli children.
All Indians are from Mumbai and all Pakistanis are from Lahore.