Farheen Chaudhry has a Masters in International Relations and is a renowned writer, playwright, poet, director and advertiser in Pakistan. She has previously been an anchor for state TV and FM Radio and has served as Station Head of 2 channels from Islamabad. In addition she has been Director Production with Manhattan International, Director Production with Evernew Group, and Producer with Lok Virsa. She has recently started her own NGO and production set up, LACS. She was selected Goodwill Ambassador for Peace by the Good Governance Forum, an UN-registered 30 years old think tank. She has writing and directing credits for numerous popular serials and documentaries. She has published 4 books with another 3 in the pipeline. She has also participated in and spoken at numerous conferences and seminars on national and international forums.

South Asia, a region rich in cultural, human and natural resource, with a diverse terrain, is nothing less than a wonderland on the face of Earth.

Having a deep rooted cultural history, South Asia always enjoyed the pivotal role among global civilizations. Due to its vital geopolitical standings, ancient trade routes, grand cities and structures still standing today give evidence of the potential South posseses.

A region diversified in terms of culture, race religion by settlers from foreign lands and conquerors from various regions, South Asia is a civilization emerged on the basis of harmony and mutual tolerance. A civilization where people learned to live together under the sole banner of humanity, where people learned to prosper together. The same message was carried on from the times of the Indus civilization to the Sufi way of life. Whenever and however the region progressed, the key was to keep interfaith harmony as a top priority ahead of all.

So was the time of Mughal Empire, when a minority ruled a majority with peace for 1000 years. The peak of Mughal Empire came during the regn of Akber the great, whose interfaith courtesy reached an extent, even creating a new religion Dine e Elahi, to please all religious communities of the region.

Prosperity and abundance of all kind of resources of the region, gave it the title of Golden Sparrow. Then came the Western powers. The region’s strength was interfaith unity, matchless prosperity and development in art and science.

For anybody with their eyes set on the Golden sparrow, this united strength was a hurdle, to loot the golden sparrow they had to break this unity, divide and rule was their strength and our weakness.

They divided the region on basis of culture, linguistics and religion and we saw this unity and prosperity wither away slowly as the division started taking its course with the decline of harmony, for this we had to pay the price of separation.

The pain of separation may have physical and psychological impacts, it is a mutual pain we all share, it is a pain with a cure and the cure for us lies in tolerance for each other , we have to believe in time as a great healer . Believe in evolution as a great teacher, which tells us that to give history a new turn we have to evolve and comfort each other’s pain in order for the region to progress together

Once East Pakistan, Bangladesh stands an independent and sovereign state as acknowledged by Pakistan in 1974 along with99 other countries. Pakistan and Bangladesh have had their ups and downs, Pakistan had left commonwealth of nations when it extended membership to Bangladesh as the wounds were very fresh in those times. Bangladesh demanded apology from Pakistan for war crimes committed by Pakistan army and Pakistan army was annoyed by close ties of India and Bangladesh. China along with Middle eastern countries had refused to recognize Bangladesh in 1972 and chin’s veto helped Pakistan get release of 90’s POWs and return of troops on pre-war positions, that was the past and now we have to find our tomorrow together. India, a developing strong power in the region has a vital role to play in the process of peace for mutual benefits

Bilateral relations based on peace and mutual cordiality arising from warm wishes and aiming for goodwill are important between Pakistan and Bangladesh for progress and growth hand in hand

Elimination and ignorance towards negative elements which try to scratch buried issues of the past, scratching wounds and not letting them heal for their own hidden agendas has to be stressed on now

Time does heal all wounds, the pain of separation maintains its dull throb, but life must go on, there is a swell of goodwill and wishes have bound in our hearts for its progress, development and growth . With a strong and distinct Muslim identity Bangladesh has a bright future , but for the elements which are active to cash on buried bitter issues of the past , they have to be defeated now .

Steps and gestures of goodwill have been exchanged between Pakistan and Bangladeshin the past decades . such was the visit of Sheikh Mujeeb – ur –Rehman to Lahore for organization of the Islamic conference , in which Bangladesh withdrew ban on some pro-Pakistan organizations on the other hand Pakistan extended recognition to Bangladesh when Z.A.Bhutto visited Bangladesh in June 1974 to pay homage to war memorial SAWAR UPAZILA , certain agreements related to mutual economic growth and interests of Bangladesh and Pakistan took place regarding pre-war debts and a good note was exchanged

Relations improved a lot during the times of Zia-u-Rehman ,HussainM.Ershad in Bangladesh . Since 1980s five Pakistani heads of state visited Bangladesh to improve trade and cultural activities between the two countries

Zia-ul-Haq’s visit to Bangladesh in 1985 was a memorable good note when he said “ Your heroes are our heroes “ sending a message of friendship . then also came GeneralPervaiz Musharraf’s visit in 2002 where his words “ Your brothers and sisters in Pakistan share the pain of events of 1971” tell of the love and care we have for each other. Landmarks in friendship also include the visits of Bangladesh’s president Ershadhussain and PM Sheikh Hasina to Pakistan in 1986 and 1998

Status and return of Biharis , is also an issue that took rise because of the mistakes and wounds of the past . almost half a million migrated from Indian Bihar to formerly East Pakistan in 1947 . in the war of 1971 they supported and wanted to migrate from what is now Bangladesh to Pakistan . according to statistics of 1992 , 127000 Biharis had been repatriated but 250,000 still wait for the issue to be resolved and wish to migrate to Pakistan

Both countries have certain financial issues as well , like Pakistan suffered a lot due to Afghan war and settlement of millions of IDPs was a grave issue to administer . Common issues may have common solutions too

We only need an analytical , transparent and authentic process to unearth the truth with a positive sincere approach . such truths can break open the shackles that have restrained the growth of bilateral relations . It is essential to define and monitor the roles of non-state actors critically which are active in the region

Certain bitter realities , burning feelings are there , both sides suffered across the border financially , emotionally and socially , we have to look back and ask ourselves about what we have gained ? same social issues , same economic issues , same political instability , same religious , linguistic , regional differences have added waves of terrorism..

Then why don’t we try to search for our common enemy? Which is nothing else but ignorance and poverty..lack of awareness..

We have to separate and differentiate between myth and reality .we are not differentiating between friend and foe properly right now..Lets think and act in the broader spectrum for a new road map to peace for South Asia and choose the path of peace and forgiveness . In this process exchange of feelings and thoughts of intellectuals and youth acroos the border have significant value and a vital role to play.

If the Berlin wall proved to be breakable just by a simple hard effort , If Europe , for the sake of prosperity and peace can forget 2000 years of differences and blood shed . Why cant South Asians ?who are born of the same soil and are heirs to the same culture and values from millions of years .. we are bound to inherit and transfer a beautiful , peaceful homeland for the coming generations

The break up of 2 wings of Pakistan is now history , history to learn a lesson from , It need not be global prospects for common growth and development of both nations

A true conciliation can only emerge if both sides , rather all nations in the region boldly face the past , forgive the perpetrators on either sides and bury the bitterness forever and accept each other as brothers and sisters , as good neighbors , respecting each others sovereignty