Bassam Javed The dawn of the New Year brought good tidings in joining hands by the two biggest media groups of India and Pakistan to work towards bringing peace between the two South Asian nuclear powers. This huge initiative titled Aman Ki Asha, will build on educating the respective masses of huge benefits that a sustained peace would accrue for them. While doing so, the core and non-core issues that have marred the mutual relationship for the last 62 years will be worked upon to end decades old rivalry. Surely, the need for aman between the two countries has never been greater. There is a dire need of giving peace a fighting chance to break this unending cycle of on and off tensions that many a times potentially lead to actuation of war between the two nuclear armed nations. We, the people of both nations, must not let ourselves play in the hands of war-mongers, who want nothing more than to keep the two nations vying to cut each others throats and condemn our future generations to amaranthine dissidence. Interestingly, it is not the first in the series of such initiatives. There have been several efforts at Track II people-to-people diplomacy and whatever happened in each such inter action and the process therein remained hidden from the public eyes. Since these actions were never institutionalised, therefore, there have been more interruptions rather than continuity due to frequent episodes of violence and terror in each others country. The present scenario presents a sordid tale of events post partition of the subcontinent that have held hostage the friendly relationship between the two countries. The Indian mindset is yet to come to terms to accept Pakistans reality. The partitioning of the subcontinent still remains an unacceptable fact with the Indians for the last six decades that needs to be outdone. It is for this reason that both the countries have fought four wars, continue to trade cross border heavy fire and view each other with suspicion and hostility. The continuous involvement of India in Pakistani areas of FATA and Balochistan to foment violence from across the border in Afghanistan, confirms what Pakistan has believed for quite sometime that the Indian intelligence agency 'RAW is actively involved in financing and supporting Taliban who regularly carry out attacks on Pakistani troops and civilians in the main cities of Pakistan. There are strong reasons to believe in Pakistan that these rented mercenaries are being exploited officially or semi-officially as proxies in an undeclared low-intensity war against Pakistan. Still, the initiative seized by the two media groups could not have come at a better time given the downward spiral of Indo-Pakistan tense relationship. The latest evidence that gives credence to the volatile relationship is the continuing war of words between the two armed rivals. In promoting the Indian 'cold war strategy, the Indian chief of the army staff recently revealed that the India army is now revising its five-year-old doctrine to effectively meet the challenges of a possible 'two-front war with China and Pakistan. The silence of the international community on the jingoistic remarks of an Indian general specially in this tense environment when Pakistan and the world grapples over how to take this against terrorism to a logical end, tantamount to supporting India against China and Pakistan. This arrogance on the part of the west gives credence to the perceptions that it wants to nurture India to check China. The U-turn by the defence establishment on its trumpeted withdrawal of troops from Kashmir, no signs of let up in state sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and unleashing a wave of terror in Assam, attempts to starve Pakistan of its due share on the water flows, the recent Indian foreign secretarys remarks on Pakistan and a rude snub to Pakistani cricketers in 2010 Indian Premier League auction speak of the high-handedness that is being continuously meted out to Pakistan to try to humiliate and subjugate Pakistan under its dictum. Also, the participants of conference of India and Pakistan peace activists titled A Road Map Towards Peace in New Delhi recently, witnessed a sad and tumultuous moment when a group of Kashmiri Hindu pundits created a ruckus protesting the presence of JKLF Chief Yasin Malik in the conference. Yasin Malik did not mince words when he said that it was all done at the behest of the Indian intelligence agencies who are working overnight to foil any attempt by the saner elements to try to bring India and Pakistan closer. This interruption a routine one, is not new. Earlier also when Pakistani scholars went into a conference at New Delhi, ruckus had also taken place and Pakistani scholars got a clear cut message at that time that they would not be welcome in India be it the cricketers, academicians, scholars or in whatever form they come to India. Still, the sadder part observed during the time the conference was taking place was the total oblivion of the Government of India that did not take any notice of the three-day event that took place right under its nose. This is the difference between the official and non-official initiatives. What can we make of Aman Ki Asha initiative, only time will tell? Today, the Composite Dialogue Process effectively stands stalled, despite tremendous sustained efforts were put in by the two sides. The Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration that had the blessings of the two respective prime ministers has also been scuttled due to the inherent rejection by the Indian establishment of better ties with Pakistan. The very conviction of the masses in Pakistan that mutual effort of the two media groups would also not provide any conduit to establish any better relationships between the two countries. The front page news item published by the Times of India the co-sponsor of Aman ki Asha unethically titled, US-Pakistan bickering gets ugly as ISI fingers American diplomats reflects a tiny piece of the double standards which in the coming days will only unfold to the detriment of the effort. The Indian media is a borne proponent of the Indian foreign policy agenda therefore; it cannot take a different route. The Indian media needs to show the intent with action or the campaign started with so much of fanfare is simply destined to yet another failure. India needs to come to terms with Pakistan as its 'no talks mantra has become a total counterproductive in whatever it is demanding. There is a rule of law in this country and nobody can be taken to gallows without sufficient evidence. By this childlike stand of not talking to the neighbours for the benefit of peace by one of the biggest democracies of the world has catapulted both the countries to slide further apart rapidly than one could imagine. The vacuum thus created has only fuelled jingoist pronouncements by the Indian agencies and the rhetoric is not serving anybodys interests. To put a stop to the unending mistrust there is a need of restraint from all quarters not to indulge into the game of accusations and exploiting events that otherwise could be presented before the respective masses in more of positive overtures and tones. Media in both the countries has a role to play to effectively contribute in the pursuit of subcontinental peace and harmony. Negativities apart, the initiative of Aman ki Asha is a welcome step in bringing the people of the two countries closer through mobilisation of popular pressure for peace and seek to create conducive environment to enable conditions for resumption of the stalled dialogue and its consequent success. The writer is a freelance columnist.