Visa restriction is one of the bottlenecks for academic exchange programmes between India and Pakistan, according to members participating in an Indo-Pak dialogue. The dialogue was organised by the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR), Mumbai, in collaboration with the Lahore University of Management Studies (LUMS), here on Monday.

The two organisations are working on a one-year project on ‘Common interests and a common future: exploring India and Pakistan partnership’.

Speaking about academic collaboration between the two countries, Sushobha Barve, executive director, CDR, said the Pro-Chancellor of Lahore University had pointed out that they had faculty and interns from India but their students had problems finding similar opportunities in India.

Beena Manzar, senior education committee member and academic coordinator, Sanjan Nagar School, Lahore, said: “The problems are mainly visa and logistics related…they are at the government and political level.”

Participants stressed on engaging students to bridge the communication gap between the countries. “Geographical boundaries are a reality, but we need to transcend them. We need to celebrate diversity (in Pakistani schools and colleges) and engage people at the grassroots level,” Ms. Manzar added.

Adnan Mobin, Deputy Director, Sindh Education Foundation, Karachi, also said the change should begin with education as “The perception of a child about the world is through education.”

To a query, Ms. Barve said as part of the project, representatives of middle schools and urban environmental groups from Karachi, Mumbai, Lahore and Amritsar (16 from each country) have started sharing concerns and best practice experiments.

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