Programme received an encouraging launch on August 30 in Mumbai

Students from India and Pakistan have launched a first-of-its-kind initiative called “Ummeed-e-Milaap” to invite opinions on initiating peace. It will be compiled into a 120- page diary and released next year.

The brainchild of Techfest, the annual science and technological festival of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, the venture is partnered by the Lahore University of Management Studies (LUMS) and the Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales (AIESEC), world's largest student-driven organisation.

“Ummeed-e-Milaap” aims at uniting the students of India and Pakistan. “We aim to set an example to the world that students can lead the way in establishing peaceful relations between countries and a hatred-free world,” according to Ronnie Philip of Techfest.

The programme received an encouraging launch on August 30 with over 350 entries from students of 11colleges here. IIT student Anish Sankhe writes, “Let's add every Pakistani Student on Facebook and share our thoughts. I am sure that [the] youth of both these countries thinks positively on the peace process. So friends, Lets remove the hatred, lets spearhead Love.”

Bharat Prabhakar says: “Whatever we do today is gonna be in the history textbooks of tomorrow. It's time we make our generation-Y immortal by taking a stand which no one has ever before.”

The media too came in for criticism. Revanth Raju says: “Media on both sides must act more responsible. The attitude of pointing fingers at your neighbour as soon as a terror strike happens should change; and I think media can play an important role here by spreading the message that a common man across the border faces the same threat as we do, and we must stand united to fight against the common enemy.”

Others demanded that the voice of youth should be heard. Suparna Vivek Gharpure says: “We should have India-Pakistan student meets where we would get to meet and interact with people across the border. It's time we realise that people across the border are also just like you or me! And the youth of both nations should stand up to get counted in this social issue.”

Techfest aims at instilling in the youth of both nations a sense of fraternity. Over 30 colleges will be involved in Mumbai, Lahore and Karachi, and two dairies will be circulated for students in both countries to give their comments. In Mumbai, 11colleges will take part and about 20 in Lahore and Karachi.

From each college, 20 best entries will be selected and pasted in the diary, which will then move on to the next college. Students are required to comment on the peace process and their thoughts on the role of students, media, people-to-people exchanges and their perception of the common people in each country. An online campaign is also being launched where people can write their thoughts in a diary at www.techfest.org/umme

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The diaries from India and Pakistan will be received by Techfest before the festival and an ‘Ummeed-e-Milaap Diary' will be created along with a special section for the best entries from the online campaign.

The diary will be released from January 6 to 8, 2012 and kept for public viewing. In Pakistan, the diary will be kept on display in LUMS during their scientific festival ‘PSIFI'.

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