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India: Media Reports on Nirmala Deshpande Memorial Award Events - Patiala 17 October 2013

19 October 2013

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Hindustan Times

SAARC must work asregional association,not country specific’
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Patiala, October 17, 2013

With South Asian nations facing domination by western countries, delegates from Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on Thursday pressed on strengthening the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to keep the western powers at bay.

Speaking at a seminar on ’Exit of NATO Forces from Afghanistan and its Impact on India and Pakistan’ here on Thursday, delegates were of view that it should be made obligatory for governments and military organisations of various countries to ensure peace at international borders and in their countries as well.

The one-day seminar was organised by the Folklore Research Academy (FRA), Amritsar, in association with the Akhil Bhartiya Rachnatmak Samaj to mark the 84th birth anniversary of peace crusader Nirmala Deshpande at Harpal Tiwana Performing Arts Academy here.

On the occasion, well-known peace crusader and executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karamat Ali was honoured with Didi Nirmala Deshpandey memorial award.

Addressing the seminar, Karamat Ali said for lasting peace and friendly relations, it was paramount for the South Asian countries to stand united and jointly face each other’s problems.

"America’s decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan may pose huge challenges, but it can be mitigated by strengthening of the Saarc. The Saarc should work as region organisation, and not a single country’s organisation," he added.

Karamat further said: "The South Asian countries should adopt austerity measures like signing of no war pact, nuclear weapon-free South Asian zone, deduction of expenditure on purchasing of weapons, to give fundamental rights to people who have migrated from one Saarc nation to another and relaxing visa norms for South Asian countries’ people in order to ensure peace and stability in the region.

On the occasion, several other experts - including South Asian affairs expert Qumur Agha; Ahmad Fahim Hakim from Kabul University; Sarfraz Ahmad from Peshawar University; Sucha Singh Gill, director general, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID); and Kamal Mitra - expressed their opinions.

’Malala deserves more than Nobel Peace prize’

Speaking over Malala Yousafzai - known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley - missing the Noble Peace award, Karamat Ali said: "It’s good that she didn’t win the prize, which is named after a person, Alfred Bernhard Nobel, a chemical engineer, who had creator of dynamite and played important role in the making bofors."

"Malala is like my daughter, and she actually works for peace and rights of people. She deserves more than a Noble Peace prize," he added.

"We have recommended the abolition of Noble Peace Prize, as there are many others, who have actually worked for peace and whose names the peace awards should be named," he said.

Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-schoolgirl, was shot at by Taliban terrorist in Swat valley, Pakistan, in 2012, for speaking for the rights to education for girls and women’s rights. Later she was airlifted to Britain for surgery, and fortunately she survived to tell her tale.

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Times of India

Next Nirmala Deshpande award ceremony to be held in Pakistan
Amaninder Pal Sharma, TNN Oct 18, 2013, 05.50AM IST

PATIALA: At a juncture when both India and Pakistan are involved in bitter border skirmishes along the line of control, the Gandhian philosophy has found some new takers in Pakistan.

Recognizing the works of Nirmala Deshpande, noted Gandhian and nominee for 2005 Nobel peace prize, in bringing warmth in the relations between the two nations, members of the civil society of Pakistan have decided that next year’s "Didi Nirmala Deshpande Memorial Award" ceremony would be held in Pakistan.

For her continuous efforts to bring harmony in Indo-Pak relations, the government of Pakistan posthumously conferred the country’s prestigious Sitara-e-Imtiaz award on her in 2010. Even her mortal remains were immersed in Indus river of Sindh province in Pakistan.

Karamat Ali, director, Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education and Research, who was given this year’s award, said the next award ceremony would be held in Pakistan. "She was enthusiastic about bringing harmony in the relations between the two countries. The award ceremony in the land where she wanted to get her mortal remains immersed would be a real tribute to her and the Gandhian thought," Karamat told TOI.

Karamat was part of the 15-member delegation from Pakistan and Afghanistan, which visited the city to attend the award ceremony and seminar on "Exit of Nato forces from Afghanistan in 2014 and its impact on Indo-Pak relations."

G Sundarava Divelui, vice-president of Akhil Bharatiya Rachnatmak Sangh, one of the organizations which conduct the award ceremony, also said that members of various organizations in Pakistan had agreed to organize next year’s award ceremony in Pakistan.

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Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)

PRESS RELEASE

Karamat Ali receives South Asia Peace & Justice Award

KARACHI, Oct. 20: Karamat Ali, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) has received South Asia Dadi Nirmala Deshpande Peace and Justice Award in Patiala, India on the occasion of a regional seminar on ‘Exist of NATO Forces from Afghanistan and its Impact on India and Pakistan’.

The event was held on the occasion of 84th birth anniversary of Didi Nirmala to pay tribute to her for her role to promote peace in the South Asia region, end extremism and hatred sentiments among the people on October 17 at Patialia.

The inspiring ceremony, organized by Folklore Research Academy Amritsar and Akhil Bharatiya Rachnatemak Samaj, attracted scholars from leading universities, journalists, writers and peace activists from Pakistan, India and Afghanistan to share their thought-provoking opinions regarding the issue, as it has been declared that the NATO forces may start leaving Afghanistan gradually from October 2014.

This prestigious South Asia peace and justice award is given to peace promoting individuals of the region on October 17 every year on the occasion of birth anniversary of Didi Nirmala.

Ahmed Fashim Hakim, a peace activist from Afghanistan, Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy from Jawahar Lal University, Senior jounalist and teacher Qamar Aga from new Delhi, Dr Sarfaraz Ahmed of Area Studies Center Peshawar, Dr Riaz Shaikh of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Social Sciences and Technology (SZABIST) Karachi, Karamat Ali of PILER, Mohammed Tahseen of South Asia Partnership (SAP) Pakistan and others discussed the issues of the entire region linking it to Afghanistan, which is passing through transitional period to sustain peace and development.

The speakers also talked about the role of NATO forces and the US allies in the world and threats to the peace and prosperity in the South Asia region due to their actions.

“In fact it is the issue of war-torn Afghanistan, only the people of that country (Afghanistan) could decide about their future. Pakistan and India should pay heed to their own issues and find permanent resolution of their mutual issues, keeping in mind the peoples’ sentiments,” said Dr Riaz Shaikh of SZABIST.

Pakistan and Indian governments have to come out of this conflict as these neighbouring countries do not have any role to help the people of Afghanistan because of their old political rivalry.

“Pakistan and India should address the issues like trans-boundary Sir Creek, strengthening people-to-people contacts and promoting trade and socio-cultural relationship and let the people of both the countries to come close to each other and remove years-long grievances,” he said.

The other scholars asked both Pakistan and India to start slashing at least 10 percent annual military budget. There should be ‘no-war pact’ within the South Asian nations, as people do not like a nuclear race. They want peace, hence Pakistan and India should announce abolition of war initiatives and take step for demilitarization in the interest of their own people’s prosperity.

Karamat Ali while after receiving the award said: “Since Didi Niramal (Deshpande) was my elder sister, I am proud of this achievement that the South Asian peace promoter friends chose my name for the first award.”
He further said: "The South Asian countries should adopt austerity measures like signing of no war pact, nuclear weapon-free South Asian zone, deduction of expenditure on purchasing of weapons, to give fundamental rights to people who have migrated from one SAARC nation to another and relaxing visa norms for South Asian people in order to ensure peace and stability in the region. The second award distribution ceremony will be held next year in Pakistan.

In the starting Farhat Fatima of PILER read out the paper written by Mr. B.M. Kutty to pay tribute to Didi Nirmala Deshpandey with her role in promoting peace in the South Asia region.

The organizers paying tribute to the Didi, said they want to continue her mission to promote peace in the entire region. They are going to strengthen networks within the people of the states in the South Asia, believing the region needs peace.

At the end, in the evening a cultural show was organized to exhibit the role of artistes in promoting peace and strengthening the relationship on cultural and literature side.

P.S.

The above reports from Hindustan Times, The Times of India are reproduced here for educational and non commercial use

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