We are here to make friends, Pakistani writers M.A. Farooqi and Jamil Ahmed said Thursday on day one of the Jaipur Literature Festival.
“If there is a feeling in India that because of the recent tragic incident, Pakistani writers should not be here, I agree with the sentiment,” said M.A. Farooqi, an acclaimed novelist from Lahore, referring to the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
Farooqi, the author of acclaimed novels like “Between Clay and Dust” and “The Story of a Widow”, added: “I don’t care about literature. I care about people and their feelings... I’m here to make friends.”
Talking to reporters, Farooqi also said that there was no controversy over the arrival of Pakistani delegates to India. “All were given visas.”
His colleague Jamil Ahmed, a retired Pakistani administrator and author of "The Wandering Falcon", said people in both countries were trying to touch low moral grounds.
“Not long ago, people used to try to reach a high moral ground. Now they try to reach for low moral grounds,” Ahmed, who was born in undivided India in Punjab, told journalists.
On anti-Pakistan protests in India, he said similar feelings existed in his country too.
“But I’m also amazed at the feeling of friendship when people of the two countries meet,” Ahmed told IANS.
What mattered more was people-to-people contact, he said.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevek Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party have opposed the presence of Pakistani authors in Jaipur after the recent round of tensions.