Lauding the efforts of the South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) to improve ties between countries in the region, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said it is the media that will break the ice between neighbouring nations and we all shall relish the water of that ice.
Inaugurating the 8th Safma Conference in Amritsar on Sunday, Khurshid said there are many aspirations and demands of Safma that have not been fulfiled yet it has not lost hope and has constantly been working for betterment in the South Asian region.
“We look forward to a day when a people can have breakfast in one country, lunch in the other country and dinner in another country of the region,” Khurshid said, adding, “We look forward to the day when even the cabin crews of airlines in the region understand each other’s language and culture.”
Referring to the new visa regime between India and Pakistan, Khurshid said, “Jab mian-biwi raazi to kya karega qazi”, implying that when the people of both countries are ready to meet, there’s little the governments can do (to stop them).
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who also addressed the gathering, responded to Khurshid’s remark by saying, “Mian-biwi to razi hain, ab qazi dekhe kya karna hai”, implying that the people are willing to meet but it’s up to the governments to see how to facilitate the process.
A nostalgic Badal, who recalled his college days in Lahore, said, “It is time the union government steps up efforts to remove all walls to enable people in the region to visit each other without any difficulty.”