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Starting in Amritsar, ending in Lahore; all set for SAFMA meet

HT Correspondent  Amritsar, January 04, 2013
First Published: 19:09 IST(4/1/2013) | Last Updated: 19:37 IST(4/1/2013)

Starting in Amritsar and concluding in Lahore, the Eighth South Asian free Media Conference that aims at 'South Asian Vision and Union', kicks off in the holy city on January 6.

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With over 250 delegates from the South Asian expected to participate in the conference organised by South Asian free Media association (SAFMA), external affairs minister Salman Khurshid will be the chief guest on the inaugural day.


Addressing mediapersons at a press conference, Imtiaz Alam, Secretary General SAFMA said, "Ever since start, the focus of the SAFMA has been to stress on peace building, regional cooperation in the South Asian Nations. And this time too the theme of the conference is 'South Asian Vision and Union."

Giving details, Alam said, "Starting in Amritsar and then walking across the border to Lahore for concluding the SAFMA meet, is an effort to give a clear signal we want regional peace and open borders."

During the conference the delegates will be focusing on key areas of interest for the South Asian Region and talks and discussions will take place on a wide range of issues.

Alam said, "On January 6, Indian Union external affairs minister Salman Khurshid will be present as chief guest whereas Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal will be the guest of honour."

The inaugural day will see lectures being delivered on 'South Asia: Open Borders, Open minds', 'South Asia: the Vision of Peace'. There will be discussion son issues such as 'The media's role in peace and cooperation' and 'Terrorism, extremism and inter/intrastate conflict'.

On January 7, the delegates will walk over to Pakistan through the Attari Border road route and on January 8, a discussion will be held on 'A South Asian Vision for Economic Union'.

Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will also participate in the part of the conference in Lahore.

There will be sessions on 'Human Rights, Minorities and Women in South Asia' and 'The Media, Peace and Cooperation in South Asia'.

SAFMA secretary general Imtiaz Alam said, "We have always been demanding that there must be an increased people to people contact and exchange programmes in the South Asian countries. We will continue with our efforts and it is for the governments of various nations to implement the outcomes of the SAFMA meet," he added.

Alam also stressed that a two-year multiple visa for journalists of this region will also be sought during the upcoming meet.

In all 250 delegates from India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan will participate.

Key speakers from India, Pakistan and other nations will be taking part in discussions and also delivering lectures in the meet.  

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