Our Bridge हमारा पुल ہماری پل

a cross-border link for journalists from India and Pakistan



I am the fella, who has the lucky chance to lead the way to learning something journalism and global society.

Our Love For Each Other’s Religion

sindhI opened my eyes in a Hindu village but grew up with Muslims whose families had migrated after wars. I was never told by my parents that if someone is a Muslim, and I should not be friends with them.

The only thing which was a norm was to marry within the same religion. My family is one of the oldest families of our village and that is why I have been part of all the events and decisions of the village.

I remember our family put the first brick of the mosque in our village and to show unity, the Muslim community renovated our temple.

My children and I always celebrate Eid, my wife cooks tasty sweet food for their friends. On Divali, the Muslim children come in our courtyard to play with firecrackers.

My daughters and daughter-in-law are very good at applying Mehndi so our house gets crowded on Chand raat. I have never seen a cow getting slaughtered on Eid in Tharparkar. To perform the ritual, our Muslim friends limit themselves to goats.

I love my village, the unity between the people here and our love for each other’s religion. For me, this is heaven.

#WeAreAllEqual #HOPforPeace

Interview by Mehwish Abbasi


See the story that goes with this picture in Mehwish’s blog


Will We Ever Meet Again?

We were one once

Nikita Sharma

I FELT tears well up in my eyes as soon as Jana Gana Mana was played after Qaumi Taranah, Pakistan’s national anthem, during a presentation by a veteran journalist at an India-Pak dialogue of mediapersons in Colombo.The feeling was contagious. A gathering of 30-odd journalists from both countries struggled to hold back their tears as they stood in reverence and rapt attention.We all knew the trauma the Partition had wreaked on us, and how things stood now. An odd silence, followed by a feeling of despair, descended. For a moment, the wounds of Partition seemed to haunt. Why did it happen at all, I asked myself, for I saw no good in the decision made over seven decades ago. I was sceptical on meeting somebody from the Pak-land. But my apprehensions soon faded, as I started interacting with people from that side of the border. Eureka! We looked similar and spoke the same language! For once, I was unable to make out who was from India and who from Pakistan. Why then was I sceptical?The more I interacted with them, the more connected I felt. A sense of commonness prevailed. I found nothing unusual. After all, we were separated cousins! This made me even sadder. The largest mass killing and migration in human history witnessed the displacement of millions of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh families. It must have been a terrible phase; it brings shudders even now.The five-day conference saw inter-mingling of cultures, tastes and what not. As soon as the day’s discussion would end, the teams would go out to explore the city, and sit by the beach at night. Enthusiastically, those from India made known to their Pakistan counterparts their admiration for legendary Pakistan singers — Abida Parveen, Ghulam Ali Khan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mehdi Hassan, among others. They sang with their heart and the Colombo beach absorbed the anguish. But those from Pakistan were a step ahead when it came to their knowledge of Indian music and Bollywood. A journalist’s wife, who accompanied him from Karachi, confessed that she missed Indian television soaps as their favourite channels had been blocked in Pakistan.It was the last day and we were to get certificates. The atmosphere was sombre, not knowing when we would meet again, if at all. Bidding adieu was tough. Some contained their tears, while others let them flow.Questions began forming in my mind — will we ever meet? Will we ever witness India-Pak bonhomie? All I remember are the tears of separation. This sentiment, I know, was felt by all. Mr Modi and Mr Sharif, hope you get the message. from the India Tribune


What dangers photographers face

Here is a video about the safety problems photographers face. Saumya of our group, a photographer for the Hindustan Times, is one of the photographers. She talks here and asks others what steps are needed. This truly matters. We shared our concerns about this at our meeting in Colombo, so let’s share our thoughts about what photographers do, and what more can be done.

What do you suggest? Training? Guides on safety precautions? 

Reporting without agendas

Sri Lankan Media Minister Calls On South Asian Media Owners to End Nationalistic Coverage Aimed at Boosting Profits

HONOLULU (Jan. 18, 2017) — Speaking to a group of Indian and Pakistani journalists gathered in Colombo recently for a dialogue on cross-border reporting issues between their countries, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Mass Media called upon corporate media owners in South Asia to stop promoting nationalistic reporting to make bigger profits, saying that such news coverage becomes “part of the conflict” that prevents the region from reaching its global potential. (Watch video of his talk.)

 “The market value for nationalism is very high,” said Gayantha Karunathilaka, Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media for the Government of Sri Lanka. “Politically and commercially driven media have to be replaced by good ethical and public-interest driven media.” He blamed heavy competition, especially in television, as one of the factors driving nationalistic reporting.

Karunathilaka was addressing 32 journalists from 14 leading Indian and Pakistani media houses at the five-day dialogue that was a capstone event of the East-West Center’s two-year “Improving Cross-Border Reporting” exchange and discussion program for Pakistani and Indian journalists. The program was supported by a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

The exchange program took journalists from India and Pakistan on reporting trips hosted by partner news organizations in each other’s countries, where visa restrictions have generally made it very difficult for news outlets in the often-clashing neighboring nations to base their reporters. The exchange has resulted in more than 45 print and broadcast stories and many social media posts by participating journalists who continue to use this bilateral network to include neighbor-country perspectives in their reporting.

During the dialogue in Sri Lanka, Indian and Pakistani partner teams planned cross-border reporting projects to run in 2017.  East-West Center Media Programs Manager Susan Kreifels said the journalists are very committed to pursuing these projects and that they have stayed in close touch through social media.

“The Indian and Pakistani journalists discovered more in common between their two countries than differences,” Kreifels said. “They really connected both personally and professionally and developed close bonds.”

Jabbar Chaudhary, a participating broadcast journalist from Pakistan who traveled to Mumbai and Delhi, wrote in the Pakistani newspaper Daily Times that the program was “a game-changer” for him.

“Just one visit under this exchange enabled me to build a strong bridge with my Indian journalist friends. This sort of cooperation proved itself right and fruitful,” Chaudhary wrote. “We can fence our borders but can’t stop our voices to cross it.

Sri Lanka knows the impact that media can have on conflict. Karunathilaka said “agenda-driven journalism during 30 years of civil war” in his country helped drive the conflict, adding that nationalistic rhetoric was again becoming part of the country’s “media language.”

He said the Sri Lankan government is working to create an independent news media regulatory commission that would make it illegal to “push journalists to violate ethics” and instead encourage professional reporting.

Karunathilaka said he was happy to see Indian and Pakistani journalists pursuing cross-border work on “common-interest” stories that could bring new dimensions to the bilateral relationship rather than focus on antagonistic reporting. He urged the journalists to “take an innovative approach” in reporting about solutions to regional issues.


The EAST-WEST CENTER promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options

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Cross Border Reporting by Indian and Pakistani journalists

Journalists from 14 leading Indian and Pakistan news organisations met in Colombo to map out cross-border reporting projects to run in 2017.

The five-day Dialogue held in early December was the capstone event for a two-year East-West Center project titled “Improving Cross-Border Reporting: India-Pakistan Journalists Exchange and Dialogue.” The Exchange took Indian and Pakistan news teams on reporting trips to their neighbour country. The Exchange and Dialogue were supported by a grant from the US Embassy in Islamabad.

“The Indian and Pakistan journalists discovered more in common between their two countries than differences,” said Susan Kreifels, East-West Centre Media Programmes Manager who coordinated the Exchange and Dialogue.

“They really connected both personally and professionally and developed close bonds.”

Kreifels said the journalists are very committed to pursuing the cross-border reporting projects they planned in Sri Lanka, and they have stayed in close touch through social media.

Sri Lankan Minister o Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka gave the keynote address at the Dialogue.

Colombo hosts India-Pakistan Journalists Dialogue



Two national anthems

We gather for tea and story-telling, a family gathering of sorts

This is about our gathering in Colombo.


click here


Mapping Karachi – from NDTV

This is from the introduction to the NDTV documentary on Mapping Karachi – one of our group’s cross border reporting efforts between India and Pakistan

“We arrive in Karachi on a media exchange programme that gave us a choice to travel to either Lahore, Islamabad or Karachi. Our choice – based on Karachi’s reputation as a diverse, teeming metropolis, a microcosm of Pakistan, notorious for its violence – one that stems from both religious extremism and local gang warfare. Our guidelines did not allow us to report politics or religion, in some ways impossible to do as both shape almost every aspect of life in South Asia. We bring you a week long journey through this bustling, turbulent and violent metropolis, compared to Beirut, more like Bombay and once, way back in its history, also called the Paris of the East.”

Click here for the video:×7/mapping-karachi-414928?browserpush=true

Life in Karachi by NDTV
Life in Karachi by NDTV

The Female Boxers of Lyari, Karachi – NDTV


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