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Beena Sarwar – ‘India-Pakistan should focus on children ­not bullets’ 

Beena Sarwar is a Pakistani journalist and documentary filmmaker . As an Indian and Pakistani together win 2014’s Nobel peace prize, Sarwar spoke with Anahita Mukherji about the joint award, tension at the LoC ­ and how Pakistan has a million Malalas:Will Malala Yousafzai winning the Nobel inspire more Pakistanis now ­ and enable her to return to Pakistan?

Well, even without the Nobel, Malala is inspiring enough.And she is not just an individual ­ as she herself has reminded people, she is not the first or last girl in Pakistan to fight for education. There are millions of Malalas in Pakistan ­ millions of Pakistani girls go to school against all odds.

Even where there’s no militant threat, they often face social disapproval. Many have parents who aren’t literate but determined to educate their daughters ­ something mothers often fight for the hardest.

I hope one day Malala can come home safely, that all the girls who fight social attitudes or militants can go about their work or their leisure safely . The process must continue.

As India and Pakistan clash at the border, an Indian and Pakistani share the No bel peace prize ­ your thoughts?

It is ironic that while India and while India and Pakistan trade bullets and kill innocents across the Line of Control in Kashmir, two of their activists are jointly awarded the Nobel peace prize for activism on child rights ­ an issue that affects both countries deeply. This is what they should be concentrating on.

Is the tension a surprise, given Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi interacting well?

But doesn’t this happen every single time we move towards peace? Clearly, there are vested interests who don’t want peace and who ensure all positive moves are sabotaged ­ those who suffer are poor, ordinary people who lose lives, peace and homes.

These vested interests comprise arms lobbies and rightwing extremist reactionary forces in both countries. In Pakistan, an additional lobby comes from decades of illegitimate military governments.Even when there was a civilian government, it had no control.

This started to change with 2008 and 2013 elections.The democratic political process will continue ­ but it’ll take time. Unfortunately, many in Pakistan and India are not willing to allow this time ­ but kneejerk reactions and militant responses will only strengthen those very forces out to sabotage peace between the two countries.

Short-sighted responses will only bring us back to square one ­ which is what the extre mists and arms lobbies want.

What role do you think the Pakis tan army played in recent chal

 http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=Q-A-India-Pakistan-should-focus-on-childrennot-15102014022048

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