NEW DELHI: The 14th batch of Maharashtra Institute of Technology – School of Government (MIT-SoG), Pune, visited the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on Tuesday. The delegation included over 30 students, pursuing post-graduate degree programme in Political Leadership and Government. The group had wide-ranging interaction with High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood.
Extending a warm welcome to the group, the High Commissioner highlighted Pakistan’s geographical significance, democratic evolution, and current demographic make-up. He also shared an overview of Pakistan’s external environment, beset by myriad challenges and opportunities; relations with major powers, and ties with immediate neighbours. Besides highlighting Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of Pakistan as a modern, progressive, democratic, Islamic welfare state, the High Commissioner outlined the national priorities of the new government including economic turnaround, improved governance, and accelerated socio-economic development. The High Commissioner added that free media, independent judiciary, and vibrant civil society were distinct features of contemporary Pakistan.
Commenting on the historical evolution of Pakistan-India relations, the High Commissioner stressed the importance of changing the conflictual pattern of the past to a cooperative pattern in the future. In this context, he stressed the imperatives of sustained engagement, a result-oriented dialogue process, resolution of outstanding disputes, enhanced regional cooperation, and collective endeavours for shared prosperity. The need for more exchanges between intellectuals, academics, artists and sportsmen of the two countries was underscored. Speaking of the historic Kartarpur Initiative, the High Commissioner expressed the hope that it would be instrumental in further facilitating and fortifying people-to-people bonds.
The High Commissioner particularly stressed the role that the youth in India and Pakistan could play in transforming the quality of bilateral relations. He urged them to be the ‘ambassadors of Pakistan-India peace’ as they go forth in life and pursue their professional careers in diverse fields.
The High Commissioner added that the media could also play a constructive role in the creation of a conducive atmosphere by helping to break the stereotypes, remove misperceptions, and increase mutual understanding.
During the interactive session, the students asked questions on different aspects of India-Pakistan relations and evinced interest in regular interface and youth exchanges between the two countries. The possibilities of academic exchanges were also explored.
At the end, MIT-SOG Faculty Members Sankalp Singhai and Parimal Maya Sudhakar presented souvenirs to the High Commissioner, including a traditional chaddar from Pune. The High Commissioner presented books containing pictorial overview of the Hindu, Sikh and Christian heritage in Pakistan.
The delegation’s visit was hosted as part of the High Commission’s outreach efforts and engagement with the youth.