Friendship Exists Despite Everything: Pak Authors at JLF

Friendship Exists Despite Everything: Pak Authors at JLF
Protests against their participation following the LoC tension notwithstanding, two Pakistani authors struck an emotional chord at the Jaipur Literature Festival today saying friendship exists between the neighbours "despite everything".

"What happened was a tragic event. Human life is sacred. There is nothing more important than it. If there is a feeling in India that the Pakistani authors should not participate in the festival, I completely understand this sentiment," M A Farooqui, author of Between Clay and Dust said.

He was participating at a session The Flight of the Falcon along with countryman Jamil Ahmed. They were in conversation with Ameena Saiyid, managing director of Oxford University Press in Pakistan. Though fellow writer Mohammad Hanif was also scheduled to participate, he could not make it to the session due to unstated reasons.

Farooqi said people's feelings are above everything else.

"I don't care about literature, I care about how people feel. I am here to make friends," the Canadian-Pakistani author said, in reference to the spate of protests against their participation in the festival after the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani Army.

Ahmed and Farooqui expressed happiness that despite all the tension, they were given visas.

"There was no problem. All of us were given visas," Farooqui said.

"I am amazed that despite everything, friendship still exists among people on both the sides," Ahmed said.

Talking about anti-Pakistan protests, the author of Wandering Falcon said similar incidents happen in Pakistan too.

"Earlier, people fought to reach a high moral ground. But now, people are fighting to reach a low moral ground."

He noted that with people of both the countries wanting friendship, there is still hope.

"There is still hope for India-Pakistan friendship. A lot of people are working towards it," Ahmed added.
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