SAFMA to propose South Asian fraternity at regional conference


South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) on Thursday announced that it will hold its eighth regional conference in Amritsar, India and Lahore, Pakistan from January 5-9
The conference, themed is A South Asian Vision and Union, aims to reflect many ideals that SAFMA has worked on since its formation, including peace-building, regional cooperation, pluralism, and respect for human rights.
Furthermore, the conference aims to highlight the possibility of a South Asian fraternity, a bloc of independent nation-states with open borders, bound together by mutually beneficial trade and the common aims of human development. The conference will be inaugurated in Amritsar on January 6 with Chief Minister of the Indian Punjab Parkash Singh Badal as the guest of honor and Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid as the chief guest.
SAFMA-India President Vinod Kumar Sharma, senior Pakistani journalist Khaled Ahmed, a and SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam will address the session on themes relating to the South Asian vision of peace and the concept of open borders and open minds.
The second session will focus on the media’s role in peace and cooperation. The panel will be moderated by Indian freelance journalist Jyoti Malhotra, and includes professor of political science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences Dr Mohammad Waseem, Vinod Kumar Sharma, Himal Southasian Associate Editor Aunohita Mojumdar, SAFMA-Sri Lanka President Lakshman Gunasekera.
The third session will brings together a panel of noted analysts on terrorism and conflict, moderated by senior editor CNN-IBN in India Suhasini Haider.
In the spirit of one of the conference’s main themes, its second segment will take place in Lahore with participants crossing the Attari-Wagha border on January 7 to attend the remaining sessions.
The fourth session will examine the idea of a South Asian vision for an economic union. The panel will be moderated by Editor-in-Chief of The Friday Times. The fifth session, themed Human Rights, Minorities and Women in South Asia will be moderated by Express Tribune Executive Editor M Ziauddin.
The conference’s sixth session will critically assess SAFMA’s achievements over the last 12 years, including its objectives, the projects and entities it has evolved, and the areas in which it needs to builds further capacity. SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam will present a report on behalf of the organization.
The seventh session of the conference will focus on the media, peace, and cooperation in South Asia and provide a summary of the final conference declaration, drawing on the recommendations presented at each session. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Pervez Ashraf will address the session as the chief guest.