LAHORE: Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a friendship initiative between the people of India and Pakistan, launched its sixth peace calendar at SAFMA on Saturday. The calendar was launched along with a discussion titled: ‘Sharing of hopes for a peaceful co-existence’. Five friendship letters were also read out by school children on the occasion. Activist IA Rehman paid tribute to the work of Raza Khan, the Aaghaz-e-Dosti Pakistan convener, and a peace educator, who had been missing since December 2, 2017. The peace calendar includes paintings of school students from both countries and messages of renowned personalities who have contributed significantly for peace building. Raza Khan and his contribution to peace building and its importance vas highlighted. For this, about 100 moving paintings by students from Pakistan were displayed. While the majority of paintings discussed Pakistan- India peace, children’s recent paintings depicted Raza Khan’s love for peace, his enthusiastic work with children and an appeal to the state for his safe return. A short video on Aaghaz-e-Dosti and Raza’s peace education work was also screened at the event. Activist Salima Hashmi, Nighat Said Khan, Saeeda Diep, lmtiaz Alam, and Madeeha Gohar, also spoke on the occasion and expressed support for Aaghaz-e-Dosti’s efforts. They also appealed to the state to recover Raza, allow freedom of speech is ensuring protection for citizens from all harm. Salman Rashid, an author, also commented on the importance for peace between India and Pakistan through people-to-people contacts and to carry on with it in the same spirit as Raza did and envisioned. Samina Rehman, an educator, shared how children from her schools excitedly share their paintings with Aaghaz-e-Dosti and their experience with this peace initiative. All the children who contributed paintings for the calendar were credited and awarded certificates. A similar calendar launch event has already been held in New Delhi earlier this month which was positively received by the people there.Published in Daily Times, January 28th 2018.