Common citizens are increasingly using new media tools to make their voices heard above the noise of Machiavellian machinations and this has led to dramatic changes in various parts of the world. Events like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street symbolise this trend. Coming to South Asia, the coverage by traditional media in the current political and security situation tends to highlight the differences and conflicts leading to confusion and mistrust.
Citizens of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan share a common culture and heritage and they have this moment in history to make a difference by initiating a constructive dialogue and focus on what works. The Pul-e-Jawan project has been conceived against this background of conflict.
Pul-e-Jawan aims to transform the conflict in South Asia by highlighting youth perspectives on common challenges and aspirations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The name Pul-e-Jawan, which literally means “Bridges of Youth” was formed using words from Hindi, Urdu and Dari – these three languages share about 3000 common words.
In the first phase of the project, fifteen Citizen Journalists from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan – five from each country – attended the Pul-e-Jawan conference in Kabul. Delegates visited different parts of Kabul and interacted with many humanitarian agencies in Afghanistan. They questioned the local leaders and compiled reports after collaborative discussions and debates on what can be done to create a common ground to bring peace in this region.