First PhD from Srinagar stresses people-to-people contacts

In the media DAWN, Newspaper, Pakistan - 31st December 2013

Daily Dawn-SAF

KASUR: Nadia Mehr Din of Kasur, the first Pakistani woman to have her doctorate from the University of Kashmir, Hazratbal, Srinagar, thinks that Pakistan and India should resolve the Kashmir issue through talks according to the wishes of Kashmiri people.

Talking to Dawn, she said people-to-people contacts between the two countries could resolve the existing tension and the visa policies of both the countries should be changed.

“Owing to visa restrictions, I could visit Pakistan only twice during her four-year stay in Kashmir,” she said, however adding the Pakistan government should send more students to held Kashmir.

Ms Nadia went to Kashmir on the scholarship of the South Asia Foundation for Saarc. She got a PhD in History of Kashmir Affairs while topic of her thesis was ‘The Development of Science, Technology, Arts and Language during the Sultanate Period in Kashmir’.

Before going to Kashmir, she had done her masters in History, Kashmiriat and Persian.

“Saleema Hashmi, daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, my teachers, including Ashraf Qureshi and Nusrat Nisar, helped me a lot in getting admission to the University of Kashmir on scholarship,” she said.

Ms Nadia said she wanted to represent Pakistan on Kashmir affairs while she had a desire to work for the promotion of girls education in Pakistan as the people across the world had a bad image of the country regarding girls education.

“During my stay in Kashmir, I told the people that circumstances in Pakistan regarding women education are not as worse as they think,” she said.

Ms Nadia said the people of Kashmir had a great love for Pakistan which could be judged from the cricket matches between Pakistan and India.

She said during the uprising in 2010 when troops chased the protesters, she entered a house to save her life.

When the family came to know that she was a Pakistani, they showered more love on her and managed to send her to hostel, ensuring her safety.

She also said during the same period when shops, schools and libraries were shut due to a curfew, her teacher, Prof Riaz Punjabi, helped her in studies.

She said the Kashmiri people were hospitable, and ministers and other Kashmir government representatives were there at the airport to bid her farewell.

However, she expressed her disappointment that there was no Pakistan government representative to welcome her at the airport when she landed.

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