Sunday, 4 June 2017

Peace Now & Forever Campaign between Pakistan and India: From 11th June to 23 July 2017- Please Enlist as Partners through a simple Form - Operations Note is Appended

Dear Friends,
The Peace Now & Forever Campaign was started recently with the objective of addressing the deteriorating relations between Pakistan and India by the day. 
Common people and even Civil Society seems to be getting increasingly scared to take a stand and soon no space may be left to talk of peace and questioning war hysteria could be branded downright antinational and blasphemy. 

In such a situation it becomes an urgent requirement to provide platforms to enable common people and civil society to demand peace and condemn attempts at war mongering without feeling apologetic or guilty about their stand.  
Hence this Peace Now & Forever Campaign- between Pakistan and India!

Note on the Concept and Operations is attached.

Progress So Far:
Over 150 organisations of India and Pakistan have come together so far to conceive, plan and prepare for the launch of the Campaign from 11th June2017. At least 500 organisations and groups are expected to enlist and partner with this Campaign in the days to come.

Based on the collective inputs we have been also to:
1.       Finalise a Google Form for Registration as Partners with the Campaign. Takes just 3 to 5 minutes and enables both organisations and individuals to register and also enlist with their preferred activities or suggest new and innovations events / programs. The Online Form can be accessed at:

2.      If you are unable to fill online, then please fill the Partnership Registration Form attached, scan or take a photo and email to

3.      A Facebook Page for the Campaign in created. Please click the Link to join:

Proposed date of launch is 11th June 2017 at 12 noon India time and 11.30 am Pakistan time. So please gear up to organize the Launch of the Campaign in your cities and towns.
Pamphlets and Forms for taking signatures from members of the public will be shared by 7th June 2017.   
Please also note that henceforth all emails will be sent through the email id being used now i.e.
Please send all your communication relating to the Campaign at this mail ID.
Please share with others and invite them to join the Campaign.
Look forward to your active collaboration and partnership in making the Peace Now & Forever Campaign a success


Operations Document
Peace Now and Forever Campaign
Between Pakistan - India

Proposed Action Plan:

1.      A Joint Signature Campaign in India and Pakistan and other parts of the world where Indians and Pakistanis live and can come together for this Campaign.
2.      The Reach: at least 100 cities and towns in India and Pakistan and 25 cities in different countries of the world.
3.      Dates: From Sunday 11th June 2017 to 23 July 2017.
4.      Simultaneous Launches: On the same day in different cities, towns and villages of Pakistan and India and in cities and towns across the world.
Many similar campaigns in the past had succeeded in enlisting Pakistanis and Indians living in 20 to 30 different locations in different countries to come together and organize programs in solidarity of the campaigns underway.
5.      Time: 12.00 Noon India and 11.30 am Pakistan Time. As it is Ramazan, evening time may not be suitable. Organisations in other countries can have their launches between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm in their time Zones or any other suitable times but on the same date please.
6.      Personalities for Main Launches: Nobel Laureates Kailash Sathyarti and Malala Yousufzai have been contacted with a request to launch the Signature Campaigns – wherever they are and also write a joint letter to governments of both countries asking for ending all hostilities and start of a comprehensive dialogue process.
7.      Personalities in Different Locations: Celebrities and prominent personalities of the region from different walks of life to be invited to lead the Launch of the Campaign in each of the locations. Apart from ensuring media coverage, this will also provide moral boast and courage to people to come out to express their sentiments in favour of friendship and demand for peace.
8.      Synchronized Programs: Between 11th June 2017 and 23rd July 2017, there will be 7 Saturdays and Sundays when major programs can be organized. There could be good media attention and coverage if similar programs can be organized on the same day in many different locations in Pakistan and India involving artists, sportsmen, film actors, political personalities, prominent citizens, religious leader, youth icons etc.
The 2008 Experience: Similar Signature Campaign undertaken in 2008 in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Mumbai mobilized over 100,000 signatures in both countries and could reclaim the space for talking peace with some very prominent personalities on both sides signing the petition including Mr. I.K Gujaral the former Prime Minister of India. With instances like appending of signatures by members of the Sindh Assembly in Pakistan and Mahants and Maulavis in Ayodhya on the same day, media was also compelled to provide space to assertions for peace.

Operational Processes:
1.      Campaign Signature Forms can be download from emails / website / Facebook Page and photocopied to take signatures. 34 persons can sigh on each form. Format for the Form is attached for approval and finalization.
2.      Submission of Filled in Forms: All filled in forms are to be posted to the addresses given at the bottom of Page Two of each form.
For Pakistan the Address will be: (Will be shared shortly)

For India the Address will be: Aaghaz e Dosti, G-201, Kaveri Apartments, Plot 4, Sector-6, Dwarka New Delhi 110075
3.      Dedicated Email ID: All Communications to and from the Peace Now and Forever Campaign will be from a dedicated mail ID:
4.       Enlistment of Partners: Organisations, institutions and groups from India , Pakistan or any other country with links to the Sub Continent that are willing to be part of The Campaign can enlist by filling a simple Google Form that will be available Online. The Form also enables listing of activities that the Partner wants to engage in. Link to the Google Form for Enrolment as Partner of Peace Now Campaign will be shared shortly.
5.      Linking of Partners in same cities / towns: All organisations and groups enlisting from the same areas will be linked by sharing their contact details given on their Enlistment Forms. This could facilitate coordinated programs and activities in different areas that could have a multiplier effect.
6.      Daily Reports: All groups and Partners will be requested to share brief reports of the activities undertaken by them along with some photographs and videos to the Campaign Mail ID. All reports received will be collated and a Daily Bulletin will be shared to Partners and others. If a large number of partners enlist for the Campaign as is being planned and hoped, some material could be available every day.
7.      Media Releases: Interesting reports and stories received from the field / Partners will be shared with the media. A Media Coordination Network will be formed by enlisting Partners in different State / Provincial capitals who will forward the Media Releases received to the media houses in their areas. These will also be requested to organize Press Meets / interactions in their areas as and when possible
8.      Security Concerns and Precautions: Given the prevailing scenario of hate and the aggressive posturing by the fanatic and divisive groups in both countries, all programs and activities should be planned with enough precautions appropriate to the areas concerned. Information to / permissions from all the concerned authorities should be obtained as required.
9.      Co-Conveners: It is proposed to have 3 to 4 Co- Conveners each from Pakistan and India and Two Co-Convener to represent the Diaspora- one each from Pakistan and India. These Co-Conveners can anchor the Campaign and will be responsible for specific responsibilities mutually agreed.
Proposing Beena Sarwar as Diaspora Co-Convener from Pakistan. A name from Indian Diaspora requested.
Indian Co-Conveners proposed: North- Madhulika V. Narasimhan (Aagaz- e- Dosti); South- Mazher Hussain (COVA) and West- Jatin Desai (PIPFPD). Nomination of one person from East India requested
Pakistan Co- Conveners: Requesting friends in Pakistan to nominate four persons from different provinces and organisations who will be willing to Anchor the Campaign.

Other Programs
1.      Organise simultaneous visits by Parliamentarians from India to Pakistan and from Pakistan to India to impact public opinion in favour of peace.
Similar initiative by PIPFPD in 2004 post the attack on Indian Parliament had a dramatic impact and brought back peace to the Sub Continent.
2.      Reach out to governments in West Bengal and other states to issue statements against war hysteria and to restore normalcy- Will it be possible to get any Provincial governments In Pakistan to issue similar pronouncements?

Text for the Joint Signature Campaign
(Note: This Text of Demands by peoples of Pakistan and India was prepared by Peacemongers Group on Whatsapp that has received endorsement from over Nine Hundred very prominent personalities of India and Pakistan and across the world from different fields. This formulation of Demands is adopted for the Peace Now & Forever Campaign. The Demands are as follows:
We the Peoples of Pakistan and India Demand that the Governments of Pakistan and India should:
1.    Develop an institutionalised framework to ensure that continuous and uninterrupted talks between India and Pakistan take place regularly no matter what. Make dialogue uninterrupted and uninterruptible.
2.    Ensure that political leaders, diplomats and civil servants from both countries conduct talks on the sidelines of all international and multilateral forums.
3.    Recognise that the Kashmir dispute above all concerns the lives and aspirations of the Kashmiri people, and work to resolve it through uninterrupted dialogue between all parties concerned.
4.    Implement the 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.
5.    Renounce all forms of proxy wars, state-sponsored terrorism, human rights violations, cross-border terrorism, and subversive activities against each other, including through non-state actors or support of separatist movements in each other’s state.
6.    Support and encourage all forms of people-to-people contact, and remove visa restrictions and discrimination faced by citizens of both countries. This must be further taken forward to allow visa-free travel between India and Pakistan.
7.    Increase trade and economic linkages and cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan.
Further, we pledge to uphold the principles of impartial reporting and urge media houses on either side to prevent the growing militarisation of debate. We must act responsibly and stop broadcasting hate speech and creating public hysteria aimed at the other country and/or vulnerable communities.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Note on COFI (Countering Online Fanatic Indoctrination) Networks Operations

Introduction and Background
The online media is being increasingly used for hate campaigns to spread misinformation aimed to create distrust and alienation between different communities that result in hostilities and lead to violence. This phenomenon is becoming rampant across the world and is a major cause for motivating youth to adopt fanatic ideologies and take to violent and extremist actions.
All communities and sections all over the world seem to be getting afflicted by this phenomenon of online indoctrination leading to increasing fanatic perspectives and actions by individuals and groups that are becoming organised and showing a swell both in terms of their numbers and their propensity to violence.
However, there are many persons from youth, civil society, journalism, religious groups and computer professional etc. who are concerned by this growing phenomenon of misuse of social media spaces for fanatic indoctrination, are well versed with facts and can ideologically counter the hate campaigns but are unable to respond appropriately due to their technical limitations in use of social media and absence of a platform for action.

COFI- DLIT Trainings, Partners and Networks
The COFI- Networks (Countering Online Fanatic Indoctrination- Networks) Program, with Secretariat in COVA,  aims to enlist persons from different fields well versed in religious and social issues with progressive ideologies as Partners. Subsequently, Digital Literacy and Intervention Techniques (DLIT) Training Programs will be organised to provide them technical skills and ability in handling a range of social media platforms (like Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter,  Emails, Blogs, Google Search etc) through Boot Camps.

These will be followed by more specialized TechCamps to impart required ability to develop appropriate Tools and Apps to use social media to address the problems they face in their work of growing mistrust and antagonism between different communities in their areas of operation.
Equipped with the required technical skills in handling social media, these persons will then be able to effectively counter online hate propaganda (against different religious groups and communities) in social and mainstream media spaces both as individuals and also through organized groups.
COFI (Countering Online Fanatic Indoctrination) Networks will be formed in different cities and countries with a membership of about 30 to 50 Partners in each city / country network after a DLIT Training Program is organized. All individual networks in different cities and countries will  be  linked  through  different  social  media  platforms  like  websites,  dedicated  Facebook Groups, Google Hangout and Google Groups etc. to form a collective network. The countries proposed to be covered in Phase I will be: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka. It is hoped to extend the program to cover other countries subsequently.

Requirements to Become Partners
Persons  from  the  fields  of  religions,  civil  society  organizations,  journalism,  social  media, activists, concerned citizens and youth with progressive perspectives and who have demonstrated active engagement with countering hate propaganda, attempts at polarization and social violence to promote understanding, peace and justice in their societies will be identified and enlisted as Partners of the COFI Networks. Partners will be enlisted from all religious / ideological persuasions viz. Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and atheists etc. Care will be taken to ensure gender parity and sufficient representation of youth.
All Partners will be given systematic orientation and training on a regular basis in using social media in all its forms with ease and expertise through Facebook, E Learning Portals and other platforms including DLIT Training Programs. These Partners in each location will be expected to sustain the process of using social media to counter online hate campaigns, indoctrination by fanatic groups and promotion of understanding and peace in their societies. The Partners are expected to identify and enlist other committed persons from their areas to expand the network and gain leverage in countering spread of disinformation and hate. 

Launch of COFI Networks
COFI Networks was launched in Hyderabad, India with a Three Day TechCamp from 27th to 29th November 2017. In all 33 Participants from 7 countries and 16 from 6 cities of India participated. There were 5 trainers from 4 countries and 6 trainers from India who conducted the proceedings. The countries represented at the Hyderabad TechCamp were: India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Kazakistan, Romania and USA. Representatives from 5 cities (Hyderabad, Mumbai, Banguluru, Delhi andLucknow) and the State of Assam attended the TechCamp from within India.

Anchor Teams
An Anchor Team will be constituted for each of the COFI Networks to be formed in different countries / cities. Partners who have attended a TechCamp and are committed to engage in initiatives to counter online hate campaigns and promote understanding and peace will be encouraged to start a COFI Network in their city / country and become Anchor Members. The Anchor  Members  will  be  the  Managing  Body  of  the  concerned  COFI  Network  and  will determine the number of Anchor Members and other Members who can be inducted and modalities of functioning and activities. Five to ten Anchor Members and another 40 to 50
Partners of a COFI Network can keep the Network alive, active and aim at impactful presence in social media and contribute to positive perspective building.

Formation of COFI Networks:
It is proposed to form 15 COFI networks in 10 countries of South Asia and Far East by end of 2017. With an average of 30 Members to begin with, the COFI networks collectively may have around 500 active Partners and the number could increase with time.

Provide digital literacy to youth and civil society organizations, faith leaders, media personal and social media experts and equip them to develop Tools and APPs to counter digital and online hate campaigns and indoctrination that is leading to spread of divisive ideologies and recruitment of youth for extremism;
Build networks between like-minded individuals and organizations across different faiths and countries in South and South East Asia to counter online indoctrination by fanatic groups and promote peace and justice in their societies.

Support Mechanisms:
1. COFI Website:(Under preparation) will provide a common platform for all COFI Networks across different cities and countries to connect, share information, engage in discussions and plan/ facilitate collaborative activities etc. Will be available in different languages and will provide facilities for mass mailing and archives.
2.   E-  Learning  Platform:  Integrated  with  the  COFI  website,  will  provide  interactive tutorials and learning opportunities to master social media and its application- especially to counter online hate campaigns and counter radicalisation along with promotion of peace.
3.   COFI Newsletter: A Multimedia compilation with text, audio and video content to be broadcasted fortnightly. Content could comprise of writings of COFI Partners from different countries both current and from yesteryears that still have their relevance. Selected writings, audios and videos from other sources will be included along with mechanism for feedback and discussions through COFI website.
Expected Outreach for the Newsletter: COVA has an outreach to over 35,000 persons from across the world through its Peace Updates Group. Members of COVA collectively have over 10,000 friends on Facebook and connections with over 50 groups with an outreach of over 100 thousand (an average of 2000 per group). Added to this will be the social media connects and followings of about 500 COFI Contributing Partners. With such a range, any COFI Post can have an outreach to at least 100 thousand people through various social media platforms. Hence, Contributing Members of COFI Network can expect a reach to over 100 thousand persons for any of their posts and further broadcast if their post is found interesting to even reach viral proportions in some cases.

Please Click  Here to enlist as contributor to COFI Newsletter
4.   Connecting Bubbles: Facilitating Conversations Across Perspectives
COVA is exploring the possibility of organising public meetings wherein eminent personalities espousing opposing perspectives on different social and political issues will be invited to share the same platform and debate. It is hoped that such exercises could enable people to gain an overview of differing perspectives on same issues and decide for themselves after hearing different versions. This could also help in bringing out the reasons  and  logic  behind  the  perspective  of  the  Other”  and  could  lead  oneself  to critically evaluate one’s own thinking and beliefs to arrive at more substantiated and holistic understanding of issues and be more tolerant about the different perspectives encountered. All COFI networks will be encouraged to organise programs to Connect Bubbles in their areas of operation to promote better understanding. Some of these programs will be made available on E-Learning Platform also.

Suggested Activities of COFI Networks
1.      Organise DLIT Training Programs and TechCamps in their Cities / Countries to provide orientation and mastery of use of social media to Partners to create a Resource Pool of persons who  will be able  to  counter  online hate  campaigns,  prevent  fanaticism  and promote understanding and peace.
2.      Organise periodic meetings in their cities/ countries to orient members of the public (especially youth) to social media and its potential for use and abuse.
3.   Formation of Online Social Media Groups of all Partners from different countries and also different specialist fields like religious groups, youth, civil society etc. from among the Partners to share issues of concern and content for broadcast.
4.   Facilitate regular Google Hangout Sessions, Facebook, and other Online Interactive and
Offline Sessions between Partners from different countries and locations
5.   Active engagement with COFI Online Newsletter by sharing their current and previous writings,  audio  and  video  material  (with  relevance  to  current  period).  Also,  sharing similar  material  from  others  that  is  powerful  and  can  dispel  hate  and  extremist propaganda and promote better understanding.
6.   Sharing  appropriate  material  for  posting  on  the  e-Learning  Portal  to  provide  wider learning opportunity and content to potential visitors to the Portal.
7.   Organising Programs such as Connecting Bubbles” described above to promote the spirit of dialogue and foster understanding.
8.   Enable partners to develop apps and tools that carry content in English and other languages that explicitly counter narratives that are used for negative influence on youth and promote understanding and peace.
9.   Sharing ideas for action, proposals and activity reports by Partners.
10. Any other programs and activities that could counter online hate campaigns and facilitate better understanding between different groups and communities and secure peace.

Forth Coming TechCamps in Bangaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi and Dhaka between May and August 2017
Information to enlist for participation in these TechCamps will be shared subsequently

Continued Sustainability:
It is hoped that social media groups of COFI-Network Partners formed country wise and as per different  specialisations  will  facilitate  sustainability  of  the  program.  Partners  will  also  be oriented  and  encouraged  to  seek  support  for  their  Follow  on  Programs  and  Projects  from potential resource support organisations.
1COFI Networks = Countering Online Fanatic Indoctrination Networks Being facilitated by COVA in association with US Consulate Hyderabad.
2COVA (Confederation of Voluntary Associations), is a national network of voluntary organisations working for communal harmony in India and peace in South Asia. Address: # 18-13-8/A/508/B, Bandlaguda, Chandrayangutta, Hyderabad- 50005
Telangana, INDIA.Phone: +91 40 24442984, Mobile: +91 9346238430, Fax: +91 40 24444527
E-mail:; URL:

For more information:

Executive Director
COVA, Hyderabad,
India Ph: +91- 9394544244