Islamabad: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar
on Tuesday floored an audience that included her Pakistani
counterpart, senior ministers and Parliamentarians by
delivering a speech in flawless Urdu laced with couplets from
Firaq Gorkhpuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
At a dinner hosted by Fehmida Mirza, the Speaker of
Pakistan`s National Assembly or Lower House of Parliament,
Kumar was repeatedly applauded by the gathering as she
interspersed her speech with Urdu couplets.
Kumar praised the natural beauty of Pakistan and said:
"Your matchless hospitality is famous in India. But after
coming here, I have found that the hospitality, in reality, is
The Parliaments of both countries, she said, have an
important role to play in fostering better relations between
The foundation of relations between India and Pakistan is
based on common culture and links, including a shared love for
music, films and sports, Kumar said. Indian film stars are
loved in Pakistan, while Pakistani musicians and singers have
huge followings in India, she added.
Referring to the passion for cricket in both countries,
Kumar said more exchanges in all fields would help send a
message of peace to the people.
"It is necessary for us to move towards the goal of
friendship with greater speed," she said before concluding her
speech with a couplet from Majrooh Sultanpuri.
In contrast, Mirza largely spoke in English and noted
that the lower houses of parliament in Pakistan and India had
women Speakers for the first time. Noting that this was a
tribute to the women of the subcontinent, she said: "Women
don`t make wars, women make peace. Women don`t take lives,
women give lives".
Mirza noted that she had visited India in a "tense
atmosphere" in January 2010 to use parliamentary diplomacy to
improve bilateral relations.
"During the last two years, the world community also
witnessed a pleasant change as we both supported each other on
numerous international parliamentary and other forums," she
She said that the two Speakers had identified several
areas for cooperation during their talks earlier in the day.
"I am sure this process will yield positive results by not
only breaking the existing myths but also in finding practical
ways to solve the contentious issues affecting the growth of
our mutual relationship," she added.
India-Pakistan relations have been marked by "missed
chances and lost opportunities" and it was "now time to make
up for the past", Mirza said.
The dinner was followed by performances by leading
classical musicians and dancers. Among those who attended the
event were Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Law
Minister Maula Bux Chandio, former premier and PML-Q chief
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, and scores of parliamentarians.