What makes this case both unique and terrifying is that this peace-builder spent all his waking days striving for peace between India and Pakistan. As the Pakistani convener of the Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Raza facilitated initiatives that dispelled the narratives of hate and violence. It brought young children together across borders, to share common interests such as their love for sports and cinema. Raza traveled miles from Lahore to Nankana Sahib, from Karachi to Islamabad, uniting children through letters of friendship and greeting cards of solidarity.
In the aftermath of the Gulshan-e-Iqbal blast in Lahore, children from a school in Mumbai sent solidarity cards to a school in Lahore where many of their relatives, friends and classmates had been caught in the dastardly attacks when a large majority of them were celebrating Easter. These initiatives have rekindled the love between two countries that are often conditioned to treat the other as an enemy.
In the current state of Indo-Pak relations, it is often difficult to shield children from the online hate and violence that they are continuously exposed to. Peace-builders like Raza Khan arm them with love, beautiful greeting cards and show them an image of a country that extends beyond nationalistic chest-thumping and war-mongering.
Indian and Pakistani students who were deeply touched with Raza’s initiative, and by the beautiful side of Pakistan and India they saw through his eyes, were disturbed to hear about his disappearance. They sent poems and artwork in solidarity with their favourite peace builder. Raza has won hearts in both India and Pakistan. What remains to be seen is whether the love and the prayers of the children will bring him back or not.
In recognition of Raza’s efforts to bridge barriers, children across Asia are sending paintings and artwork as part of the #ChildrenSpeak art protest. Recently, as part of this movement, another piece written by an Indian student was published on Postcards for Peace, a global initiative that fosters the spirit of friendship across borders.
If you are a student reading this, please reach out to email@example.com to contribute to the #ChildrenSpeak art movement. All children from all parts of the world are invited to join this movement. Let us join hands to bring back Raza Khan. You can also show your solidarity by tweeting your message for Raza. Please use the hashtag #FindRaza and #BringBackRaza.