Has people-to-people contact between Pakistan and India, often referred to as Track II or parallel diplomacy, reached critical mass?
Bus links between India and Pakistan are growing fast
"It is unstoppable now," says Imtiaz Alam, the founding father and current secretary general of the South Asian Free Media Association (Safma), a Pakistani NGO aggressively pushing public-level contact between the two South Asian neighbours.
Mr Alam's optimism is easily understood. After a long and sluggish march through much of the last decade, the year 2004 saw cultural exchanges between Pakistan and India reach unprecedented proportions.
Over 500 Indians, including intellectuals, politicians, former bureaucrats, retired soldiers, showbiz and media personalities, visited Pakistan as part of these parallel efforts.
Other than that, hordes of Indians descended upon Lahore to watch their boys take on the Pakistan cricket team during an epic tour that generated astonishing scenes of goodwill and camaraderie.
'Public perception changed'
Apart from the scale, say observers, the wide-ranging nature of such visits was also something never seen in the past.
Pakistanis have been exposed to a hugely varied cross-section of the Indian society: from Bollywood stars to media professionals and from film directors to IT experts.
"The change that we see has not just come about at the government level, where one sees a visible slackening of bureaucratic resistance," Mr Alam told the BBC News website.
"Even the public perception has changed radically," he said.
Noted human rights activist and peace activist Asma Jehangir agrees.
"Not everyone who crossed borders this year was a peacenik. But they were all sucked up in the tide," Ms Jehangir says.
Until recently, Ms Jehangir, a lawyer by profession, was riled by her colleagues at the bar councils for her pro-peace views.
She was often referred to as "shrimati"- an Indian title for a lady.
"Now most of them have been forced to admit that it was foolhardy to maintain a policy of continuing conflict," she laughs.
Such was the momentum generated by Track II last year that even government figures from both sides couldn't resist jumping on the peace bandwagon.
Bollywood has been eyeing a huge market in Pakistan
The chief ministers of the divided province of Punjab paid complimentary visits, amid vociferous calls to forget the past.
And when governments on both sides allowed journalists to visit the disputed territory of Kashmir, it seemed to many observers that one of the greatest taboos had finally been laid to rest.
In an unprecedented move, the Indian government allowed a group of Pakistani journalists to visit Srinagar, and the Pakistan government reciprocated by letting Indian journalists into Muzaffarabad.
"We will undoubtedly see several hiccups as this process moves on," says Ms Jehangir.
"But even if the government on either side tries to clamp down on such contacts now, it may not be possible because of technology."
Huge movie market
Hasan Zaidi, an independent film-maker and director of the Karachi-based film festival, Kara, points to other developments that are likely to make the governments think twice before trying to bring such activity to a halt.
Kashmir remains the main stumbling bloc
Nazr, an Indian movie starring Pakistani screen diva Mira, is due for release and is likely to be screened in both countries soon.
Indian film-maker Mahesh Bhatt told Kara participants at a seminar during the festival that had it not been for such cultural meets, the film would probably never have happened.
More importantly, the opening up of borders on this scale has led some Indian film distributors to look at Pakistan as a potential market for Indian movies.
At present, distributors have divided all of India into 13 territories for distribution purposes. Pakistan potentially offers a market larger than any of these.
"Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh, the two largest territories, currently dictate the content emerging from Bollywood," says Mr Zaidi. "If Pakistan becomes the 14th territory, it may only be a matter of time before it will start dictating content."
One aspect of Track II efforts that has seriously excited observers, it seems, is the capacity of such activity to take the peace agenda away from Delhi and Islamabad.
Kara, for example, was widely discussed at the recent film festival at Goa.
Similarly, film companies are seriously thinking of setting up base in Dubai in order to get around the problem of screening their products in Pakistani cinemas.
Perhaps in order to ensure that the momentum generated in 2004 is not frittered away for want of a follow up, Track II activists are already gearing up for the year ahead.
Safma plans two major conferences of parliamentarians early next year, while major private TV networks are deep in the process of finishing a series of Dubai-based joint ventures with Pakistani and Indian stars.
The threat from the religious lobby remains omni-present.
"We are not against normalisation with India," says Mansoor Jaffar of the Islamic Jamaat-e-Islami party.
"But we feel that this Track II exercise is aimed at pushing the core issue of Kashmir into the background."
His opinion, however, may no longer be a majority opinion.
Pakistani observers feel that while such rhetoric may continue unabated and official contacts between the two countries may remain hostage to history and red tapism, parallel diplomacy can indeed be the way forward towards normalisation.
"Despite what the governments say or do there can be no reversal in the people's desire to stay in touch," argues Ms Jehangir.
"And that I think is a fundamental shift in attitudes," she says.