Islamabad(Daily Parliament Times) : A two-day conference on Kashmir titled “Pathways to Peace” being held under the aegis of Kashmir Institute of International Relations kick started here on Sunday.
The conference held in connection with KIIR’s silver jubilee celebrations was attended by intellectuals, politicians, peace activists, policymakers, former diplomats, defense analysts and civil society leaders hailing from AJK, Pakistan and Indian held Kashmir including speaker legislative assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir, former director general ISI Gen (retired) Ehasn-ul-Haq, noted intellectual Dr. Shujjat Bukhari the Chief editor daily Rising Kashmir, Ershad Mehmood Director CPDR, Altaf Hussain Wani programme Director KIIR, Shaista Safi, rights activist Muzammil Ayoub Thakur, Ch. Ashiq, Pervaiz Ahmed Shah, Dr. Waleed Rasool, Waleed Khan and several others.
Addressing the inaugural session, the president Azad Kashmir Sardar Masood Ahmed Khan felicitated the work of KIIR and said that he was humbled to be part of such wonderful gathering of well-informed people who have been trying hard to create greater awareness at international level, sensitizing the global community and connecting with the civil society of the world. He said these are the areas where our policy at all levels should be proactive. He said peace cannot be created in vacuum; it is the first respect for human rights. Regarding the unprovoked and intermittent ceasefire violations on the line of control (LoC) the president said that Indian agrees the LoC was meant to divert international attention away from Kashmir where Indian occupation forces were killing, maiming and blinding unarmed and defenseless civilians day in and day out without any rhyme and reason.
Besides the AJK president Sardar Masood Khan, the inaugural session was also addressed by Senator Raja Zaffar-ul-Haq, former JI chief AJK and member legislative assembly Abdul Rashid Turabi, APHC convener Syed Faiz Naqashbandi, KIIR director Sardar Amjad Yousuf and others. While highlighting different aspects of Kashmir dispute speakers on the occasion said that dialogue and reconciliation was an important tool to resolve conflicts but they regrettably note that India had closed all communications channels with Pakistan. They were of the view that absence of dialogue between the two countries had further strained the already fragile relationship besides escalating tension in the region. Referring to India’s belligerent policies they said that India was trying to kill the voice of dissent in Kashmir by the use of excessive force. About the stepping up state-terrorism in Indian held territory of Kashmir they said that India has crossed all limits of barbarism and savagery by killing innocent civilians. Terming Indian hegemony and its antagonism as a stumbling block in the way of peaceful solution of K-dispute the speakers said that there can be no peace in the region unless Kashmir issue was resolved amicably.
The KIIR is a non-profit, non-partisan non-government organization, which was established in early 90s in Azad Kashmir with sole motto of promoting peace through dialogue. The organization had organized a number of seminars and workshops on Kashmir besides working on different projects aimed at enhancing capacity of Kashmiri civil society actors in the areas of reconciliation, negotiation skills and conflict resolution.

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