After attending third cross-LoC conference from November 5-7, a 10 member women’s delegation on Tuesday returned from Muzaffarbad. The 3 day conference was attended by participants from Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Pakistan administered Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
The major theme of the conference was building bridges and bringing women’s voices into peace building in Jammu and Kashmir. The other various issues discussed in the conference were the absence of women’s voice in conflict discourse, women’s empowerment in peace building, and inclusion of women to make the peace building process sustainable.
Sufficient focus was placed on cross-LoC travel regime, and it was demanded that the administrative/security clearance procedures relating to entry permit system be improved and simplified, and that the cross-LoC interaction among women entrepreneurs, educationalists, lawyers, journalists, students, and conflict resolution experts be increased.
In the conference, it was resolved to form a cross-LoC women’s coalition for peace in Jammu and Kashmir that would act as an advocacy cum pressure group to make women’s voices heard.
To share the vision of peace, the participants reached to the consensus that working groups be developed for a shared vision of peace in the region and for repairing the fractured inter-community relations, and bridging the perception gaps that currently exist across the LoC.
After the conference, the delegates went around the city of Muzaffarabad and met with a cross-section of society who related their personal experiences.
Pertinent to mention that among the invitees, two women were not granted permits and one did not receive the NOC from her department.