The cross-LoC civil society dialogue organized by Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR), New Delhi, began in Jammu on Friday. The conference is being attended by around seventy luminaries from different walks of life from PaK, Gilgit-Baltistan and Jammu & Kashmir, are participating in the conference.
Explaining the purpose of the event, Sushobha Barve, Executive Director, CDR, in her welcome address said that barriers are unacceptable.
“As an Indian and a South Asian I am deeply unhappy about the social, political and physical barriers that we have created that are preventing people from meeting and talking to one another. These barriers are unacceptable. The civil society has to put all its efforts to bring down every such barrier to create spaces, explore ways and means to find solutions that have eluded us for the past six decades.”
Retired Air Marshall Kapil Kak who chaired the inaugural session made a plea that entry and exit points between the two parts of the erstwhile princely state should be made flexible.
Speaking on the occasion, justice (r) Majid Malik said that he hoped the gathering could convey a message to all those forces who were against peace, that here was a group committed and dedicated to peace. He hoped that both India and Pakistan realized that people of Jammu and Kashmir had legitimate demands like free communication, free movement and free expression.
Former chief justice of Orissa high court, Justice (r) Bilal Nazki hoped that the dialogue could result in a consensus which can be presented to both the governments of India and Pakistan.
Senior advocate Anil Gupta called for a cultural exchange across the LoC, which would include students exchange as well.
Member Parliament Gilgit- Baltistan, Amina Bibi recalled her roots in Kargil and called for reopening of traditional trade routes that had existed earlier between Kargil and Skardu.
Concluding the session, Aziz Ahmed Khan, former Pakistan High Commissioner to India said that he was impressed by the personalities, who were participating in the conference from both sides.
“For some of them coming from across the LoC to Jammu has been an emotional moment. Civil society had a very important role to play in bridging the divide,” said Aziz