Pugwash Conference on Kashmir which was earlier postponed would now be held from September 15 to 17 at Islamabad in Pakistan, sources told KNS.
The conference was earlier scheduled to be held from August 17 to August 21 but was postponed due to some unknown reasons. Pugwash Secretary General Paolo Cotta Ramusino had visited Kashmir in May this year to extend invitation to the mainstream and separatist leaders to take part in the conference.
In 2006, leaders from both separatist and mainstream camps, including then National Conference president and incumbent chief minister, Omar Abdullah, had participated in the conference held in Islamabad.
Sources said the participants from both sides of the Line of Control and from different political parties and groups have been invited for the Conference this time.
According to a statement of Pugwash the goal is to discuss and develop ideas and proposals that, if applied, would improve in concrete terms the connections across the LOC, would eliminate the restrictions that limit the movement and the freedom of the people in the entire region, and would promote economic cooperation and development in the entire region. “Seven years ago, in 2006, Pugwash held a similar conference in Islamabad involving participants from the entire political spectrum of both sides of the LOC. And while considered a positive step forward by both India and Pakistan at the time, after seven years, the situation on the ground does not appear to have much improved,” it added.
CPI (M) state secretary M Y Tarigami and prominent businessman of Kashmir, Zahoor Ahmad Wattali confirmed to KNS about their participation in the conference.
Meanwhile, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told KNS he has also received invitation. However, he said, he can’t participate in the conference as he doesn’t have a passport. Mirwaiz said that at a time when relation between India and Pakistan have worsened, it is good to hold the conference.
The organisers of the conference have also sent invitation to Peoples’ Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik and Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone and Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani. However, participation of Geelani, Malik and Lone is doubtful as both the leaders are without passports.