Participants call for easing cross-LoC travel, trade

Intra-Kashmir Dialogue Concludes

TARIQ NAQASH

Muzaffarabad, Nov 8: An intra-Kashmir dialogue of women concluded here on Wednesday, with more than a dozen recommendations regarding free and trouble free traveling between the divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir as well as empowerment of Kashmiri women for a tangible role in peace-building.
 Held in a local hotel here the event saw participation by women from Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh, PaK  and Gilgit-Baltistan on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).
 Organizers said six formal sessions were held during the two days of conference wherein three broad inter-linked themes came under discussion. These themes included ‘gender and peace building: understanding women narratives,’ ‘empowering women in peace-building,’ and ‘women inclusive security and sustainable peace building in Kashmir.’
 According to a consensus statement, released at the conclusion, the participants called for easing of cross-LoC travel regime by simplifying the administrative cum security clearance procedures, particularly hassle free travel for senior citizens and emergency travel.
 In this regard, they reiterated introduction of a smart card for free movement of state-subjects across the LoC besides improvement of facilities along the travel route and at the crossing points, provision of gender sensitive public convenience system, such as better roads, better communication facilities and monetization of trade.
 The travel facility should be extended to post-1990 refugees living in PaK as well, they said.
 Calling for increased cross-LoC interactions between women entrepreneurs, educationalists, lawyers, journalists, students and conflict resolution experts, the stressed that women should form cross-LoC coalition for peace in Kashmir and act as an advocacy cum pressure group to make their voices heard.
 Working group should develop shared vision of peace in Kashmir and pursue the agenda of repairing the fractured inter-community relations and bridging the perception gaps within and across the divided Jammu and Kashmir, they added.
 Continuing, they called for a task force for women for both sides of the divide with the mandate to address human rights and humanitarian issues, including selected post-earthquake rehabilitation issues for women, girls and orphans on both sides of the divide.
 An intra-Kashmir confidence building measure and common agenda regarding preservation of environment specifically forests and water management and natural disaster response was also recommended.
 For sustenance of the ceasefire along the LoC, they suggested relocation of heavy artillery and removal of land-mines which obstructed free movement of people and caused civilian casualties.
 They also demanded gradual demilitarization including that of the Siachen glacier and its conversion into a peace park
 They called for engaging women in transitional justice processes, which connected peace, justice, and reconciliation and provision of justice to the victims of conflict, especially widows, half widows, disappeared persons, displaced persons and refugees and rehabilitation of youth.
 Demanding end to abuse of human rights and scrapping of draconian laws and impunity, they suggested an independent “Truth & Reconciliation Commission” in Jammu and Kashmir to address grievances of victims of the conflict.
 For data collection and sharing, a cross LoC working group should be formed.
 The participants also demanded 33 per cent women representation/ participation in policy making positions and other government departments and commissions and asked the political organizations to do the needful in this regard.
 Media was also asked to play a pro-active role in enhancing women’s participation and highlighting issues of women.
 It may be recalled that it was for the first time that the participants of this conference were allowed to travel through a crossing point along the LoC. Appreciating it as a historic step, they expressed the hope that India and Pakistan would continue to facilitate LoC crossings for all activities of the Intra-Kashmiri women group.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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