December 2004 News

Kashmiri leaders meet in Nepal

12 December 2004
The Daily Times

Kathmandu: Kashmiri Leaders from Pakistan and India met amid tight security in Nepal to discuss Kashmir's future among themselves, an official said on Sunday.Leaders of the moderate wing of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), politicians, former ambassadors and rights activists from Pakistan and India were among 25 people participating in the three-day conference to boost ties between Islamabad and New Delhi.'Kashmiri leaders from both India and Pakistan, including some Hurriyat leaders, former bureaucrats and scholars have been meeting in Kathmandu since Saturday to help build confidence and good rapport between India and Pakistan,' said the official who asked not to be named.The three-day conference was organised by the Geneva- based International Pugwash Foundation and ends today (Monday). The aim of the meet was to bring together people from India and Pakistan and provide them with a platform to discuss the longstanding Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.The organisers of the Kathmandu conference declined to elaborate on the proceedings going on under tight security in the Nepalese capital. The conference was overshadowed by doubts whether the Nepalese government would permit leaders from held Kashmir to travel to Nepal without relevant travel papers. A report in the Indian newspaper, The Hindu, said some Kashmiri leaders did not possess passports and were unwilling to produce an alternative 'Indian' identity card. They were insisting on travelling only on 'identity cards' issued to them by the local administration in Kashmir, the report said.The matter was settled after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened and said the leaders be allowed to travel, it said.It said Kashmir's Democratic Freedom Party leader Shabir Shah, who had been under house arrest, had been released two days ago to enable him to attend. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Nepalese junior foreign minister, told AFP that Nepal had given the go ahead as 'no one has objected to holding the meeting here.' 'Let the meeting go ahead peacefully in Kathmandu,' he said.


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