February 2005 News

Hectic Preparations Underway For 4th Kashmir Peace Conf. In New York On Feb. 24-25

12 February 2005
Associated Press of Pakistan

Washington DC: The fourth Kashmir Peace Conference will be held in New York on February 24-25. Announcing this, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC) said that hectic preparations are now underway to hold a befitting conference. Dr. Fai told APP in an interview that on day one (Feb. 24), experts from different parts of the world in the field of diplomacy, politics, NGOs and government envoys, as welll as representatives of the concerned parties, sympathizers and neutral figures, supporters of regional and world peace, and former bureaucrats- will speak on 'Peace Initiative in South Asia: Exploring Possible Options for Kashmir.' The second day of the Conference will be devoted to a Roundtable Discussion. He said invitations have been sent to the speakers while their participation has by and large been firmed up. Of the Roundtable Discussion, Dr. Fai said the seating is limited, while the admission is free, but registration is mandatory. Programme for the Roundtable begins at 9 a.m. on February 25, and those intending to participate have been asked to confirm the same by email or fax, by registering prior to September 25th. 'No one will be admitted without prior registration,' he added. Both the engagements are scheduled to be held at the United Nations Headquarters, in Conference Room: D. The Conference is being organized under the aegis of the International Educational Development (accredited with the UN ECOSOC) and the Kashmiri American Council (KAC). Dr.Fai said that 'this year's conference has come at a crucial point in South Asian history, as the international community has become increasingly concerned at the failure to resolve the Kashmir question, an issue which, if not resolved, could have disastrous consequences on the lives of millions of people across South Asia.' 'Both India and Pakistan have recently placed Kashmir on a negotiating agenda,' he stated, referring to 'the historic meeting' between President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, in September 2004. In the meeting, he added, the two leaders 'affirmed their commitment to explore possible options for a peaceful negotiated settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir issue in a sincere spirit and purposeful manner.' Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai said 'It is our hope that the two leaders and their governments fully recognize that there can be no peaceful negotiated settlement without the full and active participation of Kashmiris living on both sides of the Ceasefire Line as well as of those belonging to the Kashmiri diaspora.' He said: 'the speakers will focus not only on the well known opposing views of the governments of India and Pakistan but also on the rights and perceptions of the people of Kashmir.' In having these distinguished speakers share the podium, Dr. Fai said, 'we seek the beginning of a dialogue that can bolster the current momentum of the peace process.' 'The full range of positions regarding the crisis in Kashmir will be voiced, and any conclusions or recommendations from this program will have the backing of people with the most potential to act on them in a positive manner.' He detailed the long list of expected speakers at the two-day International Peace Conference. The speakers include Ms. Karen Parker, as U.N. delegate. From India, those invited include: Dileep Padgaonkar, former Executive Managing Editor and currently Consulting Editor and a columnist of 'The Times of India.' He was conferred the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian award; Kuldeep Nayar, who has served as India's High Commissioner to London; press officer to prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri; Editor of United News of India; Resident Editor of 'The Statesman', New Delhi; 'The Indian Express', Chandigarh; as well as Ambassador Nirupam Sen, Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, New York. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Secretary General Pakistan Muslim League (PML) will represent Pakistan at the Peace Conference. He is also the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defence; Foreign Affairs; Kashmir Affairs; Northern Areas; Government Assurances and Human Rights. Besides, Ambassador Munir Akram, Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations, New York; Professor Mumtaz Ahmad, Department of Political Science, University of Virginia, Hampton. From United States, the invitees are: Mr. Kieren Pendragast, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs; Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State; Dr.Robert C. McFarlane, former national security advisor to president Reagan and chairman, Energy and Communications Solutions, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Daniel Philpott, Associate Professor; Joan B. Kroc, Institute for International Peace Studies, Notre Dame, Indiana; Amb. Yusuf Buch, former advisor to the UN Secretary General; Dr. Vijay Sazawal, President, Indo-American Kashmir Forum; and Dr. Ghulam-Nabi Mir, President, World Kashmir Freedom Movement. From IH-Kashmir, those invited include: Syed Ali Geelani, Chairman, All Parties Hurriyet Conference;. Mohamamd Yasin Malik, Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front; Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, All Parties Hurriyet Conference; Mr. Shabir A. Shah, President, Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party; Pandit Bhushan Bazaz, President, Indo-KashmirCultural Forum; Dr. Hameeda Banu, Professor of English, University of Kashmir; Mr. Farooq Siddiqi, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front; Dr. Rekha Chowdhary, Jammu University. From Europe, the invitees are: Mr. Lars Rise, Member, Norwegian Parliament;Barrister Majeed Tramboo, Executive Director, Kashmir Center, Brussels; and Prof. Nazir Shawl, Executive Director, Kashmir Center, London. The fax numbers are: 202-303-0062 or 703-295-8683; and the email addresses are: [kashmirconference@yahoo.com] or [gnfai2003@yahoo.com].


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