EU Parliament Hosts Conference On Cultural Heritage Of Kashmir

12 December 2008

Brussels: An international conference on cultural heritage of Kashmiri people ended here Thursday night stressing that irrespective of their location, “all people of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir share a unique and ancient heritage”. The two-day conference organised by British Member of the European Parliament Baroness Emma Nicholson was attended by representatives of various groups and factions from both sides of the divided Kashmir. At the end of the gathering, the participants issued a declaration expressing their resolve to “forge a peaceful pathway through identifying and implementing a series of steps” that will lead to a prosperous and cohesive future for all Kashmiris wherever they may reside, EuAsiaNews reported. Emma Nicholson, who authored the European Parliament’s report on Kashmir which was adopted by a vast majority of the EU Assembly in 2007, said the purpose of the conference was to tackle for the first time the creation of a path for peace and prosperity for the people of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir . “My colleagues here said this is the best ever report (on Kashmir) so what we get next. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that the best offering I could make was to create an institution on the web. It is a club on the web,” she said. Nicholson said she hopes to launch the web within two weeks . “We will work step by step to get peace, prosperity, fundamental freedoms, rule of law,” she added. Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, chairman of the United Kashmir Peoples National Party, said the conference has formed working groups, which will deal with various issues like rule of law and judiciary reform. “It was a successful conference,” he said. Abdul Hamid Khan, chairman of the Balwaristan National Front, addressing the conference spoke about the “alarming situation of Chinese new design to occupy Gilgit Baltistan with the blessing of Pakistan”. Shabir Choudhury, spokesman of Kashmir National Party, said: “Kashmiri struggle in a view of nationalist Kashmiris is a struggle to get national independence for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, but this should not be done in name of any religion as Kashmir dispute is not religious in nature.” Meanwhile, the Kashmir Centre in Brussels Wednesday organised the fourth annual Human Rights Day celebration luncheon with the participation of several members of the EU parliament (MEP). In his opening remarks, the Chairman of Kashmir Centre, Barrister Majid Tramboo, stated that the essence of human rights is that “human life and dignity must not be compromised” and that certain acts, whether carried out by the state or non-state actors, are never justified no matter what the ends. British MEP James Elles, chairman of All Party Group for Kashmir in the European Parliament, discussed how observing human rights plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of international peace and security.