A three day Intra-Kashmir conference organised by the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR), a New Delhi-based NGO, concluded here on Sunday evening with a call for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan and an end to trade restrictions across the Line of Control (LoC).
Winding up the conference, CDR executive secretary Sushoba Barve said the delegates resolved that the review meeting about trade across the LoC should take place in time.
The conference was attended by 64 delegates from Jammu and Kashmir, rest of India and Pakistan, she said. Thirteen members of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were among them, including Finance and Planning Minister Chowdhary Latif Akbar and two former Pakistan diplomats, Humayun Khan and Aziz Ahmad Khan.
Representatives from Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh discussed the dialogue process, confidence building measures (CBMs) and trade in detail.
According to Ms. Barve, the conference resolved that impediments to trade should be removed, multiple entry trade passes be issued, and infrastructure on all points be upgraded.
She said traders on both sides should not be made hostage to the cross-LoC bus service.
“The conference urged both governments of India and Pakistan to take steps to have expanded space for loading and unloading of goods on cross points so that increased number of truckloads can move on both sides,” a CDR press release said.
The conference also resolved that terrorism should be de-linked from the dialogue process between India and Pakistan and that it should not come in the way of its resumption.
“We also support the Sharm-el-Sheikh statement in this regard,” Ms. Barve said.
The delegates also condemned terrorism in all its forms whether perpetrated by state or non-state actors. They urged New Delhi to resume dialogue with all shades of political opinion in Jammu and Kashmir.
Urging both India and Pakistan to ease the restrictions on travel across the LoC, the conference maintained that it should not be confined to divided families only.
“Open traditional routes”
“All traditional routes should be opened for trade as well as travel, for example, Kargil-Skardu, Nowshera-Khuiratta, Bandipora-Gurez-Gilgit, Tatapani-Mendhar, Handwara, Nawkot and Chamb Jurian,” the press release said.
Ms. Barve said that since trade across the LoC had shown progress, both governments should go beyond the barter system and replace it with a permanent mechanism to further make it a success.
Laying stress on strengthening cross-LoC contacts, the conference said priority should be given to opening telecommunication links across the LoC.