Kashmir Conference Continues Positive Steps

Kashmiri American Council / Kashmir Center, Washington, D.C., July 13, 2005 – Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Executive Director of the Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center said today on the eve of the Fifth International Kashmir Peace Conference that,
We have reason to be hopeful and optimistic because we have seen over the past few years deeper engagement of the United States with India and Pakistan.
This is an engagement that seemed inconceivable four to five years ago. The conference, which is being hosted by Senator Tm Johnson (D-SD) and Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and organized by the Kashmiri American Council and Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, taking place at the Capitol Hill this Thursday July 14th and Friday July 15th. The conference is shaping up to be another step forward in a positive direction towards a continued dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmir.

Dr. Fai recalled when such developments began to take shape. We do remember when Prime Minister Singh and President Musharraf agreed in New York City to explore all possible options for the peaceful settlement of Kashmir. Dr. Fai went on to say that, in May of this year both agreed to continue sincere, meaningful, and sustained dialogue to settle all issues including that of Kashmir. These meetings created an atmosphere for agreements like the recent reopening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service.

The conference could not be happening at a better time as Prime Minister Singh is due to visit the White House on July 18th, following the landmark security agreement between the United States and India. Furthermore, the Pakistani Prime Minister will also visit at the end of this month. According to Dr. Fai, US engagement of both India and Pakistan can only bring forth positive steps for a long lasting peace, especially when such confidence building measures have been made with both sides to ensure trust that the United States is truly sincere in taking an active role. However, the only issue that may arise in the event of a peace settlement between India and Pakistan regarding Kashmir would be the issue of Kashmiri involvement in the negotiations. Fai emphasized that, there can not be any lasting settlement of the Kashmir dispute without involvement and participation of the Kashmiri leadership in the negotiation process.

Following dignitaries, diplomats and scholars are invited to speak at the conference.
Amb. Jehangir Karamat, Pakistan Ambassador to the U.S.; Prof. Stanley Wolpert, Department. of History, UCLA; Mr. Ejazul Haq, Member, National Assembly; Mr. Gautam Navlakha, Economic & Political Weekly, New Delhi; Sardar Sikander Hayat Khan, Prime Minister, Azad Kashmir; Amb. Riaz Khokhar, Former Pakistan s Foreign Secretary; Dr. Subramanum Swamy, President, All India Janata party; Mr. Makhdoom Faisal Hayat Khan, Minister, Kashmir Affairs; Prof. Robert Wirsing, Department. Of Regional Studies, Honolulu; Amb. Yusuf Buch, Former Advisor to the UN Secretary General; Senaotr Aslam Buledi; Dr. P. Ambegaonkar, President, Bridging Nations, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Ghulam N. Mir, President, World Kashmir Freedom Movement; Dr. Douglas Johnston, President, International Center for Religion & Diplomacy; Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, President, AJK Muslim Conference; Barrister Majeed Tramboo, Executive Director, Kashmir Center, Brussels; Dr. Vijay Sazawal, Indo-American Kashmir Forum; Dr. Hameeda Banu, Department. of English, Kashmir University; Ms. Karen Parker, Association of Humanitarian Lawyers; Mr. Lars Rise, member, Norwegian Parliament; Mr. T. Kumar, Amnesty International; Dr. Khalid J. Qazi, Sister s Hospital, Buffalo; Prof. Nazir Shawl, Kashmir Center, London; Dr, Rodney Jones, President Policy International Architect

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