MIRPUR (AJK)

The two-day Intra-Kashmir Women’s Dialogue concluded here with a special emphasis on addressing issues of Kashmiri women through due empowerment couple with the grant of decision-making status on both sides of the Line of Control in the Jammu and Kashmir State.

The conference was aimed at encouraging the vibrant role of Kashmiri women in all endeavours for early peaceful settlement of the much-delayed Kashmir issue.

NGO - Jammu & Kashmir Women for Peace (JKWP) Organization hosted the conference in collaboration with Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) engaged in promoting importance of the establishment of peace in conflict zones in various parts of the world including the internationally-acknowledged disputed Himalayan State of Jammu & Kashmir.

The intra-Kashmir conference-cum-capacity building workshop was opened with the address by Chief Justice (r) Abdul Majid Malik on the topic “Kashmir Dispute: Past, Present & Future”. The presentation which was inspiring, balanced and positive led to the adoption of a resolution for bringing the voice of women to the peace process for a just and durable solution to the Kashmir dispute.

The main focus of the two-day summit was “Addressing Women Issues in Divided Societies”.

The conference was also addressed among others by Dr Attiya Innayat Ullah, Dr Almut Besold, Resident Representative of International NGO Fur Die Freiheit, Chief Executive Officer and Sr. Vice President AJKWFPO Dr N Seema Jogezai, Dr Zahida Qasim, Secretary Information AJKWFPO and Coordinator, Najma Khan, Prof Pervein Munir Chaudhry, former AJK minister Naheed Tariq, Tehzeeb Hassan Rao, Aisha Mallick, Amna Shaukat Mallick and others.

The overall objectives of the workshop were to examine the role of women as peace builders, the need to improve basic needs of women and empower them, create awareness of the IDP situation and issues relating to AJK women and girls along the LoC and deliberate on the need for a just and sustainable peace in Jammu & Kashmir.

It came under discussion that even though there was no armed conflict in AJK as was in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, the impact and effect as could be seen during the proceedings was of high intensity in AJK.

Later, unveiling the unanimous findings and recommendations of the conference, AJKWFPO Secretary Information Dr Zahida Qasim told media here on Monday that the participants of the Intra-Kashmir Women’s Dialogue welcome this first-ever consultation for women of AJK on issues of women’s role in peace and security and the need for women’s agency & empowerment. Further, JKWP are complimented on the effort put into selection of the topics and overall programme, the professional presentations and interactive discussion.

The participants believed this was a transformative event for the women of AJK and hope through JKWP in the months and years ahead to be able to establish the missing voice of women in the public domain in Jammu & Kashmir, she underlined.

Through a unanimously-passed resolution on the subject depicting endorsement of intra-Kashmir women’s dialogue, the conference reiterated the near absence of Kashmir women in the decision-making process and public domain, as such women were ill-equipped to play a role and do not know how to use their rights to advantage. However, it was agreed that women were victims but as much agents of change. The relatively high level of literacy in AJK is an asset for the JKWFP initiative to raise awareness about peace building and mobilizing women for the peace process, it added.

In the above context the participants appreciated the Intra Kashmir Women’s Dialogue initiative of JKWP recognized that it was the first time ever in AJK that a knowledge platform was being created whereby women could be peace builders engage as partners with men in the peace process, work on creating women’s agency and therein also address women’s empowerment.

As proposed, the Mirpur workshop had identified a volunteer leaders group which would relay the message in the Mirpur District. In this regard the need for an orientation & training of trainers of all the identified volunteer leaders was recommended to JKWP as an essential follow-up activity.

The conference strongly recommended that the voice of Kashmiri women should in all the peace processes to reduce tension between India and Pakistan through the early peaceful settlement of all long standing differences between the two countries especially the core issue of Kashmir in line with the aspirations and wishes of the people of Jammu & Kashmir State.