MIRPUR (AJK)

A two-day conference of Azad and Indian-held Jammu and Kashmirs concluded with a unanimous resolution passed to build bilateral linkages to ensure their vibrant role for the regional peace.

The conference was hosted by AJK-based NGO Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) and the Centre for Peace Development and Reforms (CPDR) in association with Kashmir Initiative Group.

According to a joint statement issued here on Saturday, at the conclusion of the moot held at Islamabad Club, a group of 29 journalists from AJK and Indian-held Kashmir met in Islamabad. They discussed a range of issues related to their profession and their role in conflicts. The journalists also talked about the possibilities of building linkages across the Line of Control (LoC) to help build peaceful atmosphere.

They deliberated on how to improve the contact across the line of control to reach out to the readers with the accurate information. The discussion was held on various mechanisms to translate it into reality.

The journalists from Indian-held and Azad Kashmirs came up with several recommendations they agreed upon during the workshop. They urged both India and Pakistan to facilitate implementing them and remove barriers on movement of journalists on both the sides.

The journalists also formed a four-member group which would be responsible for content sharing between different media organizations. They also formed a joint working group of the journalists from the two sides. It would further build up the linkages.

The conference recommendations: (1) content sharing (news, feature and photo aggregate); publishing apolitical stories from one another’s region; (2) Creation of joint social media groups including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp; (3) holding of frequent interactions after every six-month period; (4) creation of an interim body in the future and name the body (eg Intra Kashmir Journalists Group). The body will have Azad Kashmir and Jammu Kashmir chapters and a rotational president will be elected every two years with joint training programs of working journalists; (5) starting of a process of registering professional journalists; (6) documentation of history of journalism on; and (7) ensuring hard copies of newspapers circulated across-LoC routes and seeing that all the libraries have these newspapers.

The others recommendations were making of a documentary about the life in Kashmir that would end on the two sides of the LoC; involving the media departments of both the sides and delivering lectures on Skype to journalism students.

On the occasion, a Content Sharing Group was formed comprising Rashid Maqbool (Srinagar), Hakeem Irfan (Srinagar), Khalid Gardezi (Muzaffarabad) and Samar Abbas (Muzaffarabad).

Similarly, 15-member Working Committee comprising senior journalists from AJK an IHK was also formed comprising Dr Shujaat Bukharin Ershad Mahmud, Abid Khurshid, Abid Sidiq, Shehzaad Rathor, Altaf Hamid Rao, Athar Masood Wani, Amina Amir, Asif Raza Mir, Iftikhar Gillani, Mehmood Rashid, Tariq Ali Mir, Peerzada Ashiq, Farooq Javed Khan, Shahana Butt and Mohammad Aslam Bhat, the statement added.