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World Kashmir meet under way
Suman Guha Mozumder in New York |
February 25, 2005 18:17 IST
The fourth International Kashmir Peace Conference began in New York on Thursday.
Speaking at the conference, former US ambassador Dennis Kux and Pakistan Senator Mushahid Hussain hailed the recent Indo-Pak agreement to start a bus service between Srinagar [Images] and Muzaffarabad from April 7.
"The history of India and Pakistan relations has been littered with false hopes of bilateral dialogue and engagement. But, the bus service comes as something very concrete," said Kux, currently a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson center in Washington.
Hussain, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of Pakistan, and Dr Ghulam [Images] Nabi Fai, executive director of the Kashmiri American Council that organised the annual conference described the agreement very important.
Fai said the agreement between India and Pakistan on starting the bus service was a very important step towards paving the way for the ultimate resolution of the Kashmir issue.
About 150 people attended the annual conference that until Wednesday the organisers had claimed would take place inside the United Nations building and would include speakers from Jammu and Kashmir [Images] as well as former diplomat and journalist Kuldip Nayar.
Not only the venue of the conference was shifted to the hotel, none of the high-profile speakers turned up because, according to the KAC, they were not given travel documents by the Indian government.
"The conference is taking place, after all," Fai told rediff.com. In case of Nayar, KAC said that the veteran journalist could not make it to the conference because of illness.
Dileep Padgoanker, consulting editor of the Times of India, however, addressed the conference as did Robert C McFarlane, former National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan. Pakistan Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram also addressed the gathering.
The participants were expected to exchange ideas on Friday as to how to go about finding ways to resolve the Kashmir issue during a free-flowing roundtable discussion.