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'Allow Kashmiri leaders to travel freely for CBMs'

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March 27, 2006 13:03 IST

A comprehensive discussion was held on the Kashmir issue at the ongoing six-day World Social Forum meet, which is focusing on problems faced by the South Asian region, the Palestine issue, Iraq and the Iran nuclear standoff.

Delegates at the forum urged India to allow Kashmiri leaders to travel freely as part of the various Confidence Building Measures being taken to improve the ties between India and Pakistan.

Over 20,000 delegates from 58 countries in south and South East Asia, China, Europe and Americas are attending the WSF meet, with focus on prominent South Asian issues, especially peace initiatives between India and Pakistan, Palestine and Israel, the situation in Iraq and the ongoing standoff on Iran's nuclear programme.

The WSF was established in 2001 by community organisers, trade unionists, youth leaders and academics. It meets every year in different parts of the world since its first meeting at Porto Alegre, Brazil [Images].

In 2004, the forum met in Mumbai to debate anti-globalisation strategy in which over 100,000 delegates participated.

Meanwhile, chairman of the moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq hoped the two countries would involve Kashmiri leadership in the talks process, which, he said would not move forward unless Kashmiris, who are "important stakeholders" are made part of the peace process.

India and Pakistan resumed their talks in February 2004 following years of tensions that brought them to the verge of a full-scale war in December 2001. They are currently holding the third round of composite dialogue, which began with a meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries in New Delhi in January.

Mirwaiz said he felt encouraged with the presence of leaders both from Jammu and Kashmir [Images] and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, which will help them debate the issue in detail and guide their respective governments in the right direction.

"Kashmir is not merely a border dispute between Pakistan and India, it is an unending tale of human suffering," he said and added, Kashmiris want to secure a future where they could live with "honour and dignity". Former prime minister of PoK Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan called for exploring interim steps such as demilitarisation and self-rule in the region before discussing ways to resolve the vexed Kashmir issue.

He supported the CBMs taken by India.

Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik, expressing disappointment with the performance of the forum in the last two years, said it is fast loosing its charm for becoming a forum of intellectuals and is giving up contacts with resistance movements all over the world.

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