Workshop “Kashmir Dispute & Role of Young Leaders” (27th August 2016)

On 27th August, 2016 KIIR organized a discussion with the young political leaders of AJK on the Kashmir Dispute. The discussion was held at the Mir Continental Hotel Muzaffarabad AJK and almost 30 young leaders affiliated with different parties were part of the discussion that were there to attend the session and give us their feedback.

Objectives

The main objective of the discussion was to figure out and highlight the role of young leaders in the crisis in Kashmir and in conflict transformation. Young leaders from different political, social and media groups attended the workshop. The workshop was structured on the basis of questionnaire provided to have an interactive dialogue with the youth leaders.

Feedback of the questionnaire

The programme director of KIIR Mr Altaf Wani discussed the questions with the participants and took feedback about their opinion and understanding about the various questions on the Kashmir conflict.

  • 50% of the participants have a very general information of the conflict and new very little about its political, social and economic dimensions. 30% of the participants new about the conflicts international understanding and its impacts on the people of the both sides of Kashmir. When asked about the impact of conflict on their personal life only 10% of the participants responded that their life is affected because they belong to divided families while as other 90% were of the opinion that it has no affect on their personal life.
  • When asked that what is your ideal solution to the Kashmir issue(Preferred way) all the participants were of the view that a peaceful resistance should continue and people of Jammu and Kashmir should be given the right to decide their political future.
  • The participants had no clue as to what should be done to make the situation suitable for the solution and did not favour any gradual process but instead their thrust was to call upon both India and Pakistan to implement the UN resolutions.
  • The young leaders were of the opinion that so far the party leadership has never discussed such issues with young leaders or in party meetings. However we will try to put these ideas on the agenda of the party meetings in future.
  • On possible CBMs only one participant proposed that like cross loc trade and travel some meeting points for the divided families should be made so that people who feel difficulty in getting permits and visas can meet on these points.
  • Among the participants there was a considered opinion after all the discussion that there should be one slogan and participants of all shades of opinion said that only slogan should be palvaside and the resistance should be based on the principals of self determination not on religion basis.
  • The participants were of the opinion that due to the silence on behalf of international community and prolonged resistance and non involvement of political leadership has created room for extremist elements so there is possibility of more radicalization unless it is not dealt properly and genuine political forces do not play an active role in the on going process.
  • The participants were of the view that all the abuses by the state and non state actors should be investigated properly and impartially but under the circumstances this is not going to happen as Indian state has so far refused to take even a baby step on the much talked about armed forces special power act.
  • Peaceful resistance on behalf of the people of Kashmir should not be met with force. People should be given space to express their descent on the both sides and Indian government on the other side have to release the entire political activist from the detention and withdraw their army and Para military forces from educational institutions, population areas and other civilian spaces. People to people contact between the two sides of Kashmir and India and Pakistan if resumed will create way forward.
  • Participants from the political parties were honest enough and in complete agreement that neither their parties are fulfilling its duty towards the larger context of the Kashmir conflict but this discussion has give us the strength that we may talk to party leadership and other colleagues on the same lines so that they can join the vision of conflict transformation.

Feedback

The team KIIR received a very appreciative feedback for the initiative of involving the young leaders into a discussion on the Kashmir crisis.  The majority of the participants mentioned that such activities should be conducted frequently as such discussion lead to creating awareness on Kashmir crisis. It was mentioned that such exercises would provoke the people for their cause and it will grew in chains and would produce the larger due. It was mentioned that all the institutions should be interlinked so that the participation should be made effectively either through social media or chain of the people.

One of the participants mentioned that such discussions and workshops lead to create awareness about the culture and history of Kashmir and there is a need to struggle to make Kashmir studies part of the syllabus so our generations to come have a know how about the crisis and the progress by international institutions to resolve this conflict. It was mentioned that without proper awareness of the Kashmir issue the young leaders won’t be able to make their contribution in the conflict.

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