Track Two Diplomacy between India and Pakistan in Dubai

By Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: Former Military high ups, policy-makers, journalists and civil society representatives from India, Pakistan and both parts of Kashmir met for the fourth round of the Track-II diplomacy Dialogue to discuss the opportunities and space for the resumption of Indian Pakistan peace process in Dubai, the earlier talks held in Jordan, Thailand and England brokered by Kashmir Initiative Group in recent years.

Kashmir Initiative Group in collaboration with a non-governmental organization of United Kingdom Conciliation Resources held Kashmir conference having title “Sulah Dialogue” in Dubai from 31 July – 2 August 2017. The representatives of Pakistan, Indian, Azad Kashmir and Indian control Kashmir discussed and suggested way forward for both Indian and Pakistan to bring back peace process for the betterment of entire region.

Jonathon Cohen, Executive Director, Conciliation Resources, London, Tahir Aziz, south Asia director, Conciliation Resources, London and Ameya Killara, conciliation Resources program advisor, Harvard University, USA, Ershad Mehmod convener of Kashmir Initiative Group and Dr Shujat Bukhari conducted the conference.

The participants discussed the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir and emphasized the need for dialogue to be resumed and relief measures to alleviate the suffering of people in Jammu and Kashmir. Host of the “Sulah Dialogue” Kashmir Initiative Group and Conciliation Resources organizers said that the recommendations of the conference will be sent to respective governments of Pakistan and India. 

The representatives have agreed to stress on their respective governments to initiate government level productive talks as soon as possible. The official talks between India and Pakistan began several times but are currently stalled and have yet to settle the longstanding conflict in and around Jammu and Kashmir.

Ershad Mehmod convener of Kashmir Initiative Group and Executive Director CPDR talking about Dubai Dialogue with “The Fortress” said everyone know that way of peace between Indian and Pakistan passes through Delhi and Islamabad and Srinagar and Muzaffarabad have to follow the line of both capitals. He said there was dire need that Kashmiri representative of both parts for Kashmir discuss proposed solution of dispute in front of Indian and Pakistan influenced civil and military high ups. And we are proud that Kashmir Initiative Group provided that opportunity to representative of all four stakeholders on the sides of table, he elaborated.

The crux and key feature of the meeting was the participation of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) representatives nominated by both Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani in “Sulah Dialogue”. Syed Faiz Naqasbandi representative of APHC (U) in Azad Kashmir chapter and Abdul Rashid Turabi former chief of Jamat-e-Islami AJK were part of the Dubai Dialogue.

Abdul Rashid Turabi former head of Jamat-e-Islami Azad Kashmir said that the Dubai Peace Dialogue was a right step in right direction where leadership of both parts of Kashmir expressed its inner with open heart. After long discussion there was a consensus among the Kashmiris that we should have to provide space to peace, and to secure that we suggested some confidence building measures (CBM, s) to India. Let India to release all the political prisoners, abolish draconian laws, stop human rights violations and provide an atmosphere where both Pakistan and Indian can start negotiations to settle decade old issue. He said this Intra Kashmiri Dialogue enabled us to understate the point of view of each other and there should be more such kind of meetings in which leadership of both parts of Kashmir, Pakistan and India sit on the corners of the table.

Lieutenant general (R), Mohammad Asad Durrani, Former ISI chief general, General (R) Ehsanul Haq, former chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff committee,  Air Vice Marshal (R) Kapil Kak, former air vice marshal of Indian air force, while Dr Shujat Bukhari ,Rising Kashmir, Shafat Ahmad, center for law and developments, Srinagar, Zafar chaudry, senior journalist of Jammu, Zahir ud Din, Greater Kashmir, Ifthar Gelani, Edditor DNA India, Asgar Ali Karbalai, MLA kargil, Balwat Singh Mankotia, president JK national panther’s party, Gulam Nabi Manga, member legislative council, Srinagar, Khurram Parvez, a well known human rights activists, Vikram Randhawa, member legislative council, Jammu, Nasir Aslam Wani, National conference, came from Indian controlled Kashmir.

Ershad Mehmood, center for peace, development and reforms, Islamabad, Shah Ghulam Qadir speaker AJK assembly, Chaudhry Latif Akbar (PPP AJK), Abdur Rashid Turabi (JI AJK), Dr Shaheen Akhtar (National Defense University Islamabad), Muhammad Saghir Khan, Muslim conference, Sardar Amjad Yusaf khan, Kashmir institute for international relations, represented the Azad Kashmir. They recommended that a cessation of hostilities be ensured on all sides, the ceasefire established in 2003 be respected, confidence building measures be strengthened and new routes opened for trade and travel across the Line of Control.

Participants also emphasized the decision makers of both countries to find out the long-lasting Kashmir issue for the peace of South Asia. In Jammu and Kashmir region, representatives of Pakistan and India including Kashmiris also deeply concerned on the human rights violation. Representatives from both the sides also demanded to re-start Intra-Kashmir trade and Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service that bus service has been suspended for the last few weeks due to tension between Pakistan and India.

Latter at the end of the Dialogue the participants made a meeting with Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari at his residence in Dubai. In get-together meeting Asif Ali Zardari was of the opinion that Pakistan and India cannot resolve the complicated Kashmir issue without involving the real representatives of Kashmir. Mr Zardari suggested it is the time for us to sit together and work out a solution to the long-drawn issue.

The writer is an editor of The Fortress, he can be reached at arifqoreshi@gmail.com

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