A ten-member delegation of women from Indian Jammu and Kashmir arrived in Muzaffarabad on Monday through a crossing point along the Line of Control (LoC). The delegates are attending a two-day intra-Kashmir cross LoC women’s dialogue which commenced in Muzaffarabad on Tuesday.
The conference is being held under the arrangement of 'AJK Women for Peace Organisation' (AJKWPO) and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), a French organisation.
As the delegation members, who represented Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh regions, walked into the Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) territory through the famous Kaman Bridge .They were enthusiastically greeted by their hosts with hugs, garlands and flower petals showering.
Kaman Bridge-located some 60 kilometres south of Muzaffarabad is one of the crossing points on Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. This crossing point was opened for divided Kashmiri families in 2005 as part of the ‘confidence building measures’ between the nuclear armed South Asian neighbours, India and Pakistan.
From the bridge, the women were brought to a girls college in border town of Chakothi where young schoolchildren had arranged a welcome reception.
The delegation includes Prof Dr Nusrat Andrabi, Nighat Shafi Pandit, Prof Tazdin Joldan, Qurrat-ul-Ain, Prof Dr Effat Yasmeen, Dr Ravinderjit Kour, Prof Dr Rekha Chowdhary, Prof Yasmin Ashai, Prof Ellora Puri and Ayesha Salim.
Separately, three other women from India-Sushobha Barve, Aditi Bhaduri and Kalpana Subramania Sharma also arrived in Muzaffarabad on Monday to attend the conference.
Being Indian nationals, they had travelled through the international border between India and Pakistan, the other day.
On Monday evening, registration of around 70 participants was done at the venue of the conference, a 5-star hotel here, followed by an introductory session, chaired by eminent Kashmiri writer Begum Surraya Khurshid, who is widow of former PaK president K H Khurshid.
Rukhsana Muhammad, an active member of AJKWPO, told Greater Kashmir that the conference would hear the women’s narratives on Kashmir, with reference to their experience in the conflict and the role they could play in peace building.
“It is aimed at building bridges and bringing women’s voice into peace building in Kashmir,” she said.
In September last year, a 16-member delegation from PaK and Gilgit-Baltistan had travelled to Srinagar to attend a 2-day intra-Kashmir women’s conference on women's role in society, under the aegis of CDR in collaboration with the Srinagar-based Women for Peace (WFP).
The delegation will return on November 12.