Traditionally, the debate on situation of peace and human rights in Jammu & Kashmir has largely been focused on the Indian part of the divided state. The proponents of human rights worldwide have, generally, ignored the institutional and state-sponsored violations of human rights in Pakistan Administered Kashmir. Similarly, this part of the former princely state of the Jammu & Kashmir is fundamentally backward and comprises areas with little or nothing in terms of sustainable growth and infrastructural development.
The entire region presents a dismal picture of deprivation both in socio-economic and political terms. Pakistan Administered Kashmir is neither a province of Pakistan nor an independent entity even though it has the accessories of a state such as, a political structure, portfolios of president and prime minister, independent judiciary and a separate flag. However, despite the paraphernalia of sovereignty, the reins of actual power, discretion and authority rest with the government of Pakistan. the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report titled, “With Friends like these…” published in the year 2006 gave a first-time account of violations of human rights in Pakistan Administered Kashmir. But no other organization- local or international has reported on the situation of Human Rights in Pakistan Administered Kashmir after the publication of the HRW report.
The core objective of the Kashmir Peace Conference (KPC) was to discuss and analyze the prevailing peace & human rights situation in both parts of Jammu & Kashmir. The KPC was organized by Press for Peace (PFP) following an exhaustive consultation with a number of political parties, groups and civil society organizations.
The agenda points for the Kashmir Peace Conference (KPC) were:
(1) Peace & human rights situation in all units of Jammu and Kashmir.
(2) Rehabilitation of earthquake victims in Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
(3) Grievances of the affected people of the Mangla Dam Upraising Project
(4) Human Rights situation in Gilgit Baltistan.
The Kashmir Peace Conference was held in Kotli (PAK) and administrative arrangements were made by the PFP team which was headed by Patron-in-Chief Tanvir Latif. The PFP district coordinator Advocate Chaudhry Muhamamd Khalil Gorsi was appointed as coordinator for the KPC. The venue was decorated with various pro-peace slogans and banners which described: ‘No Peace without Justice’, ‘War is expensive peace is priceless’; ‘Give Peace A Chance’ etc.
The KPC was attended by a number of political and human rights workers, local politicians, academicians, scholars and members of NGOs/NPOs. Following distinguished delegates presented their speeches during the main session of the KPC:
Marvi Memon , Member NA Standing Committee for Kashmir, Pakistan
Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, President Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Party (JKPP)
Chaudhry Muhammad Yaseen, Vice President Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP AJK)
Dr Khalid Mehmood Acting Amir Jamaat e Islami, AJK (JI AJK)
Muhammad Matloob Inqalabi, Information Secretary PPP AJK
Shoukat Maqbool Butt, Chairman Kashmir National Liberation Front (KNLF)
Gulzar Fatima, Former Member Legislative Assembly AJK
Sardar Saghir Khan, Chairman Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (S) (JKLF –S)
Sardar Ejaz Afzal, President Muttahida Majlis e Amal, AJK
Ali Ahmed Jan, Chairman Karakaram National Movement
Qayyum Raja, Chairman Justice Forum Mir Latif , lawyer & human rights activist
Ghulam Muhammad Safi, All Parties Hurriyat Conference AJK
Syed Yousaf Naseem, Chairman APHC AJKTanvir Latif, Human Rights activist & Patron-in-Chief Press for Peace
DECLARATIONA declaration was announced at the end of the Kashmir Peace Conference which stated: