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Islamabad: 28th January 2014
National Defence University
Kashmir: Looking Beyond the Peril
One of the best two-day International workshops held at the National Defence University (NDU). This productive and educational summit was organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA) which is part of NDU. The Army Institution discussed the Kashmir issue and bringing the two nations, India and Pakistan together to work upon. The workshop was attended by international social scientists and a larger number of audiences from different Universities of Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. All the participants attended different sessions which included:
First day of the workshop, 27th January 2014 started with the recitation of verses from the Holy Qur'an, followed by welcome remarks by the President of National Defence University in the NDU Auditorium. Chief guests of the workshop started with the opening speeches which built a base of the theme of the workshop "Kashmir: Looking beyond the Peril" with an aim to resolve the Kashmir dispute without the intervention of any conflict.
Various plenary sessions were conducted each one chaired by experts alongside two speakers belonging to a variety of background, knowledge and expertise.
The sessions held by the trio in three different rounds of speeches and debates included:
Topic: The Nature of Kashmir dispute: Revisiting Human Dynamics vs Territoriality
Chaired by Ambassador Khalid Mehmood
Speakers: Ms Atia Inayatullah and Mr. Wadah Khanfar, President of Al Shark Forum, an independent network dedicated to developing long term strategies for political development, social justice and economic prosperity of the people of the middle east.
Session held by Ms. Sherry Rehman included speakers Dr. Christopher Snedden along with Ambassador Inam ul Haq discussing Quest for sustainable Peace in South Asia: A review in the backdrop of People's Aspirations, Nuclear Responsibility and Economic Growth.
The third session started with the gestures of an humble old friendship of the 'two' who brought smiles on the faces of the audience as the one wanted to let the other go to the stage first, these two were none other than Mr. A.G Noorani from India and Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi from Pakistan. The session started with the opening comments by the Chair Dr. Maleeha Lodhi along with Mr. A.G Noorani and Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi who discussed the Approaches to Unknotting the Issue, specifically Kashmir dispute.
Apart from the extraordinary plenary sessions in this two days Workshop, four different Academic Sessions were also held led by experts. These sessions were conducted in the seminar halls of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA).The first session was led by the Dean of the Faculty of Contemporary Studies, NDU, Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, whose co-speakers included Anuradha Bhasin from the occupied Jammu and Kashmir (or vice versa), Mr. Andrew Douglas Carl, Ms. Gulden Ayman and Mr. Moeed Yusuf. This academic session carried the topic of Confidence Building Measures and beyond.
An academic session was chaired by Mr. Rasual Bakhsh Rais a well-known social scientist and a Professor of one the prestigious institutions of Pakistan, LUMS, along with the speakers Mr. Ejaz Haider, Dr. Muhammad Khan and Ms. Shaheen Akhtar from National Defence University. The speakers put their vision on the subject Non Traditional Security Challenges and presented their thoughts.
On 28th January, an academic session was chaired by General Athar Abbas alongside two other speakers including Victoria Schofield and Mr. Zahid G Muhammad, who with the best of their scholarly skills and expertise threw light on the Role of Media in Kashmir Conflict. At the same time, another session was also going side by side in another Seminar Hall of ISSRA, which was chaired by Major General Noel Khokhar along with other expert speakers; Dr. Siddiq Wahid, Dr. Ms. Li Li and Dr. Ashfaque Hassan Khan who discussed Kashmir: A Bridge for rejuvenation?
All the sessions had tea break, lunch break and interactive sessions. The last day of the two day Workshop was concluded and wrapped up by trio Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Mr. A.G Noorani and Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi with the special presence of the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan. Mr. President presented his remarks about the workshop and termed it as fruitful for the future.
The last day of the workshop ended up with coffee and tea sessions in a lighter mood in the Mess Lounge, participated by all the participants, important personalities, students, foreign guests and scholars with one on one session. Positive gestures were shared by all the personalities and each shared the virtue with the cup of joy and hopefulness of a new dawn and awakening of the young generation under experienced mentors which may bring peace not just to the region, but to the entire earth, for generations!
National Defence University
Naqash Munir, currently working at Muslim Hands International, is a former member of National Youth Assembly (session 2015-2016), Master of Science in International Relations and has apprenticed at Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA) and National Assembly Secretariat (Parliament of Pakistan).
You never seem worried, asked thee. I am a traveler, worries are just dull sceneries, said me.