Despite opposition by organisations like the Shiv Sena to holding of functions featuring Pakistani nationals, the Amritsar-based Folklore Research Academy has decided to go ahead with its two-day conference in Agra which will mainly focus on Indo-Pakistan relations.
The subject of the conference to be held on October 17 and 18 is ‘Peace and Stability in South Asia -- with special focus on India-Pakistan relations’. A 10-member delegation from Pakistan, consisting of some leading politicians, journalists, social workers and writers are expected to attend the event.
Disclosing this to the media here on Tuesday, Folklore Research Academy president Ramesh Yadav said the Pakistan delegation has confirmed its participation in the event. “All members of the delegation have been issued visas and they will cross over through the Wagah border,” he added.
During the course of the conference, the third Nirmala Deshpande Peace Award will be given jointly to Mumbai-based Jatin Desai and B M Kunti, a Karachi-based journalist and peace activist.
Other than India and Pakistan, well-known personalities from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will be attending the two-day conference and sharing their views on South Asia peace. Well-known journalist Satish Jacob will chair the proceedings on the opening day, while the keynote address will be read out by Pakistani journalist K Agha.
The main speaker on the opening day will be Mark Tully, the renowned BBC journalist. Film personalities, including Mahesh Bhatt are also expected to attend the conference. Around 150 delegates are expected on the opening day.
A delegation of South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) will also take part in the deliberations. Amritsar-based members of SAFMA, including Rajeev Sharma of ABP news, Maninder Monga of Doordarshan and Rajinder Singh Ruby will also attended the conference.
According to Yadav the Uttar Pradesh government has promised to make adequate security arrangements for the conference.