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J&K leaders to bridge West, Islam gap

PDP, Hurriyat and National Conference leaders will visit Cairo in an attempt to bridge age-old gap, writes Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 13:38 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi

Top Kashmiri leadership will travel to Egyptian capital Cairo next month with roadmaps to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict and suggestions as to how to bridge centuries-old gap between Islam and the West.

People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti will be appearing for the first time at any international conference.

She heads the party that has come out with "self rule" formula as solution of Kashmir crisis. She will offer her ideas to bring peace between Israel and Palestine - the landthat is sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians - at the conference which will dwell on the subject: 'A region in Transition: Peace and Reform in Middle-East'.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and People's Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone have their formulas ready to iron out the differences between Islam and the West in the context of West Asia.

But National Conference President Omar Abdullah, though invited, will not attend the conference. He has no intentions to travel hundreds of miles to lecture others what to do when his own land - Jammu and Kashmir - is grappling with violence and human rights violations on daily basis.

"I will be better here, with my own people at this time, when so much is happening in Kashmir," he said. His party believes that greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir is the best solution.

A six-day-long conference is being organised by an international non-profit organisation, Pugwash, in Cairo from November 10 to 15.

There will be six working groups, with each group dwelling upon the subjects: Nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament; WMD in the Middle East and establishment of WMD-free zones; prospects for the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process; Islam and the West; governance democracy and reforms in the Middle-East, non-military threats to security.

Drawing from their own day-to-day experiences of the violent conflict gripping Kashmir, and the possible solutions, they think they can offer ideas to resolve the contentious issue.

These leaders will outline their own roadmap for the Israel-Palestine crisis, which is reckoned as the major source of tension across the globe and particularly between Islam and the West.

All these leaders have had a close brush with death. Militants have attempted assassination bids on Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – both of whom are faces of the new generation of mainstream politics.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Sajjad Gani Lone - representing the moderate separatist landscape of J&K - lost their fathers at the hands of forces of violence.

Sajjad's father Abdul Gani Lone was assassinated on May 21, 2002 at a commemorative rally of the 12th death anniversary of Umar Farooq's father Moulvi Mohammad Farooq.

The two will be speaking on the same subject: 'Islam and West' at the conference.

Mirwaiz advocated for 'United States of Kashmir' as a solution for Kashmir crisis, the replica of which he may offer as a way out for the Israel-Palestine conflict that can narrow the differences between Islam and the West as well.

Sajjad Lone has a roadmap based on Northern Ireland.

Mehbooba Mufti will be speaking on the "Israel-Palestine peace process". In Kashmir, this conflict has its wide impact, and the passions can easily be aroused on the issue.

Mehbooba, Mirwaiz Umar and Sajjad Lone all hope that they would be contributing a bit through their ideas and also learning a lot about conflict resolution.

After all, they all have seen violence and some glimpses of the clashes that characterise the conflict situations. Kashmir is also reckoned along with Middle-East as one of the hot spots in the world. Leaders from one hot spot will tell the leaders of another how to go about in dousing flames of hatred and violence.

First Published: Oct 26, 2006 13:38 IST