The Kashmir Institute, SOAS organised the ‘Cross LoC Youth Conference 2018’ in London
London: A Cross Line of Control (LoC) Youth Conference brought together youth and academics from different regions of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday in London to discuss the issues concerning the region. The conference was part of one-day conference on Kashmir titled “Beyond Borders: Engagement and Dialogue Across Kashmir” organised by a Kashmir based think-tank, The Kashmir Institute, in collaboration with the South Asia Institute of reputed SOAS, University of London.
The discussion was moderated by Mark Mistry, an independent journalist focussing on Kashmir.
The organisers had divided the conference in two sessions. The first session titled ‘Bridging Divide: Cross LoC Youth Conference 2018’ was a two session round-table discussion under Chatham rules between students and scholars representing Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Jammu division, Kashmir division, and Gilgit-Baltistan.
“This was our first joint initiative with the SOAS, University of London and we plan to work jointly in future, to connect more youth from two sides of the divided region and also focus on other aspects of Kashmir,” said Fahad Shah, the Director of The Kashmir Institute, who was present at the conference.
In the afternoon session of the conference a public panel discussion titled ‘Kashmir Beyond Borders: Peace, Engagement and Dialogue Across Line of Control’ where Dr. Khalid Wasim (University of Cambridge), Dr. Goldie Osuri (University of Warwick), Dr. Mehroosh Tak (SOAS, University of London), Prof. Zafar Kahan (Formerly from London Metropolitan University), Victoria Schofield (Author and commentator), spoke in a session chaired by Dr. Navtej Purewal (Deputy Director, SOAS South Asia Institute).
In the youth conference, participants gave the perspectives of their respective regions including sharing their experiences of how they relate to the ongoing conflict of the Jammu and Kashmir.
The concluding outcome of the conference was that there has to be more intra-dialogue, regional connectivity within different regions has to increase, people to people contact should be facilitated and the Line of Control should not be seen as detrimental in finding a solution to the pending Kashmir issue.
In the later part of the day, the panelists discussed the human rights violations in the Kashmir valley, particularly since the 2016 and why there is need to dialogue between India and Pakistan in order to find a way out for the region’s growing problems due to the current political turmoil.
“We are glad to organise it jointly with a reputed UK university, also where I was a student myself, and the aim is to focus on research on various regions of the state,” said Fahad Shah, the Director of The Kashmir Institute, who was present at the conference.