MIRPUR (AJK) - An Indian non-governmental organisation held a conference that was attended by about 70 civil society members hailing from Azad Jammu Kashmir and Indian Held Kashmir as well as Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and India, in Jammu city of the Indian side, as per a report reached here.

Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Executive Director Sushobha Barve in her welcome note said, "As an Indian and a South Asian, I am deeply unhappy about the social, political and physical barriers that we have created that are preventing the people from meeting and talking to one another.

These barriers are unacceptable. The civil society has to put all its efforts to bring down every such barrier to create space, explore ways and means to find solutions that have eluded us for the past six decades."

The inaugural session was chaired by Indian Air Vice Marshal (r) Kapil Kak. He made a plea that entry and exit points between the two parts of the state should be made flexible.

Other speakers included former chief justice of AJK High Court Abdul Majid Malik, Justice (r) Bilal Nazki, former chief justice of Orissa High Court Amina Bibi and Anil Gupta Advocate. Justice (r) Majid Malik expressed the hope that the conference would convey a message to all those forces that were against peace and that there was a group committed and dedicated to peace.

He said his very presence in Jammu, where he could exchange views with friends, filled him with inspiration. He hoped that both the India and Pakistan had realised that people of Jammu and Kashmir had legitimate demands like free communication, free movement and free expression.

Mr Bilal hoped that the dialogue could result in a consensus which could be presented to both the governments of India and Pakistan. Advocate Anil Gupta called for a exchange delegations across the Line of Control. Amina Bibi, the member of Gilgit/Baltistan Legislative Assembly, recalled her roots in Kargil and called for reopening of traditional trade routes that had existed earlier between Kargil and Skardu.

Aziz Ahmed Khan, the former Pakistan's High Commissioner to India, was the final speaker. He said that he was impressed by the personalities, who were participating in the conference from both sides. For some of them coming from across the LoC to Jammu had been an emotional moment, he said and added civil society had a very important role to play in bridging the divide.

PPP marks founding day: The PPP local chapter organised a function to celebrate the party 45th founding day here the other day.

PPP District President Malik Aamar Yar Warran was the chief guest wile Tehsil President Sardar Kamran Mehmood Dahar presided over the function.

The party local leaders including Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf, Akbar Khan Barakzai, Ejaz Bokhari, Irshad Ahmed, Munawar Abbasi, Ghulam Abbas Shah, Mohammad Iqbal Azad, Saleem Bhatti and Mohammad Ali Ahsan spoke on the occasion. They also reposed confidence in the leadership of party's Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.