Pugwash Islamabad Conference

The News, February 26, 2006
Pugwash Islamabad conference to attract luminaries
By Mariana Baabar

ISLAMABAD: The first three-day Pugwash Conference to be held from March10 to 12 in Islamabad is expected to attract luminaries from Azad Kashmir, Indian Held Kashmir, India and Pakistan. The first such conference on Kashmir was held at Kathmandu.

"The conference will provide a platform for the eminent representatives and facilitate the ongoing peace process. The Pugwash Conference offers no solution but only facilitates all on a common platform. It will also provide an opportunity to Kashmiris on both sides to get together and look at the prospects for self-governance in Jammu and Kashmir.

The conference will dwell on the present status and ways and means to accelerate the process of communication across the LOC while also looking at the prospects for exploring peace," says General (r) Talat Masood, the Chief Coordinator of the Pakistan Chapter of the Pugwash.

Invitations for Pakistanis, who are expected to attend this closed door conference, where no one is allowed to be quoted, are being sent out and some of these are Mushahid Hussain, Sherry Rehman, Samina Ahmed, Dr Shirin Mazari, Amanullah Khan, Sardar Qayyum Khan, Sardar Atiq, Majid Malik, Farooq Rehmani, Barrister Sultan Mehmud, Maulana Fazlurar Rehman, Abdus Sattar, Najmuddin Sheikh and Najam Sehthi.

Of great interest will be Mehbooba Mufti and Omer Abdullah on their maiden visits to Pakistan. They will be joined by Yasin Malik, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Barrister Majeed Taamboo, Abdul Ghani Bhatt, Ali Gillani, Nabi Fai, Farooq Qatwari and the Lone brothers.

It is as yet undecided whether SK Lamba will attend though there are many in the Pugwash who hope that as he is involved in backdoor diplomacy, he would be present. Besides him Raja Mohan, Wajahat Habibullah and MK Rasgotra are some of the invitees.

The only foreigner to attend will be Pugwash Secretary General Prof Paolocotta Ramusino.

The purpose of the Pugwash Conferences is to bring together, from around the world, influential scholars and public figures concerned with reducing the danger of armed conflict and seeking cooperative solutions for global problems. Meeting in private as individuals, rather than as governments or institutions representatives, Pugwash participants exchange views and explore alternative approaches to arms control and tension reduction with a combination of candour, continuity, and flexibility seldom attained in official East-West and North-South discussions and negotiations.

Yet, because of the stature of many of the Pugwash participants in their own countries (as, for example, science and arms-control advisers to governments, key figures in academies of science and universities, and former and future holders of high government office), insights from Pugwash discussions tend to penetrate quickly to the appropriate levels of official policy-making.

A basic rule is that participation is always by individuals in their private capacity and not as representatives of governments or organizations.


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