Birmingham: A major international conference on ‘Stopping the War in South Asia’ was held at the Birmingham City Council Council House in Victoria Square.
Organized by the World Sikh Parliament, it was hosted by Ranjit Singh Srai, Human Rights Council member of the World Sikh Parliament. The keynote speakers were Anthea McIntyre, MEP & Chairperson Friends of Kashmir in European Parliament, Dr Iqtidar Cheema: Member U.N. Global steering Committee on Prevention of Genocide and Atrocity Crimes, Dr Annie Waqar: Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, Rev Canon Dr Joshva Raja John Christopher: Academic Co-Dean, Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life, Prof Nazir Ahmed Shawl: Kashmir Concern, Phil Bennion : Vice Chair of Liberal Democrat party’s International Relations Committee, Fahim Kiyani President Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK, Muzzammil Ayyub Thakur: Director, The Justice Foundation: Kashmir Institute of International Affairs, S M Irfan Tahir Senior Journalist and Director of WNTV UK, Graham Williamson Chairman Nation without states, Coordinator, World Sikh Parliament (conveying message of Sri Akal Sahib Jathedar), Manpreet Singh: Coordinator, World Sikh Parliament and TV presenter, Dr Gurnam Singh: Lecturer, Coventry University and TV presenter, Amrik Singh Sahota,OBE: President, Council of Khalistan, Simranjeet Singh: Aston University Khalistan Society, Jaspreet Singh: National Union of Students, Gurpreet Singh: Saving Punjab, Dupinderjeet Singh: Sikhs for Justice, Kulwant Singh Muttadda: Human Rights lead for Shiromani Alkali Dal (Amritsar), UK as well as leading members of Sikh and Kashmiri organizations and others.
Representatives of the major UK political parties also participated in the event. The speakers arrived at a clear consensus that war must not be an option to settle the disputes in South Asia, due to the unacceptable risk of nuclear conflict. The gathering called for conflict resolution through dialogue and implementation of international law. The conference resolutions made it clear that the rights of the Kashmiris and the Sikhs to self-determination in their respective homelands was key to achieving durable peace in the region.
The conference also resolved to take this progressive agenda to the United Nations and to all state parties involved in the South Asia region, so that the voice of all stakeholders in peace could shape the destiny of the troubled region.
Also present were Shaista Safi: Progam Manager of the Youth Forum for Kashmir, Gurcharan Singh, Gurdev Singh Chohan and others. Report by S M IRFAN TAHIR Photojournalist / Member National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Great Britain.