Kashmir visit helping peace, says journalists
1 December 2004
The Daily Times
Lahore: Our visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Northern Areas' (NAs) was an important step towards peace between India and Pakistan, declared the delegation of Indian journalists that visited AJK and NAs from November 22 to 29. The delegation called their visit an attempt to cover the information deficit on both sides. South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) arranged the visit under its 'Journalists Exchange Across Kashmir' programme. The visits was a reply to a visit by a group of 17 Pakistani journalists who had visited Indian held Kashmir Valley, Sri Nagar, Jammu and other cities in October 2004. The delegation comprised of journalists from Indian Kashmir Valley, Sri Nagar, Jammu, New Delhi, Chandi Garh and other Indian cities. The delegation was allowed to interact with society, civil society groups, politicians, students and top government officials. Vinod Sharma, Pushp Saraf, Yousaf Jameel, Zafar Meraj, Shujaat Bukhari and others journalists said this visit had helped them find out the truth. 'We are lending collective shoulders to keep the reel moving,' said Mr Sharma, while representing the delegation at a meeting (Meet The Press) arranged by the Lahore Press Club on Wednesday. Imtiaz Alam, SAFMA central secretary general, Arshad Ansari, LPC president, and Noman Yawar, secretary general, also attended the meeting.The delegation left for India on Wednesday and said that journalists had an important role to play in bringing the two countries together. They said that information should be shared by the journalists of both countries and there should be no 'no go area'. They said that lack of information caused many erroneous illusions about the people of held Kashmir.