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Published:April 10th, 2012 16:43 EST
Creative Works on 7th Anniversary of Jammu-Kashmir LoC Opening

Creative Works on 7th Anniversary of Jammu-Kashmir LoC Opening

By SOP newswire2

On the seventh anniversary of opening of Line of Control (LoC) for travel between two divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indus Research Foundation presented to the people two creative works "a first ever opinion survey with Cross-LoC traders and a film on divided families "both works produced with support from Conciliation Resources, a London based peace-building organisation that has been supporting the local partners in Jammu and Kashmir since 2009.

Amidst a galaxy of civil society actors, legislators, academicians, journalists and representatives of the chambers of commerce and industries from different parts of state, the Minister for Finance Mr Abdul Rahim Rather released the opinion survey which, is an interim report of a larger study on  `Peace-building and Economic Potential of Cross-LoC Trade`. The study commissioned and supported by Conciliation Resources is being conducted by Indus Research Foundation and Centre for Peace, Democracy and Reforms, on Indian and Pakistani side of Jammu and Kashmir, respectively, through a team of economists and researchers.

The Minister for Finance lauded the efforts of IRF, CPDR and CR for coming up with an opinion survey which brings to public the three-year experience of the Cross-LoC Traders, their present status and future vision. He said that the report will be helpful for the government in formulating policies for institutionalising the Cross-LoC trade which is still conducted on barter basis.

The President of Jammu-Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dr Mubeen Ahmed Shah made a detailed presentation on the current scenario of trade and future challenges. Earlier, Prof Dipankar Sengupta, the lead economist on the research project made presentation on interpretations of the opinion survey.

Indus Research Foundation (IRF), Jammu, an upcoming regional centre for research on issues of historical and contemporary importance in Jammu and Kashmir, together with Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CDPR), Mirpur, partnered as two organisations on either side of Line of Control to undertake the research.

IRF lead by Zafar Choudhary and CPDR led by Ershad Mahmud engaged with prominent economists from the region to undertake a comprehensive research with stakeholder inputs for being able to suggest a workable roadmap for realising the full economic and peace-building potential of the Cross-LoC trade. Prof Dipanker Sengupta of the Department of Economics at University of Jammu and Zubair Faisal Abbasi, a Development Consultant in Islamabad, are leading a group of researchers on either side of the LoC on this study.

This Opinion Poll, first ever of its kind, with makes a part of the larger study report on Cross-LoC trade and is being presented to the public at this stage as an interim report for inviting wider public and policy debate on the issue.

The questionnaire for Opinion Poll was designed by Dipankar Sengupta with assistance of Bhanu Pratap Singh. 19 questions were posed to a selected sample of ten percent of all traders at four trading centres "Chakan-da-Bagh, Tetrinote, Salamabad and Chakothi. A former civil servant KD Maini interviewed the traders at Chakan-da-Bagh while a management professional Saqib Bandey interviewed the traders at Salamabad in the month of February 2012.

The results have been jointly analysed by Ershad Mahmud, Zafar Choudhary, Dipankar Sengupta and Zubair Faisal Abbasi.   

On the occasion, a film Vitasta: journey through the river Jehlum was screened. Again, a work of Cross-LoC creative collaboration, the film on divided families is made by Pawan Bali and Arif Urfi, journalists based in Jammu and Muzaffarabad respectively. Supported by Conciliation Resources, the film Vitasta was made in a unique creative collaboration in which the filmmakers got the first chance to meet only at the stage of editing. The entire concept sharing was done through emails and filming was done in isolation.

The co-maker of the film, Pawan Bali, an acclaimed television journalist, made a presentation on the making of the film. Renowned art historian and theatre artist Prof Lalit Gupta presented an analysis of the film which was received by the audience to a standing ovation.

Former Director General of J&K Police Mr MM Khajuria and former Vice Chancellor Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University Mr Masud Chaudhary presided over discussions on the film and other issues related to enhancing interactions between regions and communities in Jammu and Kashmir.