Toronto, July 13 (KMS): The Friends of Kashmir Committee, Canada, has planned a solidarity conference on Saturday (July 15) to be held at Richmond Hill, a suburb of Toronto.

The speakers expected to address the conference include Lord Nazir Ahmed of England as well as representatives of the Canadian Peace Alliance, the Anti-War movement and Canadian journalists.

The conference will pay tribute to Burhan Wani, a popular youth leader, who achieved martyrdom a year ago on July 8, 2016. Even at the relatively young age of 22, he had become a Kashmiri icon because of his successful use of the social media.

The Canadian conference date also coincides with the first uprising 86 years ago of the Kashmiri people against Dogra Raj (July 13, 1931). Speakers confirmed at the conference include Sid LaCombe of the Canadian Peace Alliance, Radio Broadcaster Phil Taylor (of the popular Taylor Report) and Ken Stone, retired academic and current member of the Hamilton Coalition to the Stop the War.

“In Canada we have regularly organized conferences on Kashmir to highlight the plight of the Kashmiri people and to draw attention to this long-festering dispute,” said Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought and spokesperson for the Friends of Kashmir Committee Canada.

“Today there is considerable awareness among the Canadian public about the Kashmir dispute as a result of the efforts of our committee,” he added. Following the conference in Richmond Hill, Lord Ahmed is scheduled to speak at another programme organized by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War and the Hamilton Labour and Human Rights Council.

The programme on July 16 will be held in Hamilton, an industrial city 70km west of Toronto. The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought and the Friends of Kashmir Committee Canada have also established two scholarships for PhD students doing research on any topic related to Kashmir.

One of the scholarships is being established in the name ‘Burhan Wani Shaheed’ as a tribute to his memory. Successful candidates will do research at any reputable university in Pakistan and are expected to complete their PhD thesis within a period of four years. Scholarships will cover all their expenses including tuition and boarding and lodging during this period. Once completed, each PhD thesis will be published as a book for wider dissemination worldwide to increase awareness of the Kashmir cause.

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