Musharraf had floated a 4-point plan to freeze Kashmir border, allow people to move freely, and advocated self-governance for the region, but no independence
New Delhi : An official confirmation of the Musharraf plan for Kashmir fell for the first time from an answer by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday when he disclosed that “at one time, it appeared that an important breakthrough was in sight”, but it fell through with General Musharraf, then Pakistan president, making way for a different setup.
“Events in Pakistan, for example, the fact that General Musharraf had to make way for a different setup, I think that led to the process not moving further,” the PM said, explaining that much against his wish he could not make it because “as PM, I could go only if conditions were appropriate to achieve solid results.”
All the same, he said, he has not given up the hope yet to visit Pakistan before completing his term in May. He pointed out that he would love to visit since he was born in a village which is now part of west Punjab. “I have thought of it many times, but ultimately I felt that circumstances were not appropriate for my visit.”
“I still believe that good relations between India and Pakistan are very essential for this sub-continent to realise its full development potential, to get rid of poverty, ignorance and disease, which has been the inevitable lot of millions and millions of people in this sub-continent of ours,” PM said.
He did not divulge details of the Kashmir ‘breakthrough’ he referred, but it was an idea that the then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf floated for an out-of-box settlement of the Kashmir tangle remaining unresolved since partition, bringing the two nations to war twice and continuing to be the root cause of the continuing terrorism in the Kashmir for the past over two decades claiming hundreds of lives.
It was his predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee that brought a paradigm shift in engagements with Pakistan by travelling to Islamabad by road in January 2004. The peace process peaked after Dr Manmohan Singh took over as both sides exchanged ‘non-papers’ on Kashmir, stipulating their positions and the red lines, between 2005 and 2007. Further boost came in the foreign secretary-level talks here in January 2006.
In the ‘non-papers’, as they are called until adopted by the two sides as their official stand, Pakistan laid stress on the ‘joint management’ and sharing of sovereignty in Jammu and Kashmir, while India used the term ‘cooperative management of resources’.
Though the PM said the process was stuck up with Musharraf”s exit, sources said the negotiations had derailed after the bombing of the local trains in Mumbai.
Offering to abandon Pakistan”s persistent insistence on the UN resolution for plebiscite, Musharraf had floated through some retired bureaucrats a 4-point plan that included freezing of the two Kashmirs borders while allowing the people to move freely in the entire region, the region to have self-governance or autonomy, but not independence, troops” pullout in a staggered manner from the region and a joint supervision mechanism created with representatives from India, Pakistan and Kashmir.
Part of the offer from Musharraf was to let the Kashmiris give up the demand for secession from India and a road map be laid for India to stamp out terrorism while India was required in return to move towards resolving all outstanding bilateral issues in the second leg. India had offered to build up in the third leg a lasting relationship with Pakistan by
creating stakes in each other’s welfare.