It appears that the consensus within the Pakistani establishment today is to reject and oppose the Musharraf proposals.
Return to the back channel
Saturday, September 26, 2009
As a presidential candidate, Obama publicly acknowledged the importance of resolving Kashmir. His interest of course was not in getting the Kashmiris their rights, but in winning Pakistan's full cooperation in supporting the US war in Afghanistan. He even did some loud thinking about appointing Bill Clinton as a special envoy on Kashmir. India immediately shot down the idea and Obama quickly and quietly dropped it. Also, Obama kept Pakistan-India relations out of Holbrooke's mandate in deference to Indian wishes.
While rejecting any US role in Kashmir, Delhi also told Washington that the back-channel dialogue initiated by Musharraf and Manmohan Singh in 2005 offered the best way of moving towards a settlement of the Kashmir issue. Also, if Washington wanted to be helpful, it should persuade the new government in Islamabad to resume these negotiations from the point reached in March 2007, when Musharraf's downward spiral began, stalling finalisation of the deal.
Since Musharraf's fall, the resumption of the back-channel dialogue has been the central strand of the Manmohan Singh government's Kashmir policy. A proposal to pick up the thread was made by Delhi to the new government in Islamabad shortly after Musharraf's exit. Zardari hinted at his press conference on September 9, 2008, the day he took oath as president, that Pakistan was not just willing but keen to reactivate the back channel. "[Because of] back-channel diplomacy," he said, "there will be good news before the Congress-led government in India goes for the election [in 2009]."
The Bombay attacks in November upset this time-table but did not scuttle the plan. Even after Delhi suspended the composite dialogue, it continued working behind the scenes to get the back-channel going again, leaving the diplomatic footwork mainly to Washington. Delhi's skilful diplomacy, in which Washington has fronted for India, has now borne fruit. The government's decision to appoint former Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan as Pakistan's new representative in the back-channel dialogue means that the process is in place, though it cannot start in earnest before the resumption of the composite dialogue. Publicly though, both sides are not saying much.
The important question now is whether, as India would like, the resumed back-channel talks would take place on the basis of the five-point agreement worked out under Musharraf. Its central point was that there would be no redrawing of the Line of Control (LoC), apart from some minor adjustments. The remaining clauses provided for devolution of power to the regional level; a gradual reduction of Indian troops as the militants scaled down their activities; cooperative management of resources such as water and glaciers; and soft borders.
In other words, India would get what it has always sought: the renunciation by the people of Kashmir of their struggle for azadi and recognition by Pakistan of India's occupation of Kashmir as permanent. All that the Kashmiris would get are some powers locally, more open trade and travel across the LoC and a promise of withdrawal of some troops conditional upon the good behaviour of the population.
This is the settlement that Musharraf wanted to impose on the Kashmiris and which Kasuri naïvely continues to tout enthusiastically. It is essentially nothing but a rehash of the autonomy agreements reached by Sheikh Abdullah with the difference that Pakistan will also now become a party. If this settlement is finalised, it will not extinguish the Kashmiri people's desire for freedom and will meet the same fate as the earlier deals.
What is at stake is not how much power is devolved to the State Assembly or how much trade takes place between the two parts of the state. That is not why more than 100,000 Kashmiris have laid down their lives. They did it to win freedom for Kashmir and to maintain a separate identity, not only of the present generation of Kashmiris but also of the countless generations yet to come. The people of Pakistan are pledged to support the Kashmiris in this struggle. The government must, therefore, repudiate the deal made by Musharraf. It must decide a fresh approach after holding free and frank consultations with the Kashmiri leadership and a national debate within Pakistan.
While the back-channel dialogue with Pakistan forms the central strand of Delhi's Kashmir policy, it also realises that Kashmiri representatives, including at least some from the APHC, will have to be associated with any settlement before it can be finalised. However, Delhi is wary of holding any talks held in a tripartite format involving the participation of Kashmiris without first ensuring the support of the Kashmiri representatives. To win this backing, Delhi has been working hard on a prior deal with the APHC. It is holding out to them the prospect of a share of power in the state government if they settle for enhanced autonomy within the Indian constitution.
With this in view, Delhi has reportedly held a series of secret meetings with the APHC leadership this summer. Delhi is pinning its hopes on the moderate faction led by Mirwaiz Farooq. However, he is holding back because of indication that support for his faction is slipping. This was demonstrated during the mass protest triggered last year at the decision of the Srinagar authorities to transfer land to the Amarnath shrine.
In an article in the daily Hindu (Sept 5), Praveen Swami, a well-informed journalist on Kashmir politics, also wrote about the "stark fact" that the "realists" (that is, those who "want a negotiated end to a battle they cannot win") have never been in a weaker political position. "Even in his old-city Srinagar heartland, Mirwaiz Farooq's repeated calls to pro-Islamist youth to end their now-routine clashes with the police have been ignored. Sajjad Lone's historic decision to fight the Baramulla Lok Sabha elections ended in an ignominious defeat," Swami wrote.
Given this strong pro-azadi sentiment, it is no wonder that the APHC would like to get a nod from Islamabad before sitting down at the negotiating table with Delhi. There are reports in the Indian media that Pakistan is being asked, presumably through Washington, to endorse the talks. Delhi's decision to allow Geelani to visit his son in Pakistan is also meant to conciliate Kashmiri opinion and win it over to a dialogue with Delhi on its terms.
Delhi also realises that for the back-channel dialogue on Kashmir to take place, the composite dialogue has to be resumed. Therefore, behind a smokescreen of tough talk to pacify its domestic opinion, Delhi has been lowering the bar it had set for the resumption of these talks. For some time, the only condition it has been demanding is that Hafiz Saeed should be prosecuted. On 18 September, in a further climb-down, Indian Home Minister Chidambaram said that even "half a step is a good step."
But the Indian Government cannot afford another storm of the kind that broke out after Sharm el-Sheikh. It is therefore doubtful that the arrest of Hafiz Saeed on charges which are not directly related to Bombay would be enough. Still, a breakthrough at the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in New York cannot be ruled out. A failure will not be a tragedy though. In any case, there will be an opportunity for a summit-level meeting two months later at the Trinidad CHOGM.
The veteran Indian columnist Prem Shankar Jha wrote in December 2007 that the back-channel agreement "conceded 95 per cent of India's conditions." He was being conservative. Actually it is 99 per cent. In a fair compromise, each side gives ground in more or less equal amount but when one party concedes virtually everything, as Musharraf was prepared to do, there can be no other name for it than a sell-out.
Pakistan now has a chance to walk away from this shameful betrayal of the Kashmiri aspirations. This opportunity must be seized. The Government has already said "Yes" to back channel diplomacy. It must say no to the deal that Musharraf was about to make.
The writer is a former member of the Pakistan Foreign Service. Email: [email protected]
Enough is enough from Indian participant on this forum, freedom to express here on defence.pk does not mean that you people make joke of us.Can some Pakistani member do like this on bharat rakshak, certainly not. What type of threads, these people opened there about Pakistan every one know about those. But here, they also want to dominant on us by using false language, blames and jokes about Pakistan. I don't think so, Moderator should revise their policy about Indians. I am strong supporter of freedom of expression but in limits for Indians.
What are the meanings of these lines? only blames, i think and jokes
Like Pakistan doing in Baluchistan.Stop trollingby ReddyDo you think only Muslim terrorists become martyrs ??
by R.A.WI think these people will get heaven and 72 virgins as per my Pakistani friends.
What these people want to prove? Some people are saying, those people who were killed by Indian army were Pakistani and bla bla.Totally nonsense. I think there should be no place for such thread about Indian Majors. If they want to discuss such thing then go to some Indian forum, allowing Indians on defence.pk only means to discuss to issues or defence related matter like defence tech.
There is no use to of such thread about Indian Major, now this "defence.pk forum will used to show the identity,bravery and family background of every killed person of Indian army inside occupied Kashmir ?
Its not a matter of "if" the J&K people have anything to say about it. They do. Indian Governments have used lethal force to silence them for decades. Maybe you should walk the talk on this one?
Kashmiri separatists hail Kadhafi's UN marathon
SRINAGAR, India — A marathon UN diatribe by Libya's Moamer Kadhafi may have been too much for other world leaders in the audience, but in Indian Kashmir it seems to have won him an enthusiastic fan base.
Kadhafi berated Western powers for an hour and 35 minutes from the General Assembly podium on Wednesday in a speech covering issues as diverse as John F. Kennedy's assassination, swine flu and his support for Kashmiri independence.
While a number of delegates found themselves unable to sit through the entire performance, separatist leaders far away in Indian Kashmir were united in praise for his ringing endorsement of their struggle.
"Kashmir should be an independent state, not Indian, not Pakistani. We should end this conflict," Kadhafi told the assembly.
His remarks were splashed over the front pages of Kashmir's leading dailies on Friday, as separatist leaders applauded.
"We hail this brave and valiant leader for his bold advocacy of Kashmiris? wishes and aspirations," said Yasin Malik, head of pro-independence political party the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.
"Such statements from international leaders provide solace and satisfaction to the oppressed people of Kashmir," said Malik.
Seen as one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints, Kashmir has been the trigger for two wars between India and Pakistan, who control divided portions of the region and claim the territory in full.
A 20-year armed separatist insurgency in the Indian-administered section has claimed 47,000 lives.
While some of the most powerful militant groups favour accession to Pakistan, the majority of Muslims in Indian Kashmir support independence from both the South Asian rivals.
"Independence is the only viable solution," said separatist leader Javed Mir.
Syed Ali Geelani, a hardline separatist, said the Libyan leader had set an example for others to follow.
"Not only Kadhafi, but the world leaders, especially those from Muslim nations, should play an active role in the resolution of the Kashmir issue," Geelani said.
AFP: Kashmiri separatists hail Kadhafi's UN marathon
Whatever he says isnt valued at all his delegation wrote a note to him to stop it
Also, from my interactions an from what I know, other than pro-India, pro-independence is the only other popular option in the valley area. Pro Pakistan support is quite low and in the border towns and villages. The people of Jammu and Ladakh, muslims and non-muslims are pro-India.
One of the reason why the pro-independence option has been denied by the GoP since 1948. And was reiterated again in Shimla accord.
Nothing is stopping the separatists from contesting elections and proving their popularity. What could be more embarrassing to J&K govt. than Geelani winning the election?
Last edited by Omar1984; 09-26-2009 at 07:41 PM.
Rising Kashmir, Daily Newspaper, Srinagar Jammu and Kashmir - PM’s Kashmir visit
Srinagar, Sep 25: As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to visit Kashmir next month, the mainstream camp, especially the ruling National Conference-Congress coalition, feel some serious thinking at the Track II level may restart the dialogue for the to resolution of Kashmir dispute.
Interestingly, Prime Minister’s visit would coincide with many important developments including the issuance of passport to the Chairman of Hurriyat (G) Syed Ali Geelani, eagerness of the Chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for talks with New Delhi and Shopian incident that still has a spark to trigger mass protests.
The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in Kashmir anytime next month, sources in the Congress said.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, senior NC leader and Member Parliament from South Kashmir Mehboob Beg said NC was doing what it had promised.
“I don’t believe in separatism but at the same time nobody can deny the fact that Kashmir is an issue and needs to be resolved,” Beg said. “No doubt Prime Minister’s visit coincides with many important things, especially issuance of passport to Geelani sahib. Let Geelani sahib visit Pakistan and put forth his viewpoint before the people of Pakistan.”
Asserting that NC was acting as a strong facilitator between separatists and New Delhi, the NC MP said: “Mirwaiz has gone to attend the OIC meet. Let there be a consensus as on the resolution of Kashmir issue. We hope Prime Minister will seriously invite all alienated groups for talks. If Mirwaiz resumes dialogue process with New Delhi, nothing like that.”
On Jumat-ul-Vida (the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan), Mirwaiz expressed his willingness to enter into “meaningful dialogue” with New Delhi.
A senior NC leader wishing anonymity said Pakistan and India are feeling an urge to resolve Kashmir issue.
On whether something was taking place behind the screen, he said a sense of urgency was prevailing among the leadership of both the nuclear powers about Kashmir. “Both nations have understood that without Kashmir resolution peace in entire South Asia is impossible.”
However, NC insiders reveal that it seems that India and Pakistan had reached to a level of understanding at the Track II level. “We call that back channel diplomacy,” an NC insider said.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party is also waiting eagerly for the Prime Minister to visit Kashmir. “We have supported the dialogue process from day one. All stake holders should be taken onboard,” PDP President Mahbooba Mufti told Rising Kashmir. “Mufti Muhammad Sayeed recently discussed self-rule proposal with the Prime Minister. We hope to hear a word from Prime Minister on it.”
About the issuance of passport to Geelani, Mahbooba said it was a good sign.
On whether India and Pakistan were heading toward Kashmir resolution, the PDP President said: “I feel something concrete is taking place between the leadership of the two countries.”
Ruling Congress also believes that prime minister’s main aim behind visiting Kashmir would be to prepare a ground for resumption of dialogue process. “We have been supporting the dialogue from 1947. Prime Minister will definitely invite all groups for talks,” said Congress chief spokesman and Vice President Muhammad Muzaffar Parray.
Another senior Congress leader and MLC Abdul Gani Vakil said: “The new government in Pakistan seems flexible so are the prime minister and the other leadership at New Delhi.”
Vakil said the prime minister’s Kashmir visit would be very important. “His agenda will be development of the State and to bring smiles on the faces of disgruntled leadership, who want to be part of the dialogue process.”
Oh this guy. Who is the poor man taking this torture..... I can sympathise with him.
Libyans have no future outside of oil and he is talking of being equal.... Lets see if libyans live to see equality and Kashmir.
I think I replied to the same video before. Geelani is the least popular of all sepratist leaders. They are like the JI in Pakistan. How much support JI has there? So comparitively it has even less support among Kashmiris. Also this was the time of Amarnath issue and BJP agitators doing their road blockade.
Mirwaiz Umar Farroz s far more popular and is pro-Independence. Ofcourse that doesn't mean it has a vocal core group in the towns of shopian and sopore. These have been the towns that were worst hit by violence since 89.
Again, nobody is stopping Geelani from contesting an election to prove his popularity.
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