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Pervez Musharraf and Kashmir: The facts

It was amusing to read the Federal Information Minister’s statement that former President Pervez Musharraf had harmed the Kashmir cause the most, at a time when his chief is cozying up to Narendra Modi, the butcher of Gujrat, asking no questions about the proven RAW involvement in fomenting terrorism in Pakistan.

Actually, President Musharraf came very close to solving the Kashmir problem, which has been a drain on the country’s resources since its creation, on honourable terms to Pakistan. This was confirmed by Wikileaks, which quoted a US Embassy cable dated April 21, 2009 reporting on a meeting between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and a visiting US delegation led by then House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman (ref.http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/india/68/ wikileaks-manmohan-singh-musharraf-came-close-to-striking-kashmir-deal/4631/). This was later confirmed by Dr. Singh himself at his farewell press conference on January 4, 2014 (ref.http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-manmohan-confirms-missed-opportunity-with-pakistan-on-settling-kashmir-dispute-1945141).

The draft agreement was based on Musharraf’s “out of the box” thinking, whose four points included demilitarization, maximum autonomy, making the border irrelevant and joint management of the area. There were rumours in the western media that President Parvez Musharraf and Dr. Manmohan Singh were being tipped to receive the Nobel Peace Prize had they succeeded in their efforts. Musharraf’s initiative was also hailed by Mir Waiz Umar Farooq.

Very recently, Musharraf’s efforts were lauded by Ram Jethmalani, eminent lawyer, Chairman of the Indian Kashmir Commission and former union minister (ref. http://zeenews.india.com /news/jammu-and-kashmir/jethmalani-advocates-musharraf-formula-on-kashmir_1495844.html). Advocating Musharraf’s four-point formula on Kashmir, Jethalmani said the document should be the basis for a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue. He said, “Musharraf came to India with a firm and honest intention. His proposal is a fantastic solution to the Kashmir problem. It is a wonderful document which should be the basis for a permanent solution of Kashmir”.

Wikileaks reports that “Later, however, Pakistani government rejected the formula, saying that it was Musharraf’s personal line of thinking that

lacked endorsement either by Pakistani parliament or cabinet.”

Of all the good done by Musharraf which his successors have undone (such as the Nazim system) this was perhaps the ‘most unkindest cut of all’, to use a Shakespearean phrase. If the Musharraf-Manmohan Singh initiative had gone through, the benefit to Pakistan’s current and future generations would have been immeasurable, and would have allowed the Kashmiris to live with peace, honor and security, something which has eluded them since the partition of India.

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