June 2001 News

Acceptability of "Third Option" for Kashmir: Pervez rules out chances

27 June 2001
The Pioneer
Rahul Datta

New Delhi: The Pakistan military junta has launched a discrete propaganda in the last few weeks to counter reports that it was keen to go for the "third option" in Kashmir. This option mooted by the United States favours the United Nations supervised autonomy to Kashmir. Fearing a backlash within Pakistan over this option, President General Pervez Musharraf ruled out any talks on the "third option" with India while interacting with editors of local newspapers on Tuesday. His advisors, meanwhile, were engaged in backroom propaganda to play down the proposal, sources said here on Wednesday. The "third option" gained currency when some influential Pakistani politicians enjoying the confidence of the military regime visited the US last month. They were reportedly told by the US to consider the option of autonomy to the Kashmir valley under the aegis of the United Nations. Pakistan could retain the control of regions in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(POK) and India settle for Jammu and Ladakh region. Sensing the obvious danger attached to this option, the regime started an exercise to distance itself from this option. President Musharraf cannot adopt a different path from the 53-year-old pakistani stand on Kashmir. The ruling elite in Pakistan have always maintained that Kashmir should either be part of Pakistan or be allowed to determine its status. The forthcoming summit meeting between President Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee could see both sides agreeing to "cool down" matters in Kashmir. The indications came on Tuesday when Fazlur Rehman, chief of the powerful Jamaat-Ul- Islami(JUI), the organisation which created the Taliban and reported to be close to the ISI and the Pakistan Army, said both sides should go in for a limited ceasefire in Kashmir. Similarly, President Musharraf issued a warning to the so-called jehadi groups and the clergy in Pakistan to refrain from launching a tirade against India. These two developments indicated that Pakistan wanted to send the right signals to the international community and India that it was keen to have peace in the sub-continent, sources said. Militant organisations like the Laskhar-e-Tayyaba and Al Badr, however, were defying the president's diktat. Largely responsible for sustaining insurgency in Kashmir, the LET and Al Badr, reiterated their aim of jehad against India to annexe Kashmir.


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