Mush's Proposal: Change Kashmir's Status
25 October 2004
The Times of India
Islamabad: In a new formulation to resolve the vexed Kashmir issue, President Pervez Musharraf on Monday night suggested India and Pakistan consider the option of identifying some 'regions' of Kashmir on both sides of Line of Control, demilitarise them and grant them the status of independence or joint control or under UN mandate. 'I will leave a food for thought for you. Take Kashmir in its entirety. It has seven regions. Two of the regions are in Pakistan and five are in India. In my view, identify a region, whether it is the whole or seven or part, I do not know.' 'Identify the region, demilitarise the region for ever and change its status,' Musharraf said at an iftar dinner attended by diplomats, government officials and media persons in Islamabad,' he added. Elaborating further, he said the 'status can be independence, condominium where there can be a joint control or there can be UN mandate' which has to be defined by 'legal people'. State-run PTV quoted Musharraf as saying that a solution to the lingering Kashmir problem cannot be found either by insisting on plebiscite or making the LOC into a permanent border. Musharraf said since both India and Pakistan agreed to consider options to resolve Kashmir after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York in September he wanted to suggest a solution as a 'food for thought'. 'We have to consider the options in a purposeful manner going towards a solution. I strongly believe that there are options and there is a solution,' he said. Summing us his suggestion, the Pakistan President said 'identify the regions, demilitarise them and change their status. The whole debate of options will be based on this. We have to find a way out.' Musharraf said if there is a way out both the countries could claim victory and Kashmiris too will be happy as they would acquire some authority to manage their affairs. 'I have never spoken like this before to anyone. I request you to debate in line with this. It is a food for thought,' he said.