February 2006 News

Pak Fine-tuning Kashmir Proposals

23 February 2006
The Nation

Islamabad: Pakistan's foreign policy managers are engaged in fine-tuning the proposal of 'self-governance and demilitarization' in Kashmir after receiving positive hints from Washington indicating the Bush administration's growing interest in the vital plan. 'Intense discussions are on in the Foreign Office and other ruling quarters on President Bush's upcoming visit to South Asia and the policy makers are 'fine-tuning' the Kashmiris' self-rule proposal to make it acceptable,' said a senior official here requesting anonymity. He said the Bush administration has showed keen interest in the vital proposal and it has been conveyed to Pakistan that the US President would discuss it in detail with Pakistani leadership during his stay in the Pakistani capital. Nonetheless, the Indian response had not been forthcoming on the self-rule proposal so far and it has created some disappointment in the ruling circles here, the official said. What the India was willing to do was to grant maximum possible autonomy to Kashmir within its constitution and restoration of the so-called special status of the occupied Valley, he said. Another official when contacted confirmed constant interaction between Pakistan and the United States on Kashmiris' self-rule plan through diplomatic channels. He, however, said that the Bush administration was urging Pakistan to make it more acceptable for New Delhi so that concrete movement could be made towards the durable settlement to Kashmir issue. It was in this backdrop, he said that the idea of self-rule was being looked upon in detail so that the possible amendments could be made. He added that the self-rule plan for Kashmir was currently between the Indian leadership's contention that Kashmir boundaries couldn't be redrawn and the strong desire of Kashmiris to make the LoC irrelevant. He said if India showed willingness to deliberate upon the idea of self-rule with Pakistan through formal talks, the United States would have no hesitation in facilitating the meaningful dialogue between the South Asian nuclear rivals.


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