April 2006 News

Pragmatic approach on Kashmir urged

10 April 2006
The Dawn

Karachi: The need for a pragmatic approach for resolving the Kashmir issue was stressed at a round-table conference organised by the Pakistan- India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy here on Monday. The participants discussed the options spelt out by Dr Mubashir Hassan and Mr A. G. Noorani in their recent papers on the subject. The meeting was chaired by Mr I. A. Rahman. In his paper, Mr Noorani had discussed Article 370 of the Indian constitution and hollowness of the Indian government’s claim of Kashmir being its integral part, while Dr Mubashir Hassan had discussed in his paper the positions of India, Pakistan and Kashmiris on the solution to the problem. According to Dr Mubashir, the extent of sovereignty which India and Pakistan are willing to cede to the people of the former state shall determine the extent of sovereign power they will retain in the new dispensation, provided the irrevocability of the power so ceded is guaranteed by the three parties and it also finds endorsement of the United Nations when the dispute is taken off the agenda of the Security Council. The governments of Pakistan and India, on reaching an agreement and with perceived political leadership, should put their proposal about the quantum of autonomy for approval by the people of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir through a referendum. Since division of Kashmir is not acceptable either to India and Pakistan or to the people of the state, the two countries should agree that the former state shall reunite as a single entity. This agreement shall fulfil one of the basic nationalist aspirations of the people of the former state. He said neither India nor Pakistan would be ready to relinquish the responsibility of the defence of the border of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir with China. He said it would be prudent for the people of Kashmir to let Pakistan and India continue to be responsible for the defence of their borders with China. As a result, India’s de-facto authority along the Ladakh border becomes de-jure in the eyes of the United Nations. Pakistan does the same along the Khunjrab border in a legally recognised manner. If they wish they may form a consultative body with the government of the state on matters relating to the movement, supplies, logistics etc for their defence forces which will guard the border. For eliminating any chance of conflict between the armies of Pakistan and India, it would be necessary that except for the defence of the border against China, India and Pakistan do not station any troops on the soils of the former state of Kashmir. Even more prudent will be a treaty between India and Pakistan that the two countries would not prepare for or wage a war in the territory of the former state. In so agreeing the need for defending the 800-Km Line of Control almost ceases to exist and the way will be cleared for withdrawal of their forces stationed along this line.


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