There is a need to identify what is Kashmir: Musharraf
4 June 2007
The Daily Times
Washington DC: President General Pervez Musharraf has said that there is need to identify what is Kashmir since there are certain areas and distinct regions within Kashmir. How shall we take this reality into account for practical and realistic settlement? he asked in an article published by Kashmir Affairs, a London-based journal. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute has been at the heart of the conflict in South Asia, he writes, adding, I believe that the solution lies in getting all the leadership of Kashmir on both sides of the divide to come at a common platform and a common cause that will lend strength to their argument for a solution of the Kashmir problem. Therefore, interacting with the people particularly those who were not in contact with each other, because of one reason or another is a very encouraging development. Those who are reluctant would have to change their attitude and interact with everyone so that we can come to a common scope or common dimension of a solution to the problem. General Musharraf also mentions demilitarisation, and declares on our part, we are prepared to withdraw our troops from the Line of Control as part of an overall settlement. I even had proposed that in the main cities of Indian-held Kashmir Srinagar, Kupwara and Baramulla all troops could be moved out to the outskirts in order to demilitarise the cities. India was quick to reject the idea when first suggested by the Pakistani military leader. Musharraf stresses that the history of the Kashmir dispute is inextricably linked to the interests of Pakistan and India. He states there ought to be institutional arrangements, which could accommodate these interests and an appropriate mandate for the arrangement an institutional arrangement on top to see the self-governance which will be allowed to the people of Kashmir. He writes that the United Nations Security Council Resolutions represent a solemn commitment and promise by the international community to the people of Kashmir. Regrettably, over the decades these resolutions have been unimplemented despite representing an international legality. Within the UN and other important world forums such as the European Parliament there is a great deal of emphasis on upholding freedoms and human rights. The protagonists of these values cannot resign from their responsibility to address a dispute that represents denial of fundamental rights to the people as promised and sanctified internationally in the shape of the United Nations Security Council Resolution(s), which are the best form of confidence building, the best assurance for peace and thereby an effective catalyst for progress and economic development. Given the right atmosphere, now is the need to move from conflict management to conflict resolution, he added.