Pakistan, India Had Agreed On Demilitarization Of Kashmir: Kasuri

20 February 2009
Pakistan Observer

Islamabad: Mr Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri, ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, in a TV interview with Karan Thapar on Thursday evening disclosed that as a consequence of back channel diplomacy both Pakistan and India had agreed on demilitarization, regionalization, self-governance and joint mechanism in Jammu and Kashmir with the involvement of Kashmiris from both sides. Mr Kasuri who is on a private visit to India said that almost a near-clear outline of Kashmir solution had been worked out including demilitarization of Siachin heights also. Asked then what happened that no solution came out of the basket after all exercise, the former Foreign Minister said “it was sheer bad luck”. “On Kashmir there was a broad understanding on joint mechanism with a space for representatives of Kashmiris,” he claimed. ‘Pakistan wanted full participation of Kashmiris. But India was reluctant and did not show commensurate keenness. The idea was that Kashmiris from India-held Kashmir meet us in Islamabad and Kashmiris from Azad Kashmir travel to India to meet Indian leadership apart from Kashmiris holding mutual meetings. This was thought out a way forward’, he added. Both Pakistan and India were locked in serious discussion over demilitarization of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, he added. Referring to the back channel discourse on Kashmir, Kasuri said that the former President Pervez Musharraf’s National Security Advisor Mr Tariq Aziz had intense rounds of discussions with his Indian counterpart Mr Brajesh Mishra continuing with India’s former ambassadors to Islamabad Messrs S K Lambah and J N Dixit and there was “almost agreement on four issues: demilitarization, regionalization, self-governance and joint mechanism in Jammu and Kashmir”. Asked that meant complete demilitarisation, Kasuri replied: “Propriety stops me from going into such details.” ‘It is for the first time that the former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Mr Kasuri, who remained intricately insider in Kashmir talks scenario, spoke very openly, almost “disclosing” the broader contours of Pakistan-India Kashmir rounds of talks held during Pervez Musharraf’s regime in Pakistan, India, Dubai, USA and Goa.