‘Kashmir Was On Holbrooke Agenda’15 December 2010
Srinagar: The untimely demise of, Richard Holbrooke (69), the US president Barack Obama’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, “will impact the US administration’s understanding of Kashmir issue”. Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq claims “Holbrooke was active on Kashmir and had established contacts with stakeholders on both sides of the Line of Control”. Holbrooke died on Monday in a US hospital after two surgeries for his heart ailment. His death came just days ahead of US review of the Afghan policy. “Holbrooke set forth the formulation that peace in Afghanistan will come through Kashmir, though there was stiff opposition from India to the mention of K-word in his agenda paper,” said the Mirwaiz. According to analysts, the Indian government swung into action and lobbied to have Kashmir excluded from his purview when the US government announced Holbrooke as special envoy for the two countries. The US government gave in to the India’s insistence for Indian market and Nuclear-deal. “If not overtly but covertly Holbrooke was interested and active on Kashmir. He was privy to what was happening in the state,” said the Mirwaiz. Hurriyat sources said there were meetings of Hurriyat leaders with the team members of Holbrooke during their foreign trips. Even the Kashmiri leaders based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir used to interact with team-Holbrooke, sources said. Holbrooke’s team even arranged meetings with several stake-holders, think tanks and pressure groups active on Kashmir issue. “Holbrooke was keen on suggestions on the Kashmir issue,” said Hurriyat sources. “Holbrooke’s death will impact the US understanding of the issue since he understood the connection of Kashmir in Af-Pak dynamics,” said the Mirwaiz. The envoy was for facilitation of the talks between India and Pakistan over Kashmir by the US. “I hope the new envoy will follow Holbrooke’s understanding on Kashmir. Holbrooke was of the opinion that the resolution of Kashmir was must for the regional peace,” said the Mirwaiz. Holbrooke was widely respected for bringing peace in the Balkans with his famous Dayton accord.