Manmohan Had Handed Over Secret Files On Kashmir Talks With Pak To Modi, Says Report

8 October 2015

New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh had handed over files linked to a draft framework agreement with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue to current PM Narendra Modi on his way out, a report has revealed. According to this Indian Express report, a senior Indian diplomat familiar with the then Kashmir talks said that the final draft of this framework agreement between Manmohan Singh and Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf included a 'consultative mechanism' which had been devised so that the Kashmir region could be jointly managed by India and Pakistan. The report further said that this consultative mechanism, composed of the elected representatives of the government of Jammu and Kashmir as well as that of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, was supposed to address regional issues like tourism, religious pilgrimages, culture and trade. However, New Delhi had rejected Musharraf's push for joint management of Kashmir, saying that it would harm Indian sovereignty. Moreover, this draft agreement also led to protests in Pakistan by lawyers, because of which it couldn't be taken forward. Even former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri, who is in New Delhi to release the Indian edition of his book 'Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove', said that this draft agreement had planned joint management of Kashmir by India and Pakistan. Kasuri also said on Thursday that the only solution to the vexed issue of Kashmir is by adopting backchannel diplomacy. 'Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi should appoint backchannel negotiators instantly and shouldn't announce it in public. He should appoint people whom he can trust,' Kasuri told IANS ahead of the release of his book. He also said a prospect of war would be catastrophic for both the countries. 'There has been lot of negative statements happening on both sides. We tried nine wars and have had near-war situations. If we keep repeating things, it would be catastrophic,' he added. Expressing hope that Modi would take the peace process forward, Kasuri said: 'I would like Modi to make history, if he doesn't want to, that's his prerogative.' Kasuri is a member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by Imran Khan. Referring to the recent war of words between the two countries at the UN General Assembly, Kasuri said that neither country can afford to have any more 'Ufa moments'. India and Pakistan had issued a joint statement at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Ufa, Russia, held in July this year after a meeting between the two prime ministers. The leaders had agreed to keep Kashmir out of the statement, focussing on security level talks among the two national security advisers. 'How can they issue a joint statement by not mentioning Kashmir? This is a cardinal mistake. The proposed NSA level talks between the two countries didn't happen because of Ufa,' Kasuri said.