The Kashmir Settlement, An Initiative

1 September 2002

By Dr Mubashir Hasan

Political parties and groups on the east of the Line of Control and political parties and groups on the west of the Line of Control in the former state of Jammu and Kashmir should consider approving a document on the following lines:

* that the tragedies of the past have left a deep and profoundly regrettable legacy of suffering, that they would not forget those who have died or been injured, and their families, and they would do their best to honour them through dedicating themselves to achievement of reconciliation, and mutual trust, and to the protection and vindication of the human rights of all,

* that they would be committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationship between one another, " that they are committed to resolving political and other differences exclusively through peaceful and democratic means and of creating conditions conducive for democratic and peaceful negotiations, and are opposed to any use or threat of force for political purposes,

* that they acknowledge that substantial differences exist among the participants on questions of continuance of status quo and of legitimate political aspirations of the participants, especially of the right of exercising sovereignty, wholly or partly, over the whole or part of the territories of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir,

* that they recognise the difficulty on the part of each of the participant to modify its historical public stance, however, they are convinced that it is imperative to find a solution that may not entirely satisfy each one of them but which may be generally acceptable to the peoples of the subcontinent in their larger interest and that the need of securing durable peace and tranquillity in the subcontinent takes precedent over all other considerations,

* that they would strive in every practical way towards reconciliation and rapprochement keeping in view that in all agreements contraction of sovereign power in one political domain can be a gain in another.

The multi participant discussions and negotiations need to be initiated until a consensus is reached on the text of a joint declaration recommending approval of the same by the governments of India and Pakistan and by all the peoples of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Kashmir Dispute

Some basic elements for its resolution (the last option for the time being)

1. Kashmir agrees that Pakistan and India defend Kashmir on the borders with China as they do now. Pakistani and Indian forces withdraw from the interior of the former state of J&K.

2. India and Pakistan agree not wage or prepare for war against each other in the boundaries of the former state of J&K.

3. Kashmir agrees to adopt no policy that jeopardises the security of India or Pakistan.

4. Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC enjoy all the freedoms of both Pakistan and India such as Muzaffarabad exercises with Pakistan and Srinagar with India today. Citizens of India and Pakistan have the same degree of social, economic and cultural access on both sides of LoC as they have now with 'their' side of LoC.

5. Kashmir agrees to abide by the Indus Basin Waters Treaty.

6. Kashmir agrees not to have an army or air force of its own.

7. Save as provided above me people of Kashmir on both sides of LoC enjoy full autonomy jointly, separately or in any other combination.

8. India and Pakistan suitably legislate towards these ends.