General Pervez Musharraf always has cats tumble out of his hat to bluff his opponents. His 4 point solution to the Kashmir problem is good enough to confuse the world community. In his talk with a Private News Channel, he gave its explanation. The suggested 4 point solution entails no change in the existing boundaries, instead suggests making the Line of Control irrelevant, followed by staggered demilitarization with autonomy or self-governance under a joint supervision mechanism. He is reported to have said that in case India agreed to his 4 point solution, Pakistan in turn would give up its insistence on adherence to the UN resolutions on Kashmir and that he will give up Pakistan’s long standing demand on Plebiscite in Kashmir. He is also reported to have clarified that the solution proposed by him will not be a negotiating step to Kashmir’s independence; Meaning that Autonomy and self governance will not lead to independence of Kashmir. In return he wants India to abdicate its stated position that entire J&K (including parts controlled by Pakistan and China) is an integral part of India, legally and politically. The News channel claimed that the General was absolutely against independence of Kashmir.
The wordings of the General’s proposals are loaded with overt and covert implications which are susceptible to dubious interpretations. We in India have to watch not to get ensnared in the jargon of words through which the General is adept to enamor people.
Before analyzing the General’s proposals in detail, we shall have to take notice of ground realities, both in Pakistan and the Kashmir valley. After 11th September 2001 Pakistani establishment stands exposed before the world for its’ support to Islamic Terrorists. Also, the international community has started to realize that Islamic Terrorism cannot be easily suppressed when states like Pakistan sponsor and propagate it as a matter of state policy. Therefore, some pressure has been placed on the Pakistani’ establishment to associate with the international community in anti-terrorist measures. Besides, the existing, conducive environment in Pakistan for nurturing of terrorism has started to eat into the vitals of Pakistani society by creating a state of anarchy and chaos in whole of Pakistan. People of Pakistan too desire and demand a respite from the extremes of Islamic Terrorism. Besides, open support of Pakistani Agencies in the valley has yielded nothing except splitting of the civil society which has also resulted in deep chasms of helplessness and despondency; and the death of more than 50000 innocent people. Along with effective anti-terrorist measures adopted by the state, the people of the valley have provided a damp squib to the Pakistani’s strategists by distancing themselves from that country’s objectives in Kashmir. So we need not to bother and fear from the fight against skeletal terrorist infrastructure of Pakistan that is still in tact in the valley, which is bound to dissolve due to lack of public support and disenchantment of cadres.
Going to the specifics of the General’s proposals, his suggestion is that without making any changes in the boundaries of the state the LOC is to be made irrelevant. Basically, he is suggesting that the Indian army gives up its dominant position just by his asking even though decades of covert and overt war from Pakistan have not so succeeded. His second suggestion of staggered demilitarization in the state too is designed to appeal less and confound more. Till Pakistan starts to behave like a responsible state, without interfering in the affairs of its neighbors it will not be logistically feasible for India to withdraw present strength of the forces in Kashmir. Pakistan in turn has a dire need to withdraw its troops from the Indian borders to redeploy them to combat civil turmoil manifest inside Pakistan along the Pak-Afghan borders. India has no need and justification to respond to the suggestion which has been prompted by the General’s self interests. The General has further proposed autonomy or self governance for the valley after achieving staggered demilitarization of the state both by India and Pakistan. He has adopted silence on the details of his concept of autonomy and self governance. Is it the high time for the Indian state and intellectuals to sit up and learn the nitty gritty of the techniques of autonomy and self governance from a President morphed out of an Army General due to a coup? Does India need to learn lessons on democratic decentralization from a feudal, clerical and military state? So the suggestion of introduction of autonomy and self governance in the valley falls flat on its head, because Kashmir, despite turmoil and travails it has undergone during the last two decades has already voted through several elections, even in face of terrorist threats.
Different UN Resolutions on Kashmir decades ago were prompted and prejudiced by cold war politics of the world before disintegration of erstwhile Soviet Union. They have no relevance and practicality in the present day context when perceptions have changed altogether in the unipolar world, when even right of pre-emptive action against nation states has been advocated and adopted. There can be therefore no value in the General’s promise that Pakistan will not insist on their adherence. His further admission that Pakistan will not insist on plebiscite in Kashmir in case India agrees to 4 point proposals is weak on logic. In this context it needs to be clarified that Plebiscite as a problem resolution measure between states on the basis of tiny ethnic groups in equally tiny geographical locations is impractical in the present day globalised world. That way every country will disintegrate into smaller tiny city states to satisfy caste and class egos of tiny ethnic groups on imaginary prejudices and grudges. The report of the channel that the General was absolutely against independence of Kashmir exposes his anxiety that Kashmir Muslims are totally disenchanted from the futility of terrorism unleashed in the valley by Pakistan resulting in immense death and destruction and therefore have no lure for Pakistan and its system of distorted governance. So the General is rightly averse to the idea of independence for his self interests. He is both candid and assertive when he is reported to have claimed that solution propounded by him is not the first step towards getting independence for Kashmir. In order to give up his claim on Kashmir, he hopes India has to revert from its stated position on Kashmir. So his proposal starts from a maze and leads to a jigsaw without any goalposts and targets.
To further analyze the General’s proposals for resolving Kashmir dispute, we have to see through its contradictions and infirmities. The General does not need to be reminded that the state of J&K is not confined to the valley of Kashmir alone. It comprises of three divisions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh besides vast areas of Hunza and Askardoo which are under Pakistan’s control. It is not the people of the valley alone who have their stakes in the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Ever since state acceded to Indian Union in 1947, Ladakh has never accepted the hegemony of the valley and has in fact withstood all attempts for total integration with the state. In fact it has demanded total amalgamation of the division with the Centre for direct central rule even with occasional bursts of violence. Equally Jammu division obtains inspirations from the mainline national political parties of the country and is demanding total consolidation and integration with the nation with the removal of Article 370 from the constitution of India. The people of Hunza and Askardoo are at loggerheads with the proxy Pakistani rule in the area and want to break out of those shackles. The mainline political parties of the state vis, Indian National Congress, National Conference and People’s Democratic Party which together polled 90% of the votes in the last Assembly Elections have yet to come out with detailed reactions on the General’s proposals though they have welcomed his overtures in general. They can hardly swallow the concept of establishment of a joint mechanism to supervise the implementation of the new concept of autonomy and self governance because that will be a retrograde step when roots and fruits of democracy have already been widely spread and strengthened throughout the state.
Though representatives from mainline parties in the state and the Hurriyat Conference have put forth primary responses the mist of uncertainty has not been dispelled yet. While Omar Farooq of National Conference felt that the General was sincere and we need to accept his suggestions to bury the hatchet, Mehbooba Mufti of PDP said that the General is conditioned by his domestic compulsions to speak and suggest some radical alternatives and that we need to avail of the opportunity in order to restore peace and harmony between two countries and calm in the state. Moulvi Farooq of the Hurriyat Conference was the lone voice to suggest that any proposal which the General makes needs involvement and agreement of the people of the valley. He seems to be ignoring that the state does not comprise of the Muslims of the valley alone but has other religious communities and ethnic groups which are prominent in two divisions other than Kashmir. He has also forgotten nearly half a million Kashmiri Pandits of the valley who were hounded and hunted by Islamic terrorism into a forced exodus to other places of the country. Any attempt at the peace process in Kashmir will be incomplete and futile without the participation of all segments of people of the state who have their stake in reestablishment of peace in the valley. That participation has to be all inclusive and all embracing even by the people living in Pakistan controlled Kashmir. Once such people’s participation is achieved there will be no need for external forces (Pakistan and other Islamic countries) to interfere and suggest such measures for which there are sufficient provisions and safeguards in the constitution of India and the constitution of the state which have enshrined Article 370 as a safeguard. The chronic boil of insurrection implanted by Pakistan has already burst and the people of the valley have realized the futility of the exercise and the enormous human and material damages it has inflicted on the Kashmiris, and which has tended to only divide and segregate the society on the basis of religion and lead to untold misery and trauma which the people of the valley have undergone during the last two decades. They have already realized that the wheels of development and growth have been obstructed by anti-social and anti-national activities causing death and destruction in the valley known for peace and calm
All said, there is no need to go for further experimentation on J&K just because the General is to go to Pakistani voters in order to gain credence through their convoluted process of elections next year. His failure both at national and international levels has made him unpopular. In order to enhance his acceptability, he has thrown bait. He may be thinking of breaking from the legacy of Pakistani policy on Kashmir which was used by all rulers of Pakistan as a whipping tool and declaring to his people that he is capable of thinking and doing different things. But whether the people of Pakistan who matter very much in this will acquiesce with him is to be seen. Besides, the real views of the feudal, clerical and army nexus on the issue need to be ascertained.
For the first time in many years, our government has exhibited no haste in its guarded response to his suggestions. The Indian Prime Minister while on his return from Japan said that General’s suggestions are welcome and need to be studied in detail to find an out of the box solution to festering Indo-Pak problems.
*P.N.Ganjoo was born in a modest Kashmiri family about 7 decades ago, lost his father early and was raised by his honest, hardworking mother. With her efforts he received his education in Srinagar and went on to serve in various Government Departments before retiring as a senior grade KAS officer.
Presently he is working on his varied interests besides being a consulting Director of a software services company.
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General is dead,long live the general. other excuse to ponder/delaying tactice,we don't need suggestions from no one.All is being recorded in the book of the omni power,we have nothing but His wrath/ our patience as our strength.
Added By ABDUL salam