New Delhi, Jan. 4: The BJP has demanded to know from the Prime Minister what the “conflict resolution” on Kashmir was that India and Pakistan nearly reached some years ago.
When Manmohan Singh was asked about his Pakistan initiatives at his news conference on Friday, he revealed that secret envoys from India and Pakistan had almost arrived at an agreed resolution to end the conflict in Kashmir.
That “breakthrough” nearly came about when Pervez Musharraf was in power, he said, but the agreement was thwarted after the then Pakistan President had to make way for another leader.
In a statement, BJP leader Arun Jaitley asked: “What was this possible resolution on Kashmir? The people of India are entitled to know an answer to this question.”
“…it is eminently desirable that he takes the nation into confidence on the specifics he had in mind about the failed solution,” he said.
Then he took a swipe at Singh: “Even for history to make an assessment of the PM’s tenure, these details would be of immense help.”
Jaitley noted that India’s negotiating position on Kashmir was “negligible” because it was bound to the 1994 parliamentary resolution that averred that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was an integral part of the country and committed to a position of disallowing third-party intervention. He stressed the “age and era of re-drawing boundaries” was over.
On the other hand, he said Pakistan had an “unfinished agenda” because it was unreconciled to Kashmir being integral to India’s sovereignty.
He wondered what a resolution could mean given the conflicting positions the main players in Kashmir adopted. “The journey of the past 67 years has been from separate status towards separatism. The Congress stands for separate status, the National Conference advocates pre-1953 status, the PDP talks of self-rule, the separatists talk of aazaadi,” said Jaitley.
He said each of these stances was meant to “dilute” India’s sovereignty and to “weaken the constitutional and political link” between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country. “It is in this context that one needs to know the details of what this ‘almost arrived at’ agreed solution was,” he said.
Pakistan, Jaitley said, was advocating an interim resolution with “unacceptable” measures like maintaining territorial status quo, demilitarising Kashmir, diluting the Line of Control and constituting a tripartite joint mechanism that could take state-specific decisions pending a final resolution.
“I do not know if any or all of these were a subject matter of the ‘almost arrived at’ resolution…. I hope the truth is otherwise. I further hope that I do not have to wait for the PM’s memoirs to know the truth,” he remarked.