The hard line taken by former National Security Advisor MK Narayanan in 2007 killed the Kashmir solution. So said All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kashmir on Monday.
Narayanan is now the governor of West Bengal.
Mirwaiz, who interacted with leaders of both India and Pakistan from 2004 to 2007, told HT in an exclusive interview: “Narayanan’s stance that (former Pakistani President Pervez) Musharraf could not be trusted, killed the Kashmir solution that was about to be arrived at.”
How? “Well, we were part of the tripartite dialogue and the people told us who was playing what role,” he said. “Almost everyone could sniff an agreement between India and Pakistan on Kashmir then, but something went wrong at the last minute.”
Musharraf had in December 2006 proposed a four-point formula — making borders irrelevant, demilitarisation of either side of the Line of Control (LoC), self-governance and joint control of the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh had at the time said that India was willing to reduce the LoC to “a line on map”. He went a step ahead while delivering a speech at the Jammu University on 15 July 2007.
Speaking in the context of Indo-Pak dialogue on Kashmir, the PM said, “Borders cannot be changed, but they can be made irrelevant.”
He also espoused the use of natural resources for the benefit of the people. “They need no longer be points of contention or sources of conflict. We could, for example, use the land and water resources of the region jointly for the benefit of all the people living on both sides of the LoC.”