In what could ruffle many a feathers, former National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) Kashmir interlocutor and lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Sunday said “the time has come to work on Musharraf’s formula”.
“(Former Pakistan president Pervez) Musharraf’s four point formula was the most applicable solution to resolve the Kashmir issue. However, due to some wicked politicians the process couldn’t be carried forward,” said Jethmalani during a ‘Peace Conference’ organised by J-K Peace Foundation in Srinagar.
He said the time has come when both the countries should work together (to resolve Kashmir issue). “...And work on Musharrafs formula. We lost a golden opportunity by not adopting his formula,” he added.
Former law minister’s remarks assume significance as he claims that NDA instituted Kashmir Committee of 2002, patronised by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, “is still alive”.
“I am not a BJP leader. However, everyone knows about mine and (prime minister Narendra) Modi's path. I came here and talked to separatists first and then to my friends,” he said.
Jethmalami, who held a round of talks with different shades of separatists in 2002 as NDA pointman, on Saturday met a number of separatists in Srinagar, which include hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Shabir Ahmad Shah, a leader from moderate faction of the Hurriyat.
Claiming that he was not authorized by the government of India to talk to the separatists, Jethmalani said, “But I will apprise the prime minister about the discussions with the separatists.”
Jethmalani’s meetings with separatists in the valley have come at a time when foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan is scheduled for August 25.
“The foreign secretary talks are a welcome move. I am optimistic good will come out of the talks,” said Jethmalani.
The peace conference was also attended by leaders from Congress, Peoples Democratic Party and civil society members. Union minister for minority affairs Dr Najma Heptulla was present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, Kashmir is witnessing a flurry of activities on back channels these days. Influential think tank Pugwash general secretary Prof Paulo on Sunday met hardline Geelani at his residence. He is organising a series of meeting with separatists and civil society members to gauge the mood on the ground.
On the other hand, eight-member delegation of National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), headed by chairman Shyam Saran, is in Srinagar for a three-day visit to assess the security situation.
During the tour, which has come at the instructions of the prime minister’s office, the members will meet security top brass and civil society members to assess the ground situation.