Former President General Pervez Musharraf was ready to give up Islamabad’s traditional stand on Kashmir during secret talks with India in 2006 in order to regain credibility to Pakistan army post 9/11, a US analyst has said.
After September 11, the Pakistani army had lost its credibility in the international community mainly because of its well-established relationship with the extremists groups, said Steve Coll, a Pultizer prize-winning American journalist, who has written several investigative stories on Kashmir.
“The (Pak) army took the extraordinary steps that it did to enter into these negotiations over Kashmir, essentially threatening to reverse decades of policy in this negotiation with India, it was not coercion that brought them to the table; it was aspiration,” he said in his testimony before the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“They wanted, Musharraf in particular, the international legitimacy, the credibility. He wanted to be celebrated at international events as a peacemaker. He wanted Oslo to pay attention to him,” Coll said in response to a question.
The only way to achieve stability in South Asia, he observed, is through normalisation between India and Pakistan. And “that’s why the Kashmir negotiations matter, not in and of themselves but as a pathway to normalisation,” he argued.