Death sentence puts Pervez Musharraf’s legacy over India-Pak ties in focus
Former Pakistan president made bold policy moves, including his overture to India to resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all through a four-point formulaUpdated: Dec 18, 2019 10:41 IST
Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf will be remembered in the context of India-Pakistan relations as much for his four-point formula for settling the Kashmir issue as his foolhardy attempt to internationalise the matter through the intrusion in the Kargil sector of the Line of Control (LoC).
Musharraf, who was sentenced to death by a special court on Tuesday on charges of high treason, is remembered fondly by many Pakistanis for reviving the country’s economy and his bold initiatives in domestic policy.
During his tenure, Pakistanis saw an increase in economic activity on the back of low interest rates which led a boom in the real estate sector and consumer spending. Most Pakistanis were unaware that much of this largesse came from American aid as a result of the partnership in the post 9/11 scenario.
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Musharraf also made bold foreign policy moves, including his overture to India to resolve the Kashmir issue through a four-point formula.
It envisaged demilitarisation along the LoC by scaling down the number of troops on both sides of the ceasefire line, free movement of people across the LoC, local self-governance or greater autonomy in both parts of Kashmir without independence and a joint supervision mechanism involving both countries and the Kashmiris.
The formula was drawn up in the wake of Musharraf’s efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue through the Kargil campaign in 1999, when Pakistani troops occupied strategic heights along the LoC and triggered a conflict with India.
Though Pakistan initially claimed mujahideen were responsible for occupying the heights, Musharraf subsequently acknowledged in his autobiography In The Line Of Fire that regular troops were part of the operation.
Analysts say it was Musharraf’s overconfidence that eventually led to his downfall. His deal with politicians to wipe away their past sins under the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) did not go down well with the military establishment.
Musharraf’s troubles started in 2007, after he tried to sack sitting Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who started hearings into “missing persons” or victims of enforced disappearances, causing unease to the military.
Despite different initiatives, it was his troubled attempts at gaining political recognition that led to his downfall.
Once in power, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif went after Musharraf in response to how he was treated when he was ousted from power by the former army chief in 1999.