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Solution lies with India and Pak: Qasim

It is not possible for Pakistan to take Kashmir by a war nor is India parting away with Kashmir, says Syed Mir Qasim, the former J&K Chief Minister.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2002 11:01 IST
PTI

Q: In your opinion is the root cause of Kashmir problem?

SMQ: The alienation of local population followed by excesses committed by the security forces and stubborness of Indian Government with regards to Kashmir can be said to be the major factors that led to the present impasse.

Pakistan, of course has had its share in precipitating the issue. The situation in Kashmir is very bad and Pakistan factor in this violent strife is quite, obvious. In 1947 we had acceded to India which was legally tenable and morally also, Sheikh Abdullah, who was the majority's voice, had supported it.

Now after 50 years nobody talks about India in Kashmir and at the same time hatred against Paldstan is growing. Now some people are saying that Kashmir has been very unfaithful to India but they do not go into the reasons which have created this allenation. It has been well
appreciated that it is not possible for Pakistan to take Kashmir by a war nor is India parting away Kashmir in a peaceful negotiation.

Therefore, the question of independence of Kashmir has gained ground. Now this is entirely
a different matter whether an independent Kashmir can survive or is it practical.

Q: How in your opinion can the Kashmir issue be settled?

SMQ: Kashmir issue will have to be eventually settled between India and Pakistan. I had in the past communicated my formula to Pakistan but unfortunately it did not find favour. I said that it is not possible for India to give Kashmir to Pakistan and this reality has to be appreciated by
Pakistan. Hence I am of the view that Kashmir problem has to be settled between India and Pakistan.

The concerned parties to settle the problem are Government of India, Government of Pakistan and People of Kashmir. 'Therefore, unless these three are very clear in their minds to settle the problems nothing can move.

I suggest that Delhi and Kashmir should first of all, resolve the differences and let the political process start in the valley. For this the most important condition will be to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir so that the genuine representatives come forward. Kashmir is a part of India, therefore, the atrocities have to be stopped and alienation removed.

When we could talk to Lal Denga, who had declared war against India, there should be no reservation to talk to Kashmiris without making negotiations within the constitution a condition precedent. Therefore, when we start negotiations with Kashmiris without any conditions the negotiations itself may lead to a better solution.

Q: Do you think that elections will be a success under the threat of guns?

SMQ: I had suggested that Pakistan should prevail upon the militants in Kashmir and silence the guns so that the elections are held. Pakistan had agreed to this condition saying that the elections should be held under the United Nations supervision.

This way they wanted a plebiscite which was not acceptable to us. The feedback from Kashmir was that any agreement between India and Kashmir should be registered in the United Nations but it was held that the agreement between Delhi and Kashmir cannot be registered in the United Nations. However, an agreement between India and Pakistan could be placed.

Q: What are the views of Indian leadership on solving Kashmir issue?

SMQ: I am afraid that in India in very near future the emerging leadership is not of the order and authority to take a bold initiative in Kashmir without which it is not possible to go ahead and react to the aforesaid proposals.

Q: How do you view India's Kashmir policy?

SMQ: Kashmir policy had a meaning when Panditji was there. Pandit Nehru had held that Kashmir is a special case and it has its own Constitution. We have eroded the Constitution of Kashmir and I have also been party to that.

Q: How do you think has been the response of Government of India to the Kashmir problem?

SMQ: I have come to the conclusion that Delhi does not want to give anything and in Kashmir also there are no takers. I reiterate that Pakistan is a party and in the situation as it exists today we cannot solve the problem without talking to them.

Fortunately the atmosphere is appropriate to
persuade Pakistan to come to an agreement with India and even in Shimla we have committed ourselves to settle the problem. During the past 20 years the conditions in Kashmir were conducive and Government of India could settle the problem with Pakistan. But India forgot Kashmir during this time.

Q: Why has terrorism gained strength in Kashmir?

SMQ: In Kashmir the pressure of Security Forces has increased and there is a general depression in the ranks of militants but at the same time the situation as existing in India has given a new hope to the militants that India will dismember soon. How far this appreciation of the Indian
situation is going to help them is a different matter but the country has to be saved from dismemberment.

First Published: Sep 18, 2002 00:06 IST