Former Pakistan Foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri speaks about the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan. Kasuri has written a book titled ‘Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Relations Including Details of the Kashmir Framework’. Excerpts from the interview:
In your book “Neither a hawk nor a dove”, you mention that the Sir Creek deal between India and Pakistan was done and PM Manmohan Singh was to come and sign it in 2006? What happened then?
Dr Manmohan Singh was supposed to come in late 2006 to sign the Sir Creek deal before we went ahead with Kashmir and Siachen. But then we heard from the Indian side that there state elections in India, including in UP because UP was particularly mentioned, and this would become a big issue for opposition parties in India. We understood why they want it to be delayed. Then Dr Singh was supposed to come in March 2007.
But unfortunately, in March 2007, President Musharraf – I wish he hadn’t done it — made the reference about Chief Justice of Pakistan to the Supreme Judicial Council and it invited a lot of political action in the country. We were not anticipating that reaction for a constitutional reference, else the President of Pakistan wouldn’t have made the reference on that date. It was all bad luck.
Your solution on Kashmir, as discussed in your book, stands discredited now with the change in governments on both sides, and also because it is in the public domain. Can the current governments follow it?
The fact is that there is no other solution to the Kashmir problem. Years of work and preparation had gone into it, unlike Agra.
Even the current set-ups will have to get back to the same solution. They can call it the Modi-Sharif formula or whatever – they won’t want it to be called Manmohan-Musharraf formula — and instead of self-governance, joint mechanism or demilitirisation, use other words. You can put paragraphs up and down.
See, we now know the bottom-line of two establishments. Things have changed — Nawaz and Modi are not willing to accept the legacy of Musharraf and Manmohan. But war is unthinkable after the nuclearisation of South Asia. If war is unthinkable, what else is there except this solution on the table? Are they Einsteins that they will discover something which we couldn’t even think of?
The thinking on the Indian side, as articulated by some commentators, is to ignore and isolate Pakistan internationally from its allies – the US, Europe, Saudi Arabia, UAE. What do you make of it?
Pakistan can’t be isolated. Public rhetoric is one thing, ground realities do not change. Every country you have named… Russia is much closer to Pakistan than ever, US is offering a civil nuclear deal as per your papers, China remains our strongest ally, and in Saudi Arabia, our troops have been stationed there for 30-40 years now.