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'CBMs cannot be a substitute for a lasting solution'


HAROON RESHI | Issue Dated: March 25, 2012, New Delhi
Tags : CBMs | Kashmir issue |


'CBMs cannot be a substitute for a lasting solution'Normalcy and peace is visible in Kashmir. Does it seem lasting? 
Peace and normalcy have been restored because the people of J&K refused to be provoked into doing anything that will disturb the atmosphere. But in my opinion one must be very careful because the state is a variable. One should not be wholly optimistic because people of the state will continue to cooperate the way they have been only if they find that there is evidence of change on the ground and that their interests, concerns and the aspirations are sincerely being addressed.
Some recent media reports suggest that India and Pakistan are working on a peace plan which pushes the Kashmir issue on the back-burner for some time. 
At the moment there are several possible solutions on the table. But I think the Kashmir issue can not be placed on the back burner. If Indo-Pak relations have to normalise, then the issues that have agitated Jammu and Kashmir right since 1947- 48 have to be addressed. CBMs cannot be a substitute for a lasting solution.
What are the possible solutions?
There are many proposed solutions. The National Conference has prepared a document, as has the PDP and Sajjad Lone. In addition to that, during our (interlocutors) conversations with various sections of opinions in J&K, we were given documents. Each one presented their points of view. For example, in Ladakh, Leh and Kargil the people gave their views. Similarly in the Jammu region, various political parties and the communities spoke their minds. On the basis of these inputs, we have tried to formulate a detailed report. If there are better solutions available, we must be open to discuss them as well.
Kashmiri separatist leaders seem to have changed their attitude. What can be the reason behind this change?
I believe these are positive developments. This is a realisation that all issues that people of J&K are facing need to be addressed. I think to say that no economic and social issues should be addressed because they will distract attention from the political issues, is a wrong way to look at things. And the separatists realise this. Therefore, the concerns now being expressed by the Hurriyat leaders about bijli, sadak, pani is a step in the right direction. These issues need to be addressed but they are not a substitute for political dialogue.
Is Pakistan’s worsening internal situation favourable for India in terms of the Kashmir issue?
The internal situation in Pakistan cannot be possibly favourable to any other country or region of south Asia. I think one must show greater empathy for what Pakistan is going through. They have got huge internal problems which they are trying to address. They are facing these issues for a large number of historical and other reasons. I do not know see Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan or because of the situation in Balochistan or because of sectarian issues will help any other country. I think this is a strange and misguided way of understanding the dynamics of politics. However, because of these reasons Pakistan has begun a serious rethink on the number of assumptions it made since 1947-48. There is improvement on the trade front. There are engagements at the various government levels from both sides.
Many believe that for a successful dialogue process it is necessary to take militants on board. What is your opinion?
I think anyone who agrees to give up the gun and engage in a dialogue should be encouraged. I believe the militants can become stake holders if they are part of the dialogue process but for that they have to give up the gun.
Why has the central government withheld the report filed by you and your companions?
I have been talking to the Home Minister very often in the past three months. The government has not been able to open the report and many other reports because the government was tied down by many other urgent matters. The last of them were elections in five states that have just concluded. In my understanding, it is now only a matter of time that the report comes into the public domain and at then various stake holders will have an opportunity to discuss our recommendations. 
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017