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India agreed to four-point formula on Kashmir: Kasuri

By our correspondents
March 12, 2016

LONDON: Former foreign minister of Pakistan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Khurshid Kasuri mounted a passionate defence of his claim that India agreed to a four-point formula to resolve the Indian held Kashmir (IHK) dispute when he was in office.

He was speaking here on Thursday night at a public conversation with refernce to his recently published book Neither a Hawk nor a Dove.

Kasuri said his book “deals with the framework evolved by the two governments (of Pakistan and India)”. He added: “I challenge anyone to challenge me. This is what was agreed between the two governments.”

He asserted that proof of the matter is that former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh of the Congress party and previously deputy prime minister LK Advani of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were present at the launch of the book in Delhi last year. “It (the book) has not been contradicted,” he went on to say.

According to Kasuri, the four points in the formula were: “1. Jammu & Kashmir could not be made independent; 2. Borders could not be redrawn; 3. The LoC could be made irrelevant; and 4. A joint mechanism for both parts of Kashmir could be worked out.”

These were negotiated between Tariq Aziz, a close aide of Pervez Musharraf, who was president of Pakistan when Kasuri was foreign minister, and an Indian diplomat Sati Lambah through “back channels”.

Lieutenant General (R) Abdul Qayyum, now a senator of the ruling PML-N, appearing by video, cast doubts on the validity of back channel negotiations. Erstwhile Indian external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, now an opposition Congress party leader, who was the other on-stage speaker at the conversation, disputed Kasuri's claim about Singh agreeing to the proposal.

Khurshid maintained: “I am not quite sure there was a meeting of minds on a larger scale in India.” Khurshid also sarcastically declared he was confused about present Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policy towards Pakistan. He remarked: “I am very confused.” He added: “I don't think there has been any remarkable movement forward.” He warned of “difficult times ahead”.

The former foreign minister accused the BJP when in opposition of being obstructive. “(As external affairs minister) I was very keen he should visit Pakistan. But it was the pressure of the BJP that prevented him from taking the historic step,” he asserted.

The event was organised by Raymedia and South Asia Future Forum at an auditorium suitably named the Hall of India and Pakistan at the century old Royal Overseas League. The sparring diplomats, though, were on the same page on the two countries granting each other most favoured nation (MFN) status in trade, which has not come into effect.