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September 21, 2015

Ex-RAW chief says his perception of Pakistan has changed


September 21, 2015

LONDON: Former chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) A S Dulat has said that his perception of Pakistan has completely changed after visiting the country a few times since his retirement from the RAW.
Speaking to ‘The News’ at a hotel here after the launch of his book ‘Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years’, Dulat said that it was his belief that developed after his visits to Pakistan and interactions with a wide range of Pakistanis that Pakistani affection and hospitality could not be reciprocated and “I have said it many times”.
Dulat was joined on the stage by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and senior journalist and analyst Ashis Ray, who moderated the lively session.
Dulat told ‘The News’ that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “so many opportunities at hand” to make peace with Pakistan but he doubted that Modi would actually do that. “He is a powerful and popular leader but his style of politics is different. He wants to know in advance what he will get from Pakistan. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was different, he was a philosopher, he was a conviction politician but Modi wants to know what will he get out of Pakistan and what’s in it for him.”
Dulat said that he had advised President Manmohan Singh to go to Pakistan. “He wanted to go to Pakistan, he wanted to pay respects at the Nakana Saheb but in the end he couldn’t. I told him that Mian Nawaz Sharif can come to India on the pretext of visiting Ajmer Sharif and he can go to Pakistan for the Nankana Saheb. But unfortunately that was a wasted opportunity.”
Dulat said that a window of opportunity had opened in 2006 under Musharraf for the resolution of Kashmir dispute “but then he became weak and the whole process fizzled out”.
Dulat said that the events unfolding after the 9/11 attacks helped India a great deal and brought tremendous pressure on Pakistan. “The world changed after that and Pervez Musharraf came under pressure from

the USA. Musharraf was a practical man and he knew well about the importance of India. He recognised that its only dialogue that will work and is the only way forward. In hindsight, Musharraf may admit that rushing back from Agra was a mistake on his part. Dulat added that he had never seen anyone more reasonable on Jammu and Kashmir than Pervez Musharraf.
Dulat said that Pakistan has changed in many ways. He said that Pakistani establishment is tolerant of criticism and didn’t mind being subjected to scrutiny. “It didn’t happen before. When Osama Bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistani establishment was criticised by media and politicians. Media in Pakistan is robust and critical.”
Dulat told this correspondent that solution to the Kashmir dispute cannot happen without the full involvement of Pakistan’s military and that’s a reality. Kashmiri intellectual and secretary general of the Jammau & Kashmir Council for Human Rights Dr Syed Nazir Gilani countered the remarks made by both Dr Farooq Abdullah and A S Dulat.
He said that while Farooq Abdullah spoke about the rights of Kashmiri pundits in a fair way, he had expressed no concern for the five generations of displaced Kashmiris who have been forced in their thousands to abandon their homes and heritage.
Dr Gilani told Mr Abdullah that history would not treat him kindly because of his indifference and injustice towards his own people. “You failed as a chief minister to carry forward the work outsourced to you by the UN to prepare for self-determination. Indian role is only to provide assistance in law and order.”
Dr Gilani, while addressing, A S Dulat told him that he had come across as “racist, ill-informed and bigot” in his book. Dr Nazir Gilani took exception to the description of certain ‘Gama” in his book and told him that he had failed to present an objective analysis in his book on the well documented atrocities committed by Indian occupation forces against the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Dr Gilani told Dulat that he had tried to wash away history of a great nation which has stood its ground against all odds.
Dr Gilani said that responsibility of the death of a generation lies on Indian soldiers who are in Kashmir on a “provisional basis at the invitation of J&K Government”.

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