Does Pakistan have the 'niyat' i.e. sincere intention, to resolve the Kashmir issue, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today asked former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
"Let me assure (all) that it is a misconception that it is Pakistan's military which does not want a solution of the Kashmir dispute. Let me tell you with full sincerity and honesty, Pakistan army wants a solution of Kashmir...We want a solution of Siachen. We want a solution of Kashmir," Musharraf said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.
Omar, who was to speak shortly after Musharraf's address, was called upon by moderator Karan Thapar to ask a question and left the audience in splits as he introduced him to Musharraf as the "Chief Minister of our Kashmir" and who was "waiting patiently to become Chief Minister of your Kashmir".
Omar asked three questions with the first being if Musharraf believes that the UN resolution (on plebiscite) that Pakistan continues to "harp upon" are still relevant in today's day and age.
"Of course, if you talk on an official basis, it stands. The UN resolution stands," he said. However, he added both India and Pakistan have to move forward from stated positions and go for resolutions.
"If somebody was to officially ask Pakistan, certainly the 1948 UN resolution stands. But let's move away from it. Let's move ahead together...The UN resolution certainly stands and nobody can ignore it in Pakistan but Pakistan certainly would like to, and in my tenure, certainly we were moving. We wanted to leave the stated position behind," the former Pakistani ruler who is now in exile said.
Asked how much of his four-point programme on Kashmir was accepted by both Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh government, he said there was "wide agreement".
His formula included gradual demilitarisation along the Line of Control, maximum self governance to the two halves of Kashmir, making LoC irrelevant by opening as many routes along the border as possible and working on an over-watch mechanism.
"With Vajpayee sahab, it was not a resolution of the dispute. It was a joint resolution that we were drafting accepting the realities of the disputes between India and Pakistan including Kashmir.
"There were two or three sentences on Kashmir that this is the key factor which... Between the two countries and we must solve them. It was clearly stated in the joint declarations. The joint statement was not issued unfortunately," he said.
Musharraf added he and Singh were trying to draft an agreement. "But certainly, the draft was not complete. And these were hitches... But on the general plain, I would say there was wide agreement".
He said the agreement was supposed to be for 15 or 20 years. "To be tried out and then readjusted after that final tuning of whatever has gone right or wrong...So, I think that is the way forward," he said noting that no one he has ever spoken to, both in Kashmir and other places, have been able to give a solution to the Kashmir issue.