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'The Peace Process Has Now Become Kashmir Centric'

There was mishandling of the Hurriyat visit; they, not the elected government, have been made into the representatives of the people of J&K; there is growing demand for trilateral talks and an "international guarantee" for settlement, and Pakistan ha

'The Peace Process Has Now Become Kashmir Centric'
'The Peace Process Has Now Become Kashmir Centric'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Full unedited text of the letter by the former, to the current, Prime Minister...


New Delhi, June 15, 2005

Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Prime Minister of India,
New Delhi

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh ji,

I am writing to draw your attention towards the disturbing turn that the peace process with Pakistan has taken.

With great efforts and a sustained strategy, Pakistan was made to commit to a comprehensive process of normalization leading to the joint statement of January 6, 2004. But it seems that the peace process has now become Kashmir centric, an objective cherished by the establishment in Pakistan. This impression is based on the following three developments.

First of these is the prominence being given to the Hurriyat vis-a-vis the democratically elected government of Jammu and Kashmir. A year ago there was a distinction between the moderates and the hard-liners. Today the moderates are totally pro-Pakistan. I would have thought that the Hurriyat leaders would have talks with you or your Home Minister before going to Pakistan. But no, they go to Pakistan, repeat every statement made by Gen Musharraf, and then condescend to say that they would go to Delhi as well! The growing demand for trilateral talks, "international guarantee" for settlement and including Hurriyat as a representative of the people of Kashmir, seem to be undoing the laboured achievements of the past few years.

The second disturbing element is the way Hurriyat visit to Pakistan was mishandled by our authorities. General Musharraf claims that they were invited to Pakistan with your approval. Initial stand that they would not be allowed to go without passport and visas was reversed. Officials gave the impression that our Government is running after them to hand them passports and finally they travelled to Pakistan against the established norms of international travel. Since we did not prevent the Hurriyat leaders from crossing the LoC with the avowed intention of going to Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, etc. Pakistan and Hurriyat treated our protest about the violation of "some understanding" with scorn. The should have been given Indian passports and asked to enter Pakistan across the international border. All this has held our country up to mockery.

Thirdly, our Government seems to be allowing Pakistan to slip out of the commitments it had made in the January 6, 2004 statement - that terrorism shall be eschewed, that there shall be no third party, and so on. Events of the last fortnight show that once again Pakistan is reviving and keeping open the options of incorporation of Kashmir through violence, through "independence" or through "autonomy/self governance". The murderous attack in Pulwama, the revelation by JKLF leader Mr. Yasin Malik, the statements of Salahuddin, the head of Hizbul Mujahidden and the Muttahida Jihad Council, all point to this disturbing trend.

All of us want the peace process to succeed. But that success would consist in Pakistan abandoning the violence it has been sponsoring and in creating an atmosphere in which the people of India and Pakistan have enough inter-dependencies to make other things irrelevant.

I do hope that you will take steps in the coming days that will allay these apprehensions.

With warm regards,

Sincerely yours,
Atal Behari Vajpayee

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