Final Settlement of Kashmir Dispute Between India and Pakistan Likely By 2020?

Is the Final Settlement of Kashmir dispute possible which is acceptable to all three parties i.e. India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir? Can Indian PM Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan bring to conclusion what was commenced by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and General Parvez Musharaff i.e. peaceful settlement of the Kashmir Dispute? A EurAsian Times analysis.

India, Pakistan, Autonomy or Freedom: What is the Permanent Solution to the Kashmir Dispute?

PM Imran Khan on Monday recalled his conversation with former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee about the Kashmir dispute. Imran Khan said that Vajpayee had told him that Kashmir would have been resolved if the BJP had not lost the elections.

What is important here to note is that – there is a solution to the Kashmir Dispute which may be acceptable to all the three parties, stated Imran Khan. Elaborating on the point, PM Khan said – war is not a solution to the Kashmir issue and that it can be resolved only through dialogues.

When asked about the “options” to resolve the Kashmir issue, Imran Khan said there were two or three solutions, which have been in discussions. He, however, refused to share more details, saying it was “too early to talk about them”.

Kashmir Dispute – The Final Solution?

EurAsian Times talked to various experts on both Indian and Pakistani side to ascertain the possible solution. Experts on both the sides reminded us of Musharaff’s four-point formula. The idea suggested by General Musharaff was not something out of the box, but it was something Islamabad was open-to discuss.

Open Border The Only Feasible Solution To The Kashmir Issue?

Musharaff’s Four-Point Formula

  1. Demilitarization or phased withdrawal of troops by both India and Pakistan
  2. No re-drawing of the border, however, people of Jammu & Kashmir will be allowed to move freely across the Line of Control
  3. Self-governance without Independence
  4. A joint supervision mechanism in J&K  involving India, Pakistan and Kashmir

Demilitarization is an option that was suggested by the United Nations. This has been the demand of the leadership of the Kashmiri separatists that demilitarization from both sides of the Line of Control will pave the way for a serious and rational solution to the Kashmir dispute.

However, Kashmiri experts that EurAsian Times interviewed stated that self-governance has a very broad meaning. Self-governance could mean freedom, independence and autonomy. It is questionable because, under this plan, self-governance eliminates the option of complete freedom or independence.

Musharaff’s plan clearly says that the people of Kashmir will be given self-governance without independence. But experts state that in this case Pakistan is a clear winner as it gets to retain all the Kashmir land which is under its occupation, India also wins as it will continue to occupy Jammu and Kashmir and biggest losers will be the people of Kashmir who have sacrificed millions of previous lives for complete freedom from both India and Pakistan.

According to experts based in New Delhi, the first two points suggested by General Musharaff might be under active consideration, however, the fourth point i.e. a joint supervision mechanism had earlier been also rejected by the Indian government and will continue to be declined.

Farooq Abdullah, the former chief minister of J&K had suggested a UK-Ireland style open border in Kashmir as the best solution to the issue and the disputes arising from it. UK and Ireland share a common travel area between them which is as good as an open border. Under an open border system as shared between Ireland and the UK, citizens of the nations sharing an open border require minimum travel documents and identifications to travel through each other’s countries.

As EurAsian Times reported earlier, India will not start negotiations with Pakistan before Indian 2019 Elections and if Modi government loses power, it might take another decade for Kashmir to be resolved.

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