Pakistan, India almost signed 'win-win' Kashmir deal in 2007: Ex envoy

Published: October 16, 2015
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Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s special envoy Satinder K Lambah. PHOTO: AFP

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s special envoy Satinder K Lambah. PHOTO: AFP

A former Indian government official has revealed that during secret negotiations with India in 2007, Pakistan had agreed to leave behind its long-held stance on seeking a solution for the Kashmir issue through the implementation of a UN resolution while both countries agreed not to redraw borders.

Special envoy to former Indian premier Manmohan Singh Satinder Lambah claimed that the government of both countries had decided to sign an agreement on their long-drawn issues; however, the agreement remained unsigned due to political unrest in Pakistan, which led to former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s removal.

“What we were working on, agreed there would be no reference to the United Nations resolution or a plebiscite in Kashmir. Both sides had agreed that borders cannot be redrawn,” Lambah said.

Read: ‘Manmohan handed over secret file on Kashmir talks to Modi’

Further, Lambah, vaguely discussing the agreement, stated that the Pakistan army and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) were onboard as well; however, discussions within the ruling party and with opposition leaders in India were remaining.

“We had assurance from the military government of that time (under president Musharraf). The negotiations from Pakistan could not have been finalised it if the establishment had not been onboard,” he said.

While Pakistani leaders who were aware of the agreement claimed that India had agreed to the demilitarisation of Kashmir, Lambah’s statement suggested otherwise.

“We had agreed to the reduction of military troops, not paramilitary and that was subject to Pakistan ensuring an end to hostilities, violence and terrorism. That was a major prerequisite. There was no timeline by which the agreement was to be signed. The only time limit was that terrorism must end,” he said.

However, a year after the framework of the agreement was completed, there was an attack in Mumbai in November 2008, which derailed relations between India and Pakistan.

“Mumbai [attacks] was a very unfortunate incident and that did stop the dialogue. There was a break but we had already finished most of the work by then. After the Mumbai attacks, there were limited (back channel) contacts but what was agreed on by the Musharraf government was not disowned by successive governments.”

Read: Mumbai attacks: India, US urge Pakistan to bring perpetrators to justice

According to Lambah, the agreement was a “win-win for Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir” as it focused on ending terrorism, working on joint mechanisms for socio-economic subjects and taking into consideration the views of Kashmiris as far as revenue, finance, law and order was concerned.

“The agreement could have been a basis for all governments, including the present one led by Narendra Modi,” Lambah stated.

“It was not negotiated keeping an individual or party in mind. Everyone has their own style. Pursuit of peace with Pakistan and a discussion on Kashmir has been undertaken by different prime ministers and I have no doubt that future governments will follow the same path.”

Further commenting on the recent meetings between Pakistani and Hurriyat leaders, Lambah said “In the past, Vajpayee, Advani and Manmohan Singh have met Hurriyat leaders and also given them visas to visit Pakistan. As regarding Pakistan, I fail to understand why they want to talk only to the Hurriyat and not also to the elected mainstream leaders from Jammu and Kashmir.”

This article originally appeared on Hindustan Times

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Pukudenguta
    Oct 16, 2015 - 6:40PM

    There is an old story. All rats decide to bell the cat so that they will be forewarned when the cat is on a hunting prowl. Ultimately when it came to actually bell the cat, no rat volunteered. For Pakistan, the situation is similar. No general or politician will dare to move towards a solution of Kashmir. So let us move on with our hostilities. Winner takes all.Recommend

  • Mahmood Hussain
    Oct 16, 2015 - 8:21PM

    Kashmir is NOT part of India nor Pakistan……. so let the people of kashmir have there say!! majority would opt for any Independent Kashmir.Recommend

  • k_roy
    Oct 16, 2015 - 8:37PM

    mr musharf when you was only genral in 1999 having no idea of foreign policy tried to take kashmir by force but later after take over can not handel foreign pressure and was going to sold kashmir. let politician do there work and better you do your work.Recommend

  • Anjaan
    Oct 16, 2015 - 8:56PM

    Let the Pakistani side provide the voice sample of Zakiur Lakhvi, and let the dialogue start again … !! … the Indian side is not likely to capitulate under terror threats and come to the negotiation table …Recommend

  • Waseem Sarwar
    Oct 16, 2015 - 9:47PM

    This purposed solution is the only solution in the end. I can’t see Pakistan or India giving up even a small area of respected Kashmir but i can’t see that happening anyway. Our military establishment and Indian political parties won’t accept anything less than total control of Kashmir. Recommend

  • Adnan Qamar
    Oct 16, 2015 - 10:49PM

    Why do they fear plebiscite or referral to the UN? If Kashmir is indeed free and wants to live under the Indian Union – demilitarize it. Demilitarization will allow them to concentrate their forces on the border with Pakistan where they think terrorism emanates from.Recommend

  • Oct 16, 2015 - 10:54PM

    Basically Pakistan validated India’s stand. India will get control of all the rivers and exercise de-facto control. Obviously people of J&K under India’s control have access to better facilities be it Education, Medical, etc. Soon people of POK would see this and Pakistan might lose POK completely.Recommend

  • pukudenguta
    Oct 16, 2015 - 11:31PM

    The title is misleading. It was nowhere near signing. It was just in the mind of Mr Lamba. Hardly three or four people shared that idea. We are nowhere near a solution. Recommend

  • hamza khan
    Oct 16, 2015 - 11:48PM

    another feather in the great general pervez musharrafs cap. take a bow sir. wish you were around to have completed this..Recommend

  • Asok
    Oct 17, 2015 - 12:58AM

    As an Indian, I would support an agreement along those lines.
    I wonder if Musharraf government got the Kashmiri separatists to be onboard for this?Recommend

  • Prada
    Oct 17, 2015 - 6:21AM

    That ‘deal’ wouldn’t have lasted even a year. Recommend

  • Krish
    Oct 17, 2015 - 9:00AM

    The deal was condemned to fail.And,if ever signed, would not have lasted beyond a year. The main problem is that if the deal were signed by Pakistan and India it would have bound the government and people of India only and not Pakistan. For , if in India there is a single and unique authority(the Government in place) it is not the case for Pakistan where the Government, the army, ISI and the clergy are all equally powerful and have very often completely different opinion and agenda from each other.Recommend

  • Irfan
    Oct 17, 2015 - 8:07PM

    Y we r discussing thisRecommend

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