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‘Pak political turmoil halts Kashmir peace process’

By: Pawan Bali

CNN-IBN

Last Updated: January 02, 2008, 19:01 IST

‘Pak political turmoil halts Kashmir peace process’

Yet another chapter of missed opportunities has been added to the Kashmir conflict.

New Delhi: Will former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination have a ripple effect on the Kashmir problem? Leaders in the state and experts feel that the political vacuum and turmoil in Pakistan has put the Kashmir peace process in deep freeze yet again.

Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan was seen by Kashmiri leaders across the board as a step forward for a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue.

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah said, “I think it was everyone in Kashmir whether it was Hurriyat of Mirwaiz or of Geelani everybody had that feeling that she might take a new direction to finding a resolution of the Kashmir problem.”

Jammu University Vice chancellor Professor Amitabh Matoo said, “An alliance between Benazir, Kiyani and Mushraff, their understanding on Kashmir, would have been the best bet. A democratic leader with Western support, Army chief and A president who initiated reforms was the best triangle to deliver. We have lost a part of that triangle."

In her earlier tenures as prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir had a rigid stand on Kashmir. But after eight years of political exile, she was talking in moderate terms.

“I think what Benazir seemed to have realised was that the biggest threat to her and to Pakistan was extremism and that she needed to rally around the forces of moderation and of you take that peg then you realise that forces of moderation have been looking at resolution of Kashmir as the second best option, “ Mattoo added.

“She had become moderate in understanding that she cant afford animosity with India if Pakistan had to progress. She had realised that both countries had to move ahead for trade, for mutual sharing,” said Abdullah.

In one of her write-ups on Kashmir, Benazir Bhutto had said democracies do not start wars, especially nuclear wars and it was a strong democratic leadership in Pakistan, which many here were looking forward to.

But with this political vacuum, now yet another chapter of missed opportunities has been added to the Kashmir conflict.
first published:January 02, 2008, 19:01 IST
last updated:January 02, 2008, 19:01 IST