Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s main international intelligence agency chief, A S Daulat has said that ‘Pakistan may now be reconciled to Articles 370 and 35A being internal matters of India.’
Writing for The Tribune newspaper, Dulat said, “Pakistan is working on a consensus for a settlement on the Line of Control, to which Manmohan Singh and General Pervez Musharraf had come close. Musharraf had always maintained that whatever was acceptable to Kashmir and Kashmiris would be acceptable to Pakistan,”
He further said, “It is not surprising, that Pakistan, which was undoubtedly shocked by the abrogation of Article 370, may now be reconciled to Articles 370 and 35A being internal matters of India.”
On 5 August 2019, the Government of India much to the dismay of Pakistan revoked the special status, or limited autonomy, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir.
Dulat who was appointed as advisor on Kashmir in the Prime Minister’s Office and served in the valley from January 2000 to May 2004 said that Kashmir craves peace more than anything else.
His piece comes on the heels of the recent agreement of India and Pakistan to ceasefire along the border.
In the piece he further writes, “Top Kashmiri leaders Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who have long been pleading for an Indo-Pakistan engagement, welcomed the ceasefire.”
He further argued that the coming two years will be for Pakistan and that the country must do whatever is possible as soon as possible, “The year 2021 is crucial for Pakistan. The Prime Minister’s position may be further strengthened if he obtains a majority in the senate this week. Next year, both Imran Khan and and General Bajwa will have just a year left. It is best that whatever is possible is done now while the going is good. What we need is a practical solution, not necessarily, the perfect one.”
Dulat also termed Kashmir as key to resolving outstanding issues between two nations, “The current Pakistan team of Imran Khan, Bajwa and Moeed is also said to be functioning at its best. Imran has said more than once that if India were willing to take a step forward, Pakistan would be ready for two. Every message from across indicates that Pakistan is ready for peace. More ready than ever before. Whether or not Imran has the brains, as some of his detractors doubt, he certainly has the heart for peace.
If Moeed has been coy about backchannel proceedings, it is understandably due to mutual understanding and management of public opinion. Kashmir, no doubt, will remain the key to resolving outstanding issues.”