Mumbai: We have been "inviting" Pakistan to play a role in the Kashmir problem on various occasions despite the neighbouring country having lost its standing in that state, former RAW chief A S Dulat said in Mumbai on Friday.
We have been inviting Pakistan to play a role in the Kashmir problem on various occasions despite the neighbouring country having lost its role in that state," Dulat said.
"We (government) need Pakistan as something to fall back on. We must not forget that in the 2013 elections in Pakistan, Kashmir was not the issue in their election."
"Nawaz Sharif never spoke of Kashmir during that election campaign. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan had also said 'Let's forget Kashmir'. Then, how come Pakistan still got active in Kashmir?" he said.
"After J&K elections, we tried to maintain status quo, which was dangerous. J&K was already polarised and after BJP winning some seats, it formed the government with PDP.
"Though it was a natural alliance based on their voting, the ground reality was of unrest after then chief minister thanked Pakistan and separatists, which invited Pakistan back in the game," Dulat said.
"Post 9/11 attack on twin towers in the US, even separatists from Kashmir had lost hopes from Pakistan and latter's support to them and one of them had openly told me about it. In the following year's Pakistan's role was reduced further in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
"But when Manmohan Singh became prime minister in 2004, his approach towards Kashmir changed. I think he did not know how to manage the Kashmir issue. He spent more time on Pakistan and it is because the people around him told him so," Dulat said.
"There was also chance for Manmohan Singh during 2006-07, but he did not visit Pakistan. We missed the window of taking peace talks ahead," Dulat said.
Referring to former Pakistan army chief turned President General Pervez Musharraf, Dulat said, "There has not been a more reasonable person on Kashmir than Musharraf." "He had suggested a settlement across LoC but unfortunately it was not followed up seriously. Today, he has become a persona non-grata in Pakistan," Dulat said.
On the Modi government, he said, "Looking at his massive support in Lok Sabha, he has a greater opportunity on Kashmir issue and if the government talks, holds dialogues, there will be some solutions."
"After Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, J&K people felt that he would walk the Vajpayee path, because Kashmiris were highly impressed by Vajpayee.
"Surprisingly, Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had congratulated Modi for the win. But today, most of the
separatists have joined hands against Modi government," the ex-RAW chief said.
"One misconception about Kashmir is that we believe they always want something from us," Dulat said.
The Jammu and Kashmir government now a days pays only lip service to the Modi government, as a result of which the state has been in a worse situation in last four months, he said.
"Kashmir's recent unrest has some roots in then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's press conference after his swearing-in where he praised separatists and Pakistan for ensuring smooth elections," Dulat said.
"I think he got carried away but it gave a wrong message," he said.
"Earlier, clashes during Amarnath yatra polarised Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
This background later led to massive stone-pelting in the valley after the killing of Burhan Wani who had the audacity to post his photo on social media and challenge the government, Dulat said.
During the UPA government, "where Manmohan Singh had everything on platter", his advisers probably convinced him to engage only with Pakistan, which led to unrest among Kashmiris, he said.
Relations between separatist leadership and NDA regime had improved so much that Hurriyat Conference began to be called "Advani Hurriyat", Dulat said.
"Musharraf would be regretting walking out of Agra (summit)," Dulat said about the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's visit in 2001, as it stalled the dialogue.
About the recent `surgical strike', Dulat said, "May be we did not need so much media hype" as it leads to increase in tension. "Look at the LoC, more civilians are dying now from both sides," he said.
Dulat and Sudheendra Kulkarni of Observer Foundation paid tributes to the senior journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, who had headed Centre-appointed interlocutors' panel for Kashmir, and who passed away in Pune earlier on Friday.