Pakistan's Approach to Kashmir Since the Lahore Agreement:Is There Any Change?

Ashok K. Behuria is Senior Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • May 2009

    In Lahore, in 1999, Pakistan dropped its 'Kashmir first' approach and agreed to discuss it with India along with other issues. Later, under Musharraf, there was an offer to move beyond UN resolutions and adopt a four-step approach to resolve the Kashmir issue. Musharraf's proposals were taken seriously and widely hailed as a sign of flexibility and pragmatism from the Pakistani side. This paper critically analyses these approaches since Lahore and argues that they were occasioned by the changing global political context and that they were more apparent than real. At the official level, there is hardly any departure from the core stance of Pakistan on Kashmir. The civilian government in Pakistan today has retained the process of dialogue initiated by Musharraf but is yet to spell out its approach to Kashmir. The paper argues that even if there is a realization that the policy of subversion and militancy has backfired, the temptation to retain jihadis as the last option will continue to play havoc with the process of dialogue aimed at finding a solution to Kashmir in the days to come.