The people are entitled to know an answer, says Arun Jaitley

A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a revelation, for the first time, that India and Pakistan had almost arrived at an agreed resolution to end the conflict in Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party sought details, saying the people of India are “entitled to know an answer to this question.”

During a press conference here on Friday, Dr. Singh, while replying to a question on his Pakistan initiatives, revealed that “an important breakthrough was in sight” but events in Pakistan led to the process not moving further.

Insisting on full disclosure of the agreed resolution of the Kashmir problem, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, in a statement said: “What was this possible resolution on Kashmir? The people of India are entitled to know an answer to this question.” He said Dr. Singh should take the nation into confidence of what the specifics he had in mind about the “failed solution.”

Mr. Jaitley said while Track Two diplomacy was an accepted instrument the world over, it could not be at complete variance with the stated national position. “The stated position of India has been very clear. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. In 1994, the Indian Parliament had passed a unanimous resolution asserting that Pakistan occupied Kashmir was an integral part of India’s territory. India firmly believes that no third party intervention in Kashmir is permissible. Pakistan has an unfinished agenda on Kashmir,” he said.

“The Congress stands for separate status, the National Conference advocates pre-1953 status, the Peoples Democratic Party talks of self-rule, the separatists talk of ‘Azadi’. Each one of these is intended to dilute India’s sovereignty.” Given these schools of thought, Mr. Jaitley said, it was imperative on the part of Dr. Singh to give details of what was the ‘almost arrived at’ resolution between India and Pakistan.

“Pakistan had been advocating an interim resolution which comprised several unacceptable measures. These included maintenance of territorial status quo, demilitarisation in Kashmir, dilution of the Line of Control for allowing free movement of people and goods, a tripartite joint mechanism to take decisions about Jammu and Kashmir for a specified period pending which a final solution would be found. Some Pakistani observers and Kashmiri groups also spoke about the currency of the two countries to be a valid tender in Jammu and Kashmir. I do not know if any or all of these were a subject matter of the ‘almost arrived at’ resolution to the problem. I hope the truth is otherwise,” he said.

Mr. Jaitley warned that accepting these terms would mean “de facto acceptance of Jammu and Kashmir being a disputed territory” and squandering all gains. “Demilitarisation of the valley without dismantling the terror infrastructure by Pakistan would be disastrous. I hope the government was not working in this direction,” he cautioned.

‘No need to give details’

Union Health Minister and former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said there was no need for Dr. Singh to reveal the details. “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no question of any dispute,” he told reporters.

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