'Golden opportunity on Kashmir missed during Musharraf's rule'

 "There is no doubt that we missed a golden opportunity with General Musharraf in power in Pakistan. It's unlikely that we are going to see a leadership with that degree of control over the entire situation in Pakistan," Abdullah told London-based 'Financial Express' in an interview.
But even then, Abdullah felt that it would be unfair to suggest that just because Pakistan is a democracy that they cannot deliver on a dialogue process.
"India is a democracy. Pakistan is a democracy," he said, "If we can, there is no reason why they cannot. It's just a case of institution building," the Kashmir Chief Minister said while favouring opening a dialogue process with Islamabad.
Omar's comment on an agreement on Kashmir came just a day after former Pakistan President Musharraf claimed that New Delhi and Islamabad were close to a pact during his regime.
"My proposal was the demilitarisation of the disputed area, self-governance and a mutual overwatch," Musharraf had said.
He said, "the key irritant was the Line of Control which the Indians wanted to make permanent. I said we should make it irrelevant by opening transit routes. And that is where the situation stands."

Omar said it was very clear that the Pakistani Army had no interest in destabilising the civilian administration, "so possibly, that is a window of opportunity for us again".
To a question whether the Pakistan army has an interest in resolving the Kashmir issue once for all, Abdullah said "I'd like to believe so. Gen Musharraf was the chief of army staff when he tried his level best to do it. So I am sure he was carrying his army behind him when he was doing this."
"There are vested interests on both sides," the chief minister warned and emphasised that governments in both Islamabad and New Delhi should neutralise and marginalised these vested interests.
"There are pockets in the polity, in the establishment. The amount of money that flows in the name of Kashmir even into the polity of the state... it would be unfair to blame just the army or bureaucracy or the intelligence... There are any number of political players who would find themselves out of pocket if they did not have the Kashmir issue to sell to people," Omar said.

Comments (+)