India and Pakistan held secret talks for more than three years, reached an accord on the thorny Kashmir issue and had almost unveiled it in 2007 before domestic turmoil in Pakistan derailed it, former Pakistani foreign minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri has revealed.
Kasuri says the two nuclear-armed rivals, who rule the Himalayan region in parts, had agreed to full demilitarisation of both the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir with a package of loose autonomy on both sides of the Line of Control, a military control line that divides the region between two nations.
“We agreed on a point between complete independence and autonomy,” Kasuri told Times of India.
Almost all Kashmir leaders except hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani came on board and agreed on the accord that was to be signed during a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Islamabad scheduled for February-March 2007.
It never happened. The then Pakistan president, Pervez Musharraf, lost power and the country plunged into turmoil.