|« Back to article||Print this article|
The United States had asked Pakistan in 2002 to end infiltration across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir but was instead told not to 'push it too far' on the issue with an assertion that 'Kashmir should have been ours', according to declassified documents.
This communication forms part of a meeting Richard Hass, the then director of Policy Planning Staff at the US State Department, had with an unnamed Pakistani military official on October 31, 2002, to discuss US-Pak cooperation a year after the deadly 9/11 attacks.
"On Kashmir, Hass stressed the importance of ending infiltration, but the Pakistani official warned the US not to push Pakistan too far on Kashmir," classified documents released on Monday said.
According to the document, Hass told the top official that he was pleased about the (Indian) announcement of troop pullback from the border as de-escalation would free resources to be devoted to sealing the Afghan border and counter-terrorism.
"It appeared that India wanted to renew contacts but continued infiltration was a barrier to progress," Hass had said.
"The US believed that infiltration was continuing. Stopping it would help Pakistan's cause with the US and India. Infiltration hurts Pakistan's friend's efforts to help it," he said, according to the documents.
The Pakistanu official agreed that Kashmir was the issue 'bedevilling our relations'. But Pakistan's Kashmir position was 'based on justice', he argued.
"Kashmir should have been ours. The Pakistani people would not agree to make the LoC (Line of Control) the international border. Kashmir had cost (General Pervez) Musharraf a lot, as had his decision to help the coalition. Musharraf's detractors had hit him on both Kashmir and Afghanistan. India had tried to exploit the political atmosphere after 9/11," the Pak official said.
"Hass relied that he perceived an opportunity to improve the situation in and surrounding Kashmir. India seemed to realise that lack of political and economic opportunity and abuse of human rights created support for insurgency and a better context for diplomacy was now being created," said the documents.
"Haas said that both improved governance and diplomacy were key to moving forward on Kashmir," the documents said.
At the same meeting, Pakistan pleaded with the US to provide it with an aerial surveillance capability. Pakistan would have no objection to the same capability being provided to India, the Pakistani official said and proposed that it might be an excellent confidence building measure, as if the two sides could see what was happening across the border to reduce the possibility of misconstruing what the other side was doing, the documents said.