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Pakistan may be reconciled to Article 370 being internal matter of India, says fmr RAW chief Dulat

Days after India and Pakistan announced a surprising thaw after years of tension and border clashes between the two countries, former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Chief, A S Dulat, has said that Pakistan may now be “reconciled to Articles 370 and 35A being internal matter in India”.

Dulat, an article he wrote for The Tribune, writes that “Pakistan is working on a consensus for a settlement on the Line of Control, to which Manmohan Singh and General Pervez Musharraf had come close.”

“Musharraf had always maintained that whatever was acceptable to Kashmir and Kashmiris would be acceptable to Pakistan,” writes Dulat.

“It is not surprising, that Pakistan, which was undoubtedly shocked by the abrogation of Article 370, may now be reconciled to Articles 370 and 35A being internal matters of India,” he adds.

Dulat futher writes: We cannot afford a two-front hostility, leave alone war. And Pakistan, with problems bigger than ours, is the easier of the two major neighbours to befriend. As Dr Farooq Abdullah said when China was needling us in Ladakh, “Why don’t we talk to Pakistan when we are talking to China?” Hence, the news of a ceasefire on the LoC beginning from midnight of February 24-25, agreed to after cordial discussions between the DGMOs, is a positive development which should lead to the opening of more doors.

On 5 August 2019, the Government of India revoked the special status, or limited autonomy, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir, and divided the state into two Union Territories.

In the piece he further writes, “Top Kashmiri leaders Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who have long been pleading for an Indo-Pakistan engagement, welcomed the ceasefire.”

He further argued that the coming two years will be for Pakistan and that the country must do whatever is possible as soon as possible, “The year 2021 is crucial for Pakistan. The Prime Minister’s position may be further strengthened if he obtains a majority in the senate this week. Next year, both Imran Khan and and General Bajwa will have just a year left. It is best that whatever is possible is done now while the going is good. What we need is a practical solution, not necessarily, the perfect one.”

Dulat also termed Kashmir as key to resolving outstanding issues between two nations, “the current Pakistan team of Imran Khan, Bajwa and Moeed is also said to be functioning at its best. Imran has said more than once that if India were willing to take a step forward, Pakistan would be ready for two. Every message from across indicates that Pakistan is ready for peace. More ready than ever before. Whether or not Imran has the brains, as some of his detractors doubt, he certainly has the heart for peace. If Moeed has been coy about backchannel proceedings, it is understandably due to mutual understanding and management of public opinion. Kashmir, no doubt, will remain the key to resolving outstanding issues.”