Pakistan open to idea of new Kashmir: Musharraf
Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Tuesday that Pakistan is prepared to forgo its claim on the disputed territory of Kashmir if India agrees to allow the region to become largely autonomous.
Musharraf suggested the plan during an interview with Independent New Delhi Television, a private television station in India.
In the interview, Musharraf said Pakistan would give up its claim on Kashmir if India agrees with his plan, which is that the predominantly Muslim regionshould beallowed to govern itself, have a relatively open border and be controlled jointly by both India and Pakistan.
Both countries now claimthe region.
An analyst in India, however, dismissed the idea Tuesday, saying Musharraf is simply trying to draw attention to himself with a proposal that does not really solve the problems of the region.
Brahma Chellany, a professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, a non-profit society in India that studies major policy options for the country, said the offer is a gimmick.
"If both sides are going to agree to self-governance and joint management of a divided Kashmir, then neither side will stake a claim to the other country's Kashmir part. So nothing new has been said by General Musharraf, but he certainly likes to hog the limelight," he said.
India, for its part, has said that Kashmir has had free and fair elections and the people there have access to special sections of the Indian constitution, giving them a certain amount of freedom already. India has said it does not believe that self-governance is the solution for the region.
Meanwhile, fighting continued Tuesday in the region. Three militants were killed Tuesday, with the Indian army saying two of them belonged to a Pakistani-based militant group.