Since the departure of the British from Indian Sub-continent, following the creation of the two Dominions, India and Pakistan, Jammu & Kashmir has been the bone of contention between the two countries. So far three wars have been fought on Kashmir in 1948, 1965, and 1999. Since the cease-fire went into action on January 1, 1949, One-third of Jammu & Kashmir falls under Pakistan’s occupation. While rest of Kashmir is under direct Indian control and occupation. The Kashmir dispute is an international dispute, and it is more than 62 years old. The Kashmir conflict, however, ostensibly seems to an outcome of a ‘communo-legal’ dispute, with Pakistan supporting for a communal solution to the conflict, while India sticking to legal aspect of the accession referring to the Indian Independence Act 1947. Kashmir is ‘nuclear flash point and entire South Asian geopolitics is absorbed on the Kashmir, and the peace in the region necessarily depends on the successful resolution to the dispute. Since 1948 Pak India war till now different solutions and mechanisms are proposed for the solution of this long lasting dispute of Kashmir. Prime Minister Feroz Khan Noon offered pure and simple partition to the United States’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Henry Cabot Lodge, in Karachi on 10 February 1958. Ayub Khan suggested alternatives to plebiscite. The Z.A. Bhutto – Swaran Singh talks central focus was on partition.
One such attempt regarding solution of Kashmir issue was made during Musharraf era. In 2006 General Musharraf who believed both Pakistan and India would have to retreat from positions held since 1948 come up with four point formula. This four-point solution to Kashmir issue which includes demilitarization and “self-governance with joint supervision mechanism”. The four-point formula of Musharraf included a) Kashmir should have the same borders but free movement across the region be allowed for people on both side of LoC; b)There should be self-governance or autonomy but not independence e)Region should be demilitarized i-e phased wised withdrawal of troops from the region. d ) and a mechanism should be devised jointly so that the road map for Kashmir is implemented smoothly. Thus Pakistan’s President, Pervez Musharraf, had diluted the Pakistani position significantly. Musharraf 4 point formula brought five major shifts in Pakistan decades long stand on Kashmir. These five major changes are : 1) setting aside the U.N.’s resolutions on plebiscite; 2) self-governance substation for self-determination; 3) forsaking religion as a criterion; 4) Pakistan advise to Kashmiris to talk to New Delhi; and 5) accepting the Line of Control (LoC) provided it is combined with joint management, an issue pre-eminently liable to compromise. . He suggested a four-step approach for implementation of solution.
•There should be agreement that Kashmir is the central problem between two states ;
• Identification of those loci and plans that are unacceptable to the other side;
• Take up consideration of other proposals; and
• Solution acceptable to Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri people should be agreed.
There was also a appraisal clause in the Musharraf formula that after 7 or 15 or more years it would be discussed to the people and if they agree with it the arrangement will be deemed as final settlement on the Kashmir problem. But if they say no, then another mechanism will have to be advanced to determine the desire of people in all these regions comprising Jammu and Kashmir and India and Pakistan.
The proposed formula met with different reactions both from inside Pakistan, Kashmir and India. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had been advising Indian leaders not to reach any deal with President Musharraf on the Kashmir issue. Sharif responded to the Musharraf 4 point formula in these words, “This gentleman Musharraf announces very important things off-the-cuff. He has the habit of taking decisions in a very casual manner. He is also erratic, a little impulsive. I don’t agree on a lot of things with Mr. Musharraf. But then one has to look into this. One will have to study this. We don’t have to go by what Mr. Musharraf says. Let us sit down and see how best we can resolve this issue”. Reacting to President Musharraf’s formulation on Kashmir, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani said, “They were half-baked things that did not have the mandate of Parliament”. Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, a former Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir Valley showed his response to the Musharraf solution saying “The proposal was in fact not only an acceptable solution but a very workable one too, where no party would have suffered the painful sense of defeat: neither the Indians nor the Pakistanis and not even the people of Kashmir.”
There aroused certain differences to 4 point formula on part of India. India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, however, excluded any consideration of such proposals by emphasizing that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and there would be no redrawing of the international boundaries or rearrangement of regions that would blow of communal dimensions .The Indian claim over the whole area of Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistani administered Kashmir, was repeated in March 2006 by the Indian government s official protest over the proposed construction of the Bhasha dam in the territory which comes under the Pakistani controlled part of Kashmir. The doctrine of open borders or soft borders was explained by Manmohan Singh as” making LoC a porous border so that there could be free flow of ideas and people between the two parts of Kashmir which will, according to him, one day make LoC irrelevant.” Demilitarization is also not agreeable for India because they consider it as their domestic security related issue. Apart from differences over demilitarization, major obstacle in making LoC beside the point is that India considers this decision should be the eventual solution of the Kashmir dispute whereas Pakistan considers this as one of the very important confidence-building measure. Accepting LoC as ultimate solution to the issue means Pakistan completely gives up its case on Kashmir.
Thus there are certain obstacles in implementing 4 point formula of Musharraf especially when Musharraf is himself not in power but the fact remains there that Musharraf 4 point formula showed the willingness of Pakistan for resolution of the Kashmir issue by withdrawing from its historical stance of seeking plebiscite for Kashmiri people according to the UN resolutions .Kashmir issue solution demands give and take policy from all the parties to issue. Musharraf 4 point formula leads to ultimate solution of prolonged Kashmir issue which is very important for the peace and prosperity of the region. Now the carrying the task will be easier when both states are being run by democratic governments.