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A Pakistani point of view
How Agra was conceived and aborted

President's Brother Dr. Naveed Musharraf, Vajpayee's Son In Law Ranjan Bhattacharya, India's top industrialist Dherobhai Ambani played a key role in preparing the aborted Agra document says Nayyar Zaidi in this exclusive report...

Washington: General Pervez Musharraf had conducted almost a fifteen-month long secret dialogue with emissaries of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and was fully expecting to sign an agreement at Agra which would have paved the way for what he believed to be a breakthrough on Jammu and Kashmir problem. This correspondent has painstakingly put together an account of the events leading up to an invitation from Vajpayee and also how the last minute RSS intervention ripped apart the Musharraf-Vajpayee accord.

From Nawaz to Musharraf
The secret contacts between former prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Vajpayee's special emissary, R. K. Mishra, were exposed in early 1999 resulting in a climate of distrust. After the October 12, 1999 take over by General Musharraf, there was no contact for four to five months. The process was revived after President Bill Clinton's five-hour visit to Pakistan on March 25, 2000. He had discussed the issue with Vajpayee in India. He also held a 45- minute long meeting with Dherobhai Ambani, India's top industrialist who has an interest in a gas pipeline form Iran to India via Pakistan. The U.S. ambassador to India was not included in that meeting.

Musharraf regime started secret talks with India On Sunday, March 26, 2000. Then Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Karl Inderfurth, went back to India to brief Prime Minister Vajpayee on Musharraf's positive response to Indian offer of resuming the secret dialogue. From the Indian side, a representative of Ambanis and a close confidant of Vajpayee, retired admiral, K. K. Nayyar, were nominated. Musharraf nominated his brother Dr. Naveed Musharraf who lives in Chicago. To the best of this correspondent's knowledge, Pakistan and Indian diplomats in United States were excluded and so were the intelligence operatives. In order to reassure the Indian industrialist, General Musharraf announced his endorsement of the Iranian-Indian gas pipeline via Pakistan and guaranteed its security. On the Indian side, Vajpayee took only Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh into confidence since he was also in interface with the United States which was playing a key role.

The ball gets rolling. The first major development came when Vajpayee, in response to a request from General Musharraf, announced a unilateral cease fire for the operation of Indian security forces in the Indian Jammu and Kashmir. The Musharraf government took the leader of a major Islamic party into confidence in June 2000. A few weeks later, the leader of the Islamic party visited United States and was warmly received by State department officials.
Level of secret contact raised. After the initial three months, General Musharraf felt uncomfortable dealing with unofficial persons representing Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee. To reassure him, Vajpayee brought into picture his son-in-law, Ranjan Bhattacharya, and his Parliamentary Affairs Minister Promod Mahajan. These two persons had several meetings with Dr. Naveed Musharraf both in Chicago and out side United States in Europe and one meeting was also reportedly held in Hong Kong.

Outline of the accord
These secret negotiations led to an outline of the accord which was based on the 1952 agreement between the then Chief Minister of Indian Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah, and the then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawharlal Nehru. 1) India would recognize that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute had not been resolved. 2) India and Pakistan would recognize three separate entities in the Indian Jammu and Kashmir: a) The Indian Laddakh; b) the Indian Jammu and c) The Indian Kashmir Valley. 3) A corridor would run from Laddakh to Jammu totally bypassing the Valley and allowing movement of civilians and troops between Laddakh and Jammu. 4) The Valley would be given complete autonomy in all areas except foreign affairs and defense as was proposed by Sheikh Abdullah in 1952. The Indian security forces and army presence would be reduced to the level necessary to maintain law and order. 5) There would be soft-borders between Indian Kashmir and Azad Kashmir(POK) . There would be free movement of those who held domiciles of Kashmir from both sides of the border. 6) Pakistan and India would have agreed to expand trade and the Iranian-Indian pipeline through Pakistan would have been blessed officially.

Musharraf ‘SELL-OUT’
The newspapers reported on July 11, 2001 that "President General (Pervez) Musharraf would like to discuss a possible time frame for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. A credible government source told The News on Tuesday (July 10), that Musharraf was very keen to get a time frame to resolve the main irritant between India and Pakistan. The General is believed to be open as far as the solution of the problem was concerned but pretty clear that the issue needed to be resolved instead of further lingering it for indefinite period". This substantiates our sources who told us that through secret negotiations, an agreement had been reached and Musharraf was quite confident that in Agra he was going to sign an accord. There is no way that a head of state would go to a summit with absolutely no prior preparation and before going would talk of a "time frame" and the "need" to resolve the dispute without " lingering for indefinite period".
However, this India-Pakistan accord was going to be modeled just like the PLO-Israeli accord. The Palestinians were to deliver up front what Israelis wanted, while the Palestinian state was to be created later on. It may be recalled that from the day PLO-Israeli accord was signed, Pakistan diplomats and scholars were referring to it as model for Kashmir resolution which, unfortunately, meant deceiving the Kashmiris the same way as the Palestinians were deceived. Pakistan were to concede their part first, constraining "cross border terrorism" while "autonomy" was to be given at a future date according to a "time frame". General Musharraf would have used the "time-frame" for autonomy as a justification for ending "Jihad".

Vajpayee only took Foreign Minister Jaswant Sing into confidence. The United States persuaded Indian Congress President Sonia Gandhi to support the anticipated accord. Sonia was received in Washington in third week of June. The Chinese were also supportive and through them the Communist Party of India (CPI) President Surjit Harikishan Singh was "delivered". But BJP and RSS remained oblivious to the agenda of the Agra summit. Vajpayee did not consult either the party or the cabinet in deciding to invite Musharraf. The official line was that the invitation was sent under US pressure and was to oblige Secretary of State Colin Powell. But the RSS leadership was alerted by some bragging by Vajpayee son-in-law, Ranjan Bhattacharya. To reassure RSS, Jaswant Singh started making statements that Kashmir was an integral part of India. Musharraf announced that he would take only foreign minister to India. This was to help in excluding all except Jaswant Singh from Indian delegation. When Vajpayee decided that he would take only Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh to Agra, RSS President K Sudrashan advised that Home Minister LK Advani be included to "assist" Vajpayee. To avoid giving the impression that Advani was looking over his shoulder, Vajpayee also included ministers for finance and commerce.

Accord finalized on July 15
As far as Musharraf was concerned, it was a done deal before he had arrived for the summit. On July 8, the Pakistani media said that Musharraf hoped that "coming summit would help initiate the process that would lead to the resolution of the Kashmir issue" (The News, July 8, 2001). After a day long sight seeing and talks on Sunday, between Vajpayee and Musharraf, the foreign ministers completed an accord on the evening of July 15. The July 16 newspapers were full of positive spin. Daily Jang said that "Kashmir, peace and security and terrorism" were part of the anticipated statement which would be issued Monday. Jang also said "Pervez and Vajpayee agree to continue talks today (Monday); Kashmir is basic dispute if the talks continue in this manner I am willing to extend my stay, Musharraf". Another story in Jang said "Smiles on the face of the President and delegation". In fact they were personification of "Ignorance is Bliss" On July 15, Musharraf and the delegation went to bed in the belief that Monday, July 16 was the day of celebration. On July 16, when Musharraf met Indian editors, he was confident in the belief that by the afternoon he would ink the accord. Vajpayee government had briefed the editors that something good was on the way. But the "good" thing was a commitment on part of Musharraf to end what Indians called cross border terrorism in exchange for a promise for full autonomy for Valley at a future date.

Little did Musharraf and his delegation know that tables had been turned by RSS leadership. On July 15 night, Advani asked to see the draft. From then on, RSS President K. Sudarshan ordered that Advani and Minister for Human Resources, Murli Manohar Joshi, would take over. Jaswant Singh and Vajpayee were reduced to spectators by Monday. The revised draft was written by Advani. Jaswant felt further humiliated when his own staffer, V. K. Katju, Joint Secretary in charge of Pakistan desk, refused to give the Advani made draft to foreign minister. Katju was the one who leaked the July 15 draft to Advani who then officially demanded to see the draft. As an aide, Jaswant transferred Katju from Pakistan desk. Joshi, in retaliation, fired Chairman of Indian Social Sciences Council as he was giving a speech in a conference of Indian and Pakistani "intellectuals". The conference had been organized on advice of Vajpayee but the Council comes under Joshi ministry.

The July 17 papers were full of statements by Pakistani officials who blamed some unexplained development being responsible for failure of the summit. "The joint statement prepared by foreign ministers was changed three times by an unseen power" said Major General Rashid Qureshi, director general Inter Services Public Relations. Information Secretary Anwar Mahmood said that the joint statement agreed upon was torn to pieces in six hours.

The six hours were from morning of July 16 to until after lunch on July 16 when Musharraf and company saw the first revised draft prepared by Advani and company. In his 85-minute long farewell meeting with Vajpayee, there were no note takers. verbal agreements have been made. Now, Musharraf has to end the "jihad" without any help from the Indians. An Indian promise and time table of complete autonomy for the Valley would have made Musharraf's job of calling a halt to Jihad in Kashmir easier. But now he has to do it without any Indian help. During her July visit, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina Rocca, not only advised him to come up with a "road map" for restoration of democracy but also gave him three months to demonstrate to US satisfaction that he has gotten rid of Jihadi generals as well as Jihadi civilians.

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