by M Rafique Goraya
LAHORE: Former Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ published by Oxford University Press (pages 850 – price Rs 2400} was launched here on Tuesday.
Former Cabinet Minister, Indian government Mani Shankar Aiyar, read the key note address followed by a panel discussion with Kasuri on his book. The launch ceremony was attended by a large number of politicians, retired army leaders, diplomats, bureaucrats, intellectuals, analysts, journalists and academia.
This is the first comprehensive account by a Pakistani Foreign Minister who contributed in moving the peace process with India forward. This was hailed as the most promising dialogue between Pakistan and India since Independence.
The book provides a detailed analysis of the Kashmir issue and the complex nature of Pakistan-US-Afghanistan-India quadrangular relationship. It reveals graphic details of a back channel peace process that had almost culminated into a permanent settlement of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Kasuri said that only five people in Pakistan were privy to the peace process, from 2004 to 2007, namely President General Pervez Musharraf (Retd), his Chief of Staff General Hamid Javed (Retd), former ISI Chief General Ashfaq Kiani (Retd), Lieutenant General Ahsan Saleem (Retd) and the author.
Kasuri said he has given the exact details, which were never revealed before. “I have given the background in which the peace process took place, and the context in which it happened,” He said that at the start of composite dialogue the two countries had signed an agreement that the peace process was irreversible despite terrorists’ activities in either country.
Kasuri felt that unlike in the past, solution to Kashmir was in the gasp of both governments, and hoped that progress achieved through backchannel will not go to waste.
“It is a solution, which they (governments) could sell to their respective constitutional authorities and their people on the vexed issue of Kashmir over which they had fought five wars and came near to five more experienced sustained hostility since Partition,” he concluded.
During a stimulating panel discussion between the author and the well known journalists Najam Sethi, Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Arif Nizami and Rashid Rehman, Kasuri emphasised that whatever two statesmen are at the helm in India and Pakistan for improvement of relations, they would have to revert to the framework formulated during his tenure as Foreign Minister.
Earlier in her welcome address, Ameena Saiyied, Managing Director Oxford University Press Pakistan introduced the author and said “Kasuri’s time in office was one during which our relations with our neighbour became healthier and more nuanced; when a number of new initiatives were launched and it became possible to think about out of the box solutions to the issues that be devil relation between the two countries, when one felt the first, frail breaths of an ‘Aman Ki Asha’ beginning to blow both ways across our borders”
source: Business Recoder