‘Kayani was reluctant on Kashmir deal’

AGENCIES
Publish Date: Apr 5 2011 12:00PM

New Delhi, Apr 4: Britain’s Labour Government regarded the Pakistani army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s ‘reluctance’ as a major obstacle to an India-Pakistan “deal” on Kashmir, WikiLeaks cables have revealed.
A cable, dated November 28, 2008 ( 180571: confidential/noforn) from the US Embassy in London showed that until a day before the 26/11 Mumbai attack, the view in the British Foreign Office was that India and Pakistan were close to an agreement on Kashmir with a “text” ready, but General Kayani was “reluctant.” He was seen as the only “remaining obstacle.”
 Former British foreign secretary David Miliband, who visited Islamabad a day before the Mumbai attack in 2008, believed then that President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were ready with a deal on Kashmir, but Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was reluctant to clear it.
 In one cable, a US diplomat in London quotes Laura Hickey of the Pakistan Team of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as saying that Miliband’s assessment was that there was a “deal on paper” and both Dr Singh and Zardari were “ready” to sign it.
 Miliband “concluded (before the November 26 Mumbai bombing) that it was the time to get a deal on Kashmir. Pakistani President Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Singh were ready, and there was a deal on paper. Hickey said Miliband thought Pakistani military chief Kayani was the one ‘reluctant’ about the deal and needed to be persuaded,” the cable said.
 But the cable does not clarify Miliband’s view of Gen Kayani or details of the latter’s reluctance. The cable also does not clarify that Gen Kayani’s reluctance was about the deal struck by Zardari and Dr Singh and not about resolution of the Kashmir issue.
 It quoted Hickey as saying that “following his trip, Miliband was resolved to put energy behind an Indian-Pakistan deal on Kashmir. She thought the November 26 Mumbai bombings would likely strengthen his resolve. HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) is nervous, however, that over-reaction on either government’s part could result in a hardening of positions over or military action in Kashmir, once again derailing any progress.”
 Pakistan remained tight-lipped about the deal on Kashmir, as the spokesperson at the Foreign Office said that he had “no clue” about the agreement.


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