The problem with General Musharraf is that he wants to be on all television channels at once. May be not possible but he pulls it off somehow and makes you believe that he is the most haunted celebrity for the journalists on both sides of the border. Buy a camera and a mike and get a Musharraf free. His round the clock availability for media has made him a wonder boy our TV hosts love to be with. Especially for Indian channels when the slot goes eventless, he proves a cheap catch. Booking Manmohan is too far a cry, Musharraf is just a phone call away. Had he not been a president, he might have been a Video Jockey. Who knows he may be hosting KBC after his never ending tenure as President may some day come to an end.
Keeping this irresistible temptation of his in view, there is no need to read too much in his much discussed four-point statement on NDTV. In all the four there is one point in common and that is his insatiable urge to say something. His uninterrupted monologue has won him a huge lot of fans including Farroq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah. The father-son duo is all praise for President and why not. He wants to see it off as soon it can be and lean back on the chair as a calm king with a kingdom that can't question his being there.
To say the obvious, the four-point proposal goes like this. One, no change in the boundaries of Kashmir. Two, to make borders and the LoC irrelevant. Three, staggered demilitarization. And four Autonomy or self-governance with a joint supervision mechanism. It's not the first time he spells out the formula. Only the phraseology may be different, but the rest is the self-same melody of I propose, you dispose. Whatever the steps taken, but the solution has always eluded us. We must have lost the count as to how many times did he float some 'out of the box' ideas which he alone holds the copyright of. Theorized by him alone, his proposals of Self governance proved a good grist to the NC and PDP mill.
While focusing on the theatrics of a self-loving soul like Musharraf, let's not miss the sense in the words. The General, no doubt wants to catch India off-guard without leaving any option for them untried. Even cynics will have no reason to refute the effect it makes on the politicians on Indian side. Of course, it proves again and again that India never wants a settlement and to them the only solution in sight is the status quo. Preparing to talk without a positive intent to accept the nature of the dispute, India has always gone by way of deception on international fora. Musharraf's constant urge to go beyond the stereotype of solutions has at least made it clear that even if he rejects the finality of UN resolutions, even if he volunteers to quit his part of Kashmir, things are not going to change on this side. What is aching in this whole process is a one-sided stimulus which invites no response at all from those it's aimed at. An endless repetition of proposals from Pakistan has not made a leaf ruffle from the other side. Doing the same and trying the already tried and failed methods sounds nothing but a desperation to roll up the whole affair. The naked truth of history declares India an assailant, Kashmir a colony and Pakistan as a genuine party to the dispute whose one logical part has been occupied by sheer force. Time and possession went together making subjects accept a pure occupation as a form of governance. So that way, India had to come forward and propose steps to the solution. With nothing to lose, they are safe staying silent. Irony is that India's unmoved stance on Kashmir has attained a greater ground to the extent that anything against that sounds unjust.
Realistically speaking, General's four point formula is not that too pointless. Thought it can not be accepted as a solution, it can well be taken as a step forward. Imagine a territory jammed with the jackboots of army getting demilitarized. For a people like us it may be the beginning of a new dawn, but who is to initiate that. Musharraf's plans have been time and again spurned by India. Even his demilitarization option was considered impractical as India can't leave Kashmir open fearing the upsurge of rebellion once again. The apprehension which Indian policy makers and political bigwigs have expressed. What then is he searching for? His goodwill towards Pakistan yes, but giving up a long standing demand for Plebiscite is nothing but an attempt to shrug off the burden of history and an inherent desire to cave in. Of course that does not mean inviting disaster for the whole nation to grab a piece of land or letting the sore fester without thinking of a real healing touch. But giving up this way means a tactical retreat from the principal stand.
By adding points to his formula he loses points on the other count. The only point that suits him now as the head of the state is to control his impulse. Hogging screen is not always good. Have a day off. Even TV hosts go for a break.