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'Right of self-determination for Kashmiris not realistic'
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January 16, 2007 16:55 IST

Pakistan seeking the right of self-determination for Kashmiris 'is not realistic any more' and President Pervez Musharraf's four-point formula to resolve the Kashmir issue takes 'note of current realities,' a leading Pakistani daily said on Tuesday.

Commenting on the weekend visit here of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Dawn in an editorial said the two sides gave clear signals that they were now ready to move ahead with the composite dialogue, stalled after the Mumbai train blasts in July last year.

The fourth round of peace talks to begin in March was also a welcome development and other moves, such as three accords to be signed in February, will pave the way for friendly exchanges, it said.

Noting the 'optimism in the air' following meetings between Indian and Pakistani leaders to revive the peace process, it said that 'to ask for the right of self determination for the Kashmiris envisaged 50 years ago is not realistic any more.'

"Much water has flowed down the Jhelum, and India and Pakistan will have to move on if a solution to the Kashmir dispute is to be found," it said.

Musharraf's formula 'may not offer a classical format for self-determination but it does take note of current realities,' it said.

"By envisaging free movement of people across the LoC, gradual demilitarisation of the state, self-governance and a joint supervision mechanism, the formula will ensure more meaningful engagement with the Kashmiris than ever before," the editorial said.

The editorial added that conventional wisdom in Pakistan 'has it that without a solution of the Kashmir dispute, relations with India can never improve durably. But what needs to be understood is that the conflict in Kashmir has been there for over half a century and it is unrealistic to expect a perfect solution to be achieved overnight.'

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