An Indo-Pakistani peace process continues to move forward two months after the deadly bombing on the “Friendship Express” train between New Delhi and Lahore. Shortly after that attack, linked to Kashmiri militant groups (Hindustan Times), India and Pakistan signed an agreement to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear attacks. More recently, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri indicated on April 20 that the two countries are close to reaching agreement (The Nation) on the decades-old dispute over India-controlled Kashmir. Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf says relations between the two countries “have never been better” (Hindu).
President Pervez Musharraf said last week on New Delhi Television that Pakistan will give up its claim on Kashmir if India accepts a four-point resolution, including autonomy for the region under a joint government with Indian, Pakistani, and Kashmiri representation. Within days, a spokeswoman from Pakistan’s foreign ministry followed up by asserting that Islamabad did not consider the territory an “integral part” of Pakistan. Tasnim Aslam, whose remarks at a press conference in Islamabad drew criticism (The News) from Pakistani journalists, said that conflict between India and Pakistan was over the Kashmiris right to “decide their future” rather than claims on the India-controlled area of the Himalayan region. The comments have stirred speculation about whether Pakistan is making a break with decades-old policy or merely maneuvering to fend off international criticism on other fronts.