Ignoring his supplicant Jamali’s advice, Musharraf offers to pull-out troops from POK in a BBC Talking Point interview. Judging by the style and the forum it was made, this looks like rhetoric to me.
Its well known that successive Pakistan governments have encouraged trans-migration of Punjabis and Pakhtoons from other parts of Pakistan into Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, and changed the demographics of the place. This policy was designed to ensure that these areas retain allegiance to Islamabad with or without military occupation. Still, this is the first time I’ve heard anyone from Pakistan even mention withdrawing of troops from Pakistan occupied Kashmir. I’m not sure if his fellow generals or his jehadi combine will back him on this as it directly affects their bread and butter.
Musharraf may be heading in the direction on redeeming Nehru’s promise of a plebiscite. While it is a risky path for him to take, the downside is not all that bad. If the plebsicite goes in India’s way he could always revive the fight for self-determination after a decent interval. I’m not sure if the changed demographics of old Jammu and Kashmir state are definitely in Pakistan’s favour; and these are further complicated by the call for Kashmiri independence. Back in 1947, the NWFP fell into Pakistan’s hands because the referendum gave the province a choice between Pakistan and India. Had there been additional options (independence, or merger with Afghanistan) the dynamics and decision would have been totally different.
Update: India has not yet officially reacted to Musharraf’s remarks. But certainly, on as serious a matter as this Musharraf should certainly have used diplomatic channels to sound the Indian government out.
Meanwhile Standard & Poor has upgraded Pakistan’s rating – almost certainly helped by the Peace Process Atmospherics.