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  India   AK Verma had Zia’s blessing for Kashmir, Siachen

AK Verma had Zia’s blessing for Kashmir, Siachen

Published : Sep 4, 2016, 6:56 am IST
Updated : Sep 4, 2016, 6:56 am IST

If V.P.Singh had not been persuaded, when he became Prime Minister in December 1989, into believing, wrongly, that Anand Kumar Verma, the Research & Analysis Wing chief, he inherited from Rajiv Gandhi

If V.P.Singh had not been persuaded, when he became Prime Minister in December 1989, into believing, wrongly, that Anand Kumar Verma, the Research & Analysis Wing chief, he inherited from Rajiv Gandhi, was a Pakistan hawk and could not be trusted on Pakistan, the two sub-continental rivals would have laid not one, but two long standing disputes to rest —- Siachen and Jammu and Kashmir.

The Kashmir issue would have been laid to rest, 27 years ago. Pakistan, could never repudiate a treaty forged by a military leader.

A.K. Verma, who brokered a secret peace deal with Pakistan’s all powerful army chief President Zia ul Haq’s emissary, died on Friday, his lasting contribution to sealing both Siachen and the Line of Control, are secrets he would have taken to the grave.

Except, in a remarkably candid interview with this newspaper, the man who could have changed history, but wasn’t allowed to, spoke in detail about the secret back channel talks that he held with Pakistan’s top spook Hamid Gul in the Jordanian capital and in Geneva, that had the blessings of Zia, the unlikeliest of peacemakers. “Gen. Zia, had agreed to do a backroom deal with Rajiv Gandhi, which would have re-ordered the relationship that Pakistan had with India. We would have gone from sworn enemies to uneasy allies. We would have had the demilitarisation of Siachen, and the LoC converted to an international boundary,” Mr Verma told this newspaper some months ago. Equally explosive is his claim that the Pakistan president, who arrived — uninvited — to a cricket match in Jaipur in February 1987, and held closed door talks with the Indian Prime Minister, was assassinated by the Pakistan establishment for reaching out to Rajiv Gandhi.

Here’s another — Mr Verma insisted there was a link between the assassinations of the Pakistan President and the Indian leader, who was blown up by a suicide bomber at an election rally on May 21, 1991, in polls that he was poised to sweep. On Friday Sept 2, Verma breathed his last.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi