Track II Floats Andorra Model For J&K
6 October 2004
The Asian Age
New Delhi: The successful meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has triggered off a full- fledged debate, led by think tanks and intellectuals of both countries, about possible solutions that could bring about a 'negotiated settlement' of Jammu and Kashmir. After a long time Andorra is being heard of again in this context, with several prominent Pakistanis and the All Parties Hurriyat Conference among those to suggest that this solution reached between Spain and France as late as 1993 be looked at seriously by both New Delhi and Islamabad. Members of the high-powered Neemrana Initiative met recently in New Delhi, where the Andorra solution was brought up and discussed. Senior Hurriyat leaders have again started talking about the Andorra solution as a possible solution that 'will take all points of view into account.' The director-general of Islamabad's Institute of Strategic Studies Shireen M. Mazari has also raised this in an article she wrote three weeks ago on possible solutions for Kashmir, where she has mentioned the need to explore the Andorra model further by both India and Pakistan. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Hizbul Mujahideen-appointed negotiator Fazal Haq Qureshi had also supported a solution for Jammu and Kashmir on the Andorra pattern. Andorra is a small principality situated on the border of Spain and France in the Pyrenees Mountains. It is a co- principality of the Bishop of Urgel (Spain) and the French President. It had been claimed by both countries since 803 AD and it was only in 1993 that both Spain and France reached an agreement and gave Andorra an independent constitution and near-autonomy status. It retains the 'co-princes' as heads of state, but executive power now rests in the head of government. The 'co-princes' do not have veto powers but are represented in Andorra through delegates. France and Spain both share responsibility for the defence of Andorra, which also has no currency of its own and uses that of its neighbours. Andorra joined the United Nations as a member state in 1993 and is a recognised parliamentary democracy. A senior Pakistan leader, earlier in the government, told The Asian Age that the Andorra solu-tion should be analysed closely. Ms Mazari, in her article for a prominent Pakistan daily, has written, 'The Andorra model has a certain attraction, especially for those who advocate the independence option for a united state of Jammu and Kashmir. It also offers India a less unpalatable option that seeing the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir becoming a part of Pakistan... but the stumbling block is on the issue of independence, which both India and Pakistan have not conceded.' Analysts point out that the Andorra solution could be applied to Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of three factors that will have to be agreed to by both governments: one, India and Pakistan will have to declare the Line of Control an international border, although it will work as a soft border facilitating free movement for Kashmiris on the ground; two, both countries will formally incorporate parts other than the Kashmir Valley into their countries; and three, both will jointly guarantee autonomy (not independence) for Kashmir that would leave out defence and finance - on which India and Pakistan would have to work out an agreement. Like Andorra, the Kashmir Valley would be turned into a principality with its own representatives. Informal efforts are on, sources said, to convince the rather willing Hurriyat to take the lead and agree to be part of a larger electoral mechanism to realise this option.