UK saw Kayani as ‘obstacle’ to a deal on Kashmir


LAHORE – Britain’s Labour government regarded Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as a major “obstacle” to a Pakistan-India deal on Kashmir, India’s The Hindu newspaper quoted a cable released by the WikiLeaks (website) as stating on Sunday.
The cable, dated November 28, 2008 (180571: confidential/noforn) from the US Embassy in London showed that until a day before the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the view in the British Foreign Office was that India and Pakistan were close to an agreement on Kashmir with a text ready, but General Kayani was “reluctant” and was seen as the only “remaining obstacle”, the newspaper reported.
The view was based on British Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s visit to Pakistan on November 25, 2008. A US diplomat quoted Laura Hickey of the Pakistan Team of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as saying that Miliband’s assessment was that there was a “deal on paper” and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari were “ready” to sign it, the newspaper reported.
“Hickey said Miliband concluded during his trip that it was time to get a deal done on Kashmir. Zardari and Singh were ready, and there was a text on paper. Miliband thought the remaining obstacle was Pakistani military chief General Kayani; he remained ‘reluctant’ and needed to be persuaded,” the newspaper quoted the cable as saying.