The Kashmir issue doesn’t revolve around the unfinished agenda of partition alone, but a consistent struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination. Throughout history, Kashmir has been rocked by the conquests of the Mughals, Sikhs and Dogras. The area has remained embroiled in conflict since India was partitioned. Pakistan has pledged its political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination — which is guaranteed by numerous UN resolutions. However, we have done all of this while respecting the spirit of peaceful settlement and negotiations with India under various agreements; most of all the Simla agreement of 1972.Furthermore, Pakistan has also accepted the Hurriyat conference constitution of July 31, 1993 by accepting that ‘Exercise of right to self-determination shall also include the right to independence’. The constitution also accepts the negotiated settlement of the dispute amongst India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir under the aspirations of the masses, but not within the frame work of the constitution of India. Article 257 of the constitution of Pakistan impliedly guarantees something equal to freedom by pledging that “when people of a state decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the state shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that state”. Notwithstanding the rhetoric of Kashmir being an integral part of India, it is not included in the definition of the Indian state under Article 152 of Indian constitution and chapter two of the constitution relating to states. These do not apply to the state of Kashmir, which is governed by its own constitution. Even the state’s governor and judges of the high court are appointed under the constitution. Different articles of the Indian constitution are extended to the state through executive orders, not by parliament. This article itself is ‘temporary’ in nature and derives its strength from the instrument of accession by the ruler solicited by his letter dated October 26, 1947. Irrespective of the legality, legitimacy, propriety and morality of the instrument of accession, it was accepted by the governor general of India on October 27 1947. He had unequivocally stated that, “…consistent with their policy that, in case of any state where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the state, it is my government’s wish that, as soon as the law and order have been restored in Kashmir and soil cleared of the invader, the question of state’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people…” India is committed under article 51 of its constitution to “…foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised people with one another and encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration” India is committed under article 51 of its constitution to “…foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised people with one another and encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration”, besides “making law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty , agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body”, under article 253 of its constitution. So, is Pakistan obliged under article 40 of its constitution “to promote international peace and security, foster goodwill and friendly relations among all nations and encourage the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means”. Given this politico-legal position, the only way only out is tripartite negotiations. UN Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP)has endorsed this while explaining in its resolutions that, “The Commission is not committed to rejection of a peaceful solution, which might be agreed upon by the two governments, provided that such a solution reflects the will of the people”. The coinciding statements of generals commanding Indian and Pakistani forces a few days ago, who have the perception of the ground realities must keep on reverberating that, “the time is not far when they will be convinced that neither the forces nor the militants will be able to achieve the goal. Together, we have to find a way for peace and we will be successful in that” (Gen Rawat). His counterpart General Bajwa of Pakistan retorted that, “It is our sincere belief that the route to peaceful resolution of Pakistan — India disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir, is through comprehensive and meaningful dialogue…” Perhaps these generals can take the lead from a part of Pervez Musharaf’s four point formula, “Identify the geographic regions of Kashmir that need resolution.” This region is unambiguously identifiable, it is the valley of Kashmir and its peripheries of Chinab and Pirpanjal”. Let us hope that sense prevails. The writer is a former Chief Justice of the Azad Kashmir Supreme Court. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, April 26th 2018.