Review of Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove by Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri
Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove is a memoir by Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, who served as Pakistan's foreign minister from 2002 to 2007. The book offers an insider's account of Pakistan's foreign policy, especially the peace process with India, including the details of the Kashmir framework, which was hailed as the most promising dialogue between the two countries since Independence. The book also covers the complex relationship between Pakistan, the US, Afghanistan and India in the aftermath of 9/11 and the war on terror.
Kasuri writes candidly about his interactions with his Indian counterparts, such as Pranab Mukherjee, Natwar Singh and Yashwant Sinha, as well as the two prime ministers he worked with, Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He reveals how he and his Indian interlocutors tried to overcome the mistrust and hostility that have plagued the bilateral relations for decades, and how they came close to reaching a breakthrough on the Kashmir issue. He also provides a rare insight into the workings of the Pakistan Army, the role of the Foreign Office and his warm but complex relationship with President Pervez Musharraf.
The book is not only a personal account of Kasuri's diplomatic career, but also a valuable source of information and analysis on Pakistan's foreign policy and its regional and global implications. Kasuri does not shy away from expressing his opinions and criticisms on various issues, such as the role of the media, the civil-military imbalance, the rise of extremism and terrorism, and the need for democracy and human rights. He also writes about Pakistan's relations with other countries, such as China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.
Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove is a comprehensive and revealing book that sheds light on one of the most turbulent and crucial periods in Pakistan's history. It is also a testament to Kasuri's vision and commitment to peace and stability in South Asia and beyond.
The book also sheds light on some of the major events and crises that shaped Pakistan's foreign policy during Kasuri's tenure, such as the Agra summit, the 2001-02 military standoff, the 2004 SAARC summit, the 2005 earthquake, the Mumbai attacks, the Balochistan insurgency, the Lal Masjid operation, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the lawyers' movement. Kasuri gives his perspective on how these events affected Pakistan's relations with India and other countries, and how he tried to resolve them through dialogue and diplomacy.
One of the most interesting and controversial aspects of the book is Kasuri's revelation of the secret back-channel talks between Pakistan and India on Kashmir, which he claims resulted in a near-agreement on a four-point formula. The formula involved demilitarization, self-governance, joint management and free movement across the Line of Control. Kasuri argues that this formula was acceptable to both sides and could have led to a lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute. He also reveals how he engaged with various Kashmiri leaders and groups to seek their support and involvement in the peace process.
Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove is a book that challenges many stereotypes and myths about Pakistan's foreign policy and its role in the region and the world. It is a book that reflects Kasuri's passion and conviction for peace and cooperation in South Asia and beyond. It is a book that deserves to be read by anyone interested in understanding Pakistan's foreign policy and its challenges and opportunities. aa16f39245