Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Resolving the Kashmir Dispute: Blending Realism with Justice.

The resumption of India-Pakistan peace dialogue after a hiatus of nearly eighteen months resulting from the Mumbai terrorist attacks, has revived interest in different formulas, proposals and options that have been made from time to time to resolve the Kashmir dispute, the root-cause of “unending conflict” between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. This paper attempts to make a contribution towards this ongoing exploration of feasible ideas by highlighting the relevance of the Difference Principle expounded by John Rawls in his Theory of Justice as a key component of a lasting India-Pakistan peace deal on Kashmir. The paper begins with a brief account of the historical background of the Kashmir dispute, its evolution and a summary of the competing Indian and Pakistani claims to the disputed territory. Section two of the paper provides a descriptive account of the various solutions that have been proposed and the attempts made by India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute. The last section of the paper offers a summary of the main tenets of Rawls’s theory of Justice and examines the relevance of the Difference Principle as a guide to finding a just resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Syed Rifaat Hussain