Gorbachev and Kashmir

Published September 30, 2022

ON the recent death of Mikhail Gorbachev, the global statesman that he was, I want to share a touching scene with him during a meeting over two decades ago. We were at a formal banquet at The Hague on June 29, 2000, following the launch that morning of the Earth Charter at the Peace Palace by Gorbachev, Maurice Strong and Steven Rockefeller in the presence of Queen Beatrix.

I was seated next to Gorbachev at the banquet that evening and offered my condolences at the demise of his wife Raisa. By the time I heard his detailed appreciation through the interpreter, I saw mournful tears in his eyes. I was touched that the loss of his wife had still moved him emotionally several months after the event.

For me, it will remain an unforgettable sight of the mighty former leader of the Soviet Union acknowledging with open and unguarded frailty the loss of a life-long companion.

My closeness to Gorbachev over our work together for the Earth Charter induced my confidential suggestion that he ‘mediate’ on the tricky Kashmir issue. Gorbachev initially agreed, but like many other initiatives, this did not succeed.

Dr Parvez Hassan
Lahore

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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