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Plebiscite Then Referendum in Kashmir!

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Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

A statement was given by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan, during his last address to an election audience in Azad Kashmir. The statement is queer in the context of the Kashmir issue. The historical studies of the issue reveal the complicity of the same as it has not only caused wars between the two countries but also, involved the Security Council of UNO.

The Security Council, realizing the threatened issue which “might, by its continuance, endanger the maintenance of international peace and security”. Keeping in view the urgency, the Security Council recognized the right of plebiscite in Kashmir in its resolutions. Unfortunately, the Security Council failed to implement its resolutions, and India recently invented a false device to digest the entire Jammu & Kashmir in derogation of resolutions passed by.

Though the Modi government has made the J&K is an integral part of the Indian constitution both, Kashmiris and Pakistan, rejected the one-sided decision of the Modi government. Kashmiris denied the sovereignty of India over Kashmir and are continuously in a state of agitation. The deplorable aspect of the new situation is that the permanent members of the Security Council except for China, do not take care of the defaming attitude of Modi’s government, rather they show a criminal silence on the breaching of Security Council resolutions by India.

Dormant world attitude strengthened Modi to retain its illegal occupation over J&K and also, to make malafide plans against Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Indeed, Pakistan struggled diplomatically to awaken the sleeping conscience of world powers with full strength. In this regard, our prime minister’s address, before the general assembly, can be cited as the strongest version before the world at large about the Kashmir issue, but it seems difficult to jolt the collective conscience of the world.

In the supra situation, the task seems difficult to circle India to agree for a plebiscite in Kashmir unless the superpowers do not make India realize the chips are down. I have no option but to be stunned on how the Prime Minister gave the sweeping statement about plebiscite in Kashmir and if, I come out of my astonishing state of mind, feeling optimistic about backdoor diplomacy which compelled Mr. Modi to double back on its tracks Honestly speaking, if the statement of Prime Minister is not only for the sake of winning the elections in Azad Kashmir but if, it is a policy statement on the Kashmir issue, then the same is a big achievement of the present government on the diplomatic front, same can be appreciated as a solution of chronic issue of Kashmir.

Still, the second part of the statement about the referendum in Kashmir after the plebiscite strikes the mind of a common prudence person. A plebiscite in Kashmir can be made only under the auspices of UNO and there is no other option for the Kashmiris but either to vote for Pakistan to integrate with or to vote in favor of India.

The Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan is as old as the United Kingdom wrapped, its colonial rule over, from the sub-continent. Indian army illegally occupied Jammu & Kashmir valley under the cloak of giving a false color to the accession of Kashmir by Maharaja, but the people of Kashmir never accepted the sovereignty of India over their motherland.

The second part of the statement given by the prime minister about the referendum in Kashmir, after taking place the plebiscite under the supervision of UNO, seems more difficult to understand and quake once mind with some difficult questions which are as under; (a). If the plebiscite is conducted, it is obvious that the people of Kashmir would choose Pakistan for being its integral part and consequently, the J&K state would be merged into Pakistan.

India has to quit from occupied Kashmir, then, under what circumstances a new referendum needs to be made to offer the people of Kashmir to reaffirm the option, either they want to live with Pakistan as its integral part or they want a newly independent state to establish, particularly, when the people of Kashmir would have given their option to remain with Pakistan as its integral part under the constitution in the plebiscite? (b).

After the plebiscite, the people of Kashmir become citizens of Pakistan and the J&K territory comes within the ambit of the constitution and even then if they are given the option to establish a new independent state then would it not strengthen the other separatists in various constitutional units of Pakistan?

Nothing is secret today as the enemy countries, particularly, India and Israel have succeeded to make small pockets of separatists which, although, have no strength to damage the unity of Pakistan but, if Kashmiri people are given an option either to remain with Pakistan or to establish an independent state, might be a strong illustration for them to work for their ulterior motive of separatism in other parts of the country. These questions raised in this article demand critique from intellectuals.

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Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali has served as the former judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan. After his retirement, he regularly writes about the legal aspects of the constitutional rights of Gilgit-Baltistan.

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