Is there a solution to the Kashmir dispute?

Published: August 16, 2013

A Pakistani soldier stands guard at the Pakistani side of Kashmir as Pakistan and India open trade route between the Line of Control (LOC) which serves as de-facto border between the India and Pakistani-administered zones. PHOTO: EPA/FILE

The news from the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir is not good. Five Indian soldiers have reportedly been kidnapped and murdered by terrorists wearing Pakistan Army uniforms. However, the Pakistan Army denies any part in this.

I believe that this action, like similar actions in the past, has most likely been carried out by the Jihadi groups who like to derail any process of rapprochement between India and Pakistan. Nevertheless, this has caused tempers to flare across the border and the Indian establishment has sounded off against Pakistan and its support for terrorists.

On the Pakistan side, the reaction has been much more muted; the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has just expressed his concerns at the escalating tensions. All this comes against the backdrop of positive developments over the last several months where the ground was being prepared to re-open the dialogue between the two countries. It is really important that both countries keep their eye on the ball and do not get distracted by such incidents once again. Because, this is exactly what the Jihadi groups who are responsible for the violent incidents on the LoC want.

Notwithstanding the troubles mentioned above, I think the current circumstances in Pakistan are most favourable to move forward on this matter. The government has the necessary political space and mandate and has shown the will to move forward on this matter. Soon after Nawaz Sharif took office, he dispatched a special envoy to India to sound out the government there.

The Pakistan Army Chief also made a critical statement a few months ago, that the major threat to Pakistan is from the Taliban, and associated terrorists, rather than India. In his speech at the Military Academy, Kakul on Independence Day, he again dwelt at length on this threat and how Pakistan has no option but to meet it head on, hardly mentioning India in this context. 

But more importantly, if we look at the matter of Kashmir closely we see that the interests of Pakistan and India are surprisingly similar. Both India and Pakistan want to keep control over their parts of Kashmir and both have (hopefully) realised after three wars that they cannot get the other part.

Two major opinion surveys conducted on both sides of border in Kashmir over the period 2007-2010 have shown that less than 10% of the Muslim population of Indian Kashmir would like to join Pakistan. Likewise Pakistani Kashmiris do not want to join India.

Therefore, it seems time has moved on and the situation on the ground has changed since 1947. The Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir are not as keen to join Pakistan as the Azad Kashmiris are for them to do so.

Given these realities, Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmiris will lose control over Pakistani Kashmir and gain very little in return if an independent Kashmir were to be formed. It is therefore NOT in the interest of Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmiris to press for an independent Kashmir.

India has always been unwilling to consider an independent Kashmir as an option.

Since then even the Muslim Kashmiris in India do not want to join Pakistan, and the Pakistani Kashmiris do not want to join India, a division along the LoC, that is, a formalisation of the status quo is in the best interest of both India and Pakistan.

Now, Indian Muslim Kashmiris  want independence, essentially to get rid of the alleged Indian suppression there. The Indian government says that their military action in Kashmir is a consequence of Pakistani cross border incursions. If a settlement is reached between Indian and Pakistan, as above, it would also drastically reduce the support the Jihadi groups receive in Pakistan. This in turn will lead to a reduction of their activities, which will go a long way in ending the repression in occupied Kashmir and ensure the Kashmiri people live a more peaceful life.

Please note that agreement on these lines only formalises the de- facto situation on the ground and does not require any changes or further give and take which could result in a breaking point.

In view of the high payback possible from defusing this flashpoint between two nuclear armed countries, it is imperative that political leaders of both countries (with encouragement of the international community) spend the necessary political capital to come to an agreement. It may get them the Nobel Peace Prize if they do!

 

Dr Ali Hashim

Dr Ali Hashim

Dr Ali Hashim retired recently from the World Bank. He has extensive experience in Public Sector Management and has a PhD from the Imperial college of Science and Tech.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sa

    It is a naive approach as terrorism should not be linked with resolution of Kashmir dispute, Terrorism in Pakistan has independent and indigenous causes.Recommend

  • http://gmai manthak

    Yes, the only solution is to make LOC the official border between India – Pakistan. For this to happen aggressive activities at the border shall come to zero. Killing of 5 indian soldiers is viewed as misdeed by Pak Army. Even if that is not the case clearly Pak do not have control over what is happening in LOC, in such circimstances any dialogue is not possible where you do not know who is ruling Pak- the Govt, Army or Jehadis. Recommend

  • Indian

    Sir, Very balanced article. In my view Kashmir issue can be resolved to the satisfaction all three parties, namely, India, Pakistan, and Kashmiris through a peaceful dialogue in a right kind of atmosphere. During Vajpayee rule we came very close to resolving this issue, however, Kargil adventure of Musharraf spoiled it all. We can still resolve this issue if a right kind of atmosphere is created by Pakistan for dialogue. The atmosphere should be free from any kind of terror from Jihadi groups and there should be peace on the border. We need to bridge the trust deficit between the two countries first. I want to say that India is even ready to compromise its position to the satisfaction of Pakistanis and Kashmiris if Pakistani military abandons their hostile attitude towards us. Sky is the limit if both sides sincerely work towards peace. Incidents like Mumbai attacks or killing of soldiers only fuel anti-Pakistan sentiment in India. We must make sure that these kinds of things don’t happen again. We, the people of India, have a lot of affection for the people of Pakistan and we want to resolve all the disputes peacefully once and for all. Let us create a right kind of environment for the dialogue. I appeal to the Pakistani military to give peace a chance and stop supporting militancy in Kashmir. For at the end of the day it’s the Kashmirirs who suffer. I once again appeal everyone to resolve all the issues between India and Pakistan through a peaceful dialogue. Let us write a new chapter in India-Pakistan relations. Best Regards!Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    Pakistan and india should convert the loc into an international border with easy but well monitored access to people of j&k across the loc. The militants and politicians with vested interests will loose the only reason they want to misuse against india. When people of pakistan whose relatives live in india can survive all these years so can the kashmiris but atleast they will have easy monitored access to pok and Indian Kashmir. Rab rakhaRecommend

  • Mohammed

    The status quo is the problem and formalising it will do nothing resolve the dispute. The article overlooks a number of key points. The LOC artificially divides many areas which are culturally and ethnically linked such as Poonch, Neelam Kupwara, it is a ceasefire line not a border. Poonch was also the epicentre of the pro Pakistan anti maharaja uprising in 1948. The Indian military is not simply present in Kashmir to control cross border infiltration It is primarily there to keep hold of Kashmir by force because of indigenous grievances and movements against Indian rule. Pakistan has at times supported these groups but is by now means responsible for their creation. India’s refusal to honour its promises of a plebiscite, autocratic rule, human rights abuses and the rigging of the 1987 elections were responsible for the revolt against Indian rule.

    Until India recognises these root problems and gives Kashmiris their right to self determination as recognised by the UN there can be no durable solution. If as the author claims only 10% of Kashmiris on the Indian administered side want to join Pakistan only 2-3% (primarily Hindu’s in Jammu) want to remain in India. As this is the least popular option a solution is needed outside of the Indian constitution.

    I am certain if Kashmiris in Indian administered Kashmir were given the option of only joining India or Pakistan in line with UN resolutions…..many would rather join Pakistan. Many view independence as an ideal but some accept that it is unrealistic and unworkable and therefore would rather have autonomy within Pakistan than India. If you factor in Pakistani Kashmir, Pakistan would emerge as the most popular option which is why India refuses to adhere to its promises of a plebiscite.
    In my opinion the best out of the box solutions lies in the Chenab formula which transfers most of Jammu and the Hindu dominated to India and the rest to Pakistan with autonomy. This would allow India to save face and allow the Hindu inhabitants of the area to remain in India.Recommend

  • Kashmiri

    While I acknowledge the expertise of Dr. Ali Hashim, let me bring to his ( and other readers) notice as below:
    1. I clearly understand the wide international exposure and Patriotism of Dr. Ali in this article, but you are not only dealing with land on both sides of LOC. There are millions of souls living there. Give humanity a priority.
    2. We have sacrificed more than 0.15 million people to freedom struggle/ complete azadi from the forceful Indian rule and we will not hesitate more sacrifices if Pakistan does not value our struggle to complete sovereignty.
    3. We need our 2,22,236 Sq kilometers of land (United provinces of Kashmir) from India, Pakistan and China.
    4. Untill a single Kashmiri is alive, we will strive for complete freedom of every inch of our land from all oppressors be it Hindu India or Muslim Pakistan.

    I request both the countries to respect the aspirations of Kashmiris in all regions and let Kashmir go and prove you still have humanity left in you.Recommend

  • Water Bottle

    Most Indians will applaud this article.

    Most Pakistanis will take objection.

    This alone is enough to prove which country wants peace more and which country is expansionist.Recommend

  • Average Indian

    @[email protected], these arguments are non starters. We have been hearing them for last 65 years. In any case any contemplation between India and Pakistan is governed by Shimla agreement.

    We can endlessly stretch this jingoism with no change is status quo while sacrificing soldiers and civilians on both sides of the border or be pragmatic and convert LOC into international border.

    .

    So the only strategic solution possible for India is conversion of LOC into international boundary.Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    LOC as a border, with a permit to travel across border freely for native Kashmiris is possible in INdian side. That is what has been India pushing for. Is Pak ready for the deal?Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    I missed out one point. Those in Indian Kashmir should be allowed to go over to Pakistani side for good, if they choose to and accepted by Pakistan, before LOC becomes a border. If Punjab could be partitioned, Bengal could be partitioned, No reason why Kashmir cannot be settled amicably.Recommend

  • Water Bottle

    @Mohammed:

    “This would allow India to save face and allow the Hindu inhabitants of the area to remain in India.”

    You sure that it is India which needs saving face and not Pakistan?Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    Mohammed : Read the blog again.
    “Two major opinion surveys conducted on both sides of border in Kashmir over the period 2007-2010 have shown that less than 10% of the Muslim population of Indian Kashmir would like to join Pakistan”
    Even the recognized survey says only less than 10% of muslim, I repeat, muslim population of Indian kashmir wants to join Pakistan, That would be much less than 10%, if u include the pandits who were driven out.
    I am sure nobody would care for statments like “I am certain if Kashmiris in Indian administered Kashmir were given the option of only joining India or Pakistan in line with UN resolutions…..” than the surveys.
    You need to change with times.Recommend

  • Brookside

    @Mohammed: In my opinion the best out of the box solutions lies in the Chenab formula which transfers most of Jammu and the Hindu dominated to India and the rest to Pakistan with autonomy. This would allow India to save face and allow the Hindu inhabitants of the area to remain in India. Islam is second most practised religion in India with around 11% of total world population of muslims lives in India. If going by formula as you are suggesting what guarantee future hold that Pakistan will not fan sectarian division in some other muslim dominated area in India like its doing in Kashmir ? Your formula holds good only in case Pakistan is ready to accept 177,286,000 Indian muslims. I don’t think there is any other solution to Kashmir problem for Pakistan other than reconciling with the fact that Kashmir is part of India . Not only this will bring lasting peace but Pakistan will be able to save Balochistan and Sindh. Recommend

  • Mohammed

    @vasan:

    I think you missed my point. Agreed that the survey/blog ( discounting factors such as sample, methodology etc) stated that support for joining Pakistan was minimal amongst Muslims in Indian administered Kashmir. However it also stated that the people of Pakistani administered Kashmir wished to remain part of Pakistan. However the key point is that both parties continue to be united in two things. Their desire that any settlement takes into account the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants of the state in line with a plebiscite and their unanimous aversion to Indian rule in Kashmir.

    Pakistani Kashmir represents 35-40% of the historical state, factor in those in Indian Kashmir who wish to join Pakistan (Hurriyat Geelani etc) and moderate nationalists who would rather cut a deal with Pakistan than remain in India, than it is clear that overall the TREND of the majority of the people of the HISTORIC state of Kashmir is to remain/ join Pakistan. Agreed that Support for independence is also strong in some parts of the valley however support for remaining/joining India is virtually confined to Hindus and pundits who have fled to Jammu. (constitute no more than 10% of historic Kashmir).
    A plebiscite is the most accurate reflection of popular opinion and I believe that you need to accept ground realities/complexities within Kashmir instead of focusing on Pakistan.Recommend

  • Indian

    If Kashmir wants to be Independent country as the author says then it should be “Secular always” and not “Islamic” as in Pakistan and minorities should be treated properly and not as in Pakistan which seems to be unlikely. Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    It is a good suggestion but the Jihadi groups may not want to be put out of Business. Will only work if the Pakistani troops stop the Jihadi elements from infiltrating and causing trouble.Recommend

  • Babloo

    The LoC as border is the only solution that can be sold to India in a negotiated settlement. Any other solution involving exchange of territories will have to some after Pakistan wins a war against India. Pakistan has tried 3-4 times and those attempts have contributed to loss of East Pakistan in 1971 and Kargil district , which also changed hands in 1971 ( not the Kargil war ).Recommend

  • Introspect

    If Pakistan want’s solution for Kashmir then many be India wants solution for Baluchistan.Recommend

  • Critical

    I think the problem is even more deep rooted than just land..Lets recap the news over the past month

    1.India and Pakistan are trying to stage a dialogue.Then Indian soldiers are allegedly murdered by Pakistan army or Jihad.

    2.israel and Palestine begin talks. Rockets are fired from Gaza on Israeli settlements and Israeli soldiers who escorted the released Palestinian prisoners were pelted with stones..

    Honestly this is not the first time,an unprovoked attack has happened when these countries tried to establish peace

    There are vested groups in Muslim world who want to keep these issues burning so that they can radicalize a common muslim with pictures of dead Palestinian kids and indian army’s atrocities.. If peace is acheived,then these organizations will go out of business.. They will not recieve donations from Oil rich countries for their jihad…

    Unless the muslim world wakes up and realise how they are being used and fight for peace.These issues will never stop..Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Excellent article – amazing that this ends up in the blog section and Sanjay Kumar is found in the op-ed section. Anyway, the fact is that India will not give up Kashmir, and does not want PoK, Lok Sabha resolutions notwithstanding. The Kashmiris who are probably writing passionate comments committing the last drop of blood from everyone and their uncle are most likely sitting in the US or UK or in Pakistan. Most Indian Kashmiris want to get on with life. Ordinary Pakistanis can get worked up based on the most trivial “muslim” causes, but in reality the state only wants control over the rivers that flow through the region. I actually think that a vote with a choice between India or Pakistan would be ideal, even if held only in Indian Kashmir (this will not make me popular with my Indian friends, I know). However, we made a mistake during partition, which was in not sending across all those who voted for the Muslim League, which was a one-trick pony focused on partition – otherwise the League could not have won this many seats in United Provinces and Bihar; Surprisingly the Muslim population in these states is still around 20 per cent (only marginally lower than the 30% pre-independence) – which means that many of those who voted for the League but stayed back in India. This time, in case a choice is provided to Kashmiris to choose between India and Pakistan, there should be an open show of hands followed by distribution of free one-way tickets to those who vote based on religion.Recommend

  • Insaan

    Now, Indian Muslim Kashmiris want independence, essentially to get rid of the alleged Indian suppression there.

    Suppression is the result of constant terrorist activity by non-State actors from Pakistan. Kashmir is a part of India. Any Kashmiris who likes Pakistan should go to Pakistan and we can have Pakistani Shias and Ahmadis who are being terrorized in Pakistan come live in Kashmir.Recommend

  • Genesis

    Sensible and practical.Huge funds which could have been better utilised to reduce poverty and improve welfare has been frittered away on fruitless ideological positions.Let LOc be the final border and at some point of time in the future look at integrations like what happened between East and West Germany.Recommend

  • 3rdRockFromTheSun

    LoC turned into the IB is the only option. Let’s look at the options :

    Plebiscite : Never going to happen. And for those pushing for a UN plebiscite, the first condition is that Pak army withdraw out of ‘Kashmir’ which is present day ‘Azad Kashmir’, as well as those from mainland Pakistan who have settled in Azad Kashmir after 1947, also go back to where they came from. And most importantly, Pak govt request their Chinese friends to hand back the territory which they had ‘gifted’ to China. On the Indian side, it would mean all those Kashmiri Pandits who were driven out of the valley, be taken back in. On if all of these pre-conditions can be achieved, will a plebiscite be held by India (as per UN rules!!). Since these preconditions will never happen, forget about a plebiscite.

    Independence : Neither India, Pakistan or China will let an ‘independent’ Kashmir exist – in fact none of the sides will give up their part of Kashmir, as India (and Pakistan) will not let another partition of their lands happen, not matter what the reason. So this option is out too.

    LoC = IB : That is the third option, and the only option which is easily doable, as that would mean each country holds on to what it has. There is however a preconditon (or post condition rather) that is necessary – all sides must give up all efforts to take back from the others; that means no more ‘moral’, ‘chanda’ and other support provided by Pakistan to ‘freedom fighters’. India does not encourage separatist movements in Pakistan (not even Balochistan, depsite what most of Pak percieves). If Pakistan is unable / unwilling to do that; then there will never be peace there.Recommend

  • falcon101

    You failed to mention the number of kashmiries in the indian kashmir who want independence .The problem here is that by showing that only 10 % of kasmiri muslims want to join Pakistan you came to the conlusion that very few Kashmiris want independence form India or an independent Kashmir.Recommend

  • gp65

    “Until India recognises these root problems and gives Kashmiris their right to self determination as recognised by the UN there can be no durable solution”

    For plebiscite to occur, Pakistan first needs to withdraw its army from Gilgit Baltistan and the area that they call Azad Kashmir. This is a requirement of the UN resolution that you are referring to. Another requirement is to maintain the demography – so Pakistan would have to remove all the Punjabi settlers in both gilgit Baltistan and ‘Azad’ Kashmir. Third the plebiscite is supposed to occur over entire Kashmir, so Pakistan wil have to get an agreement from Chinese also to whom they handed over a part of Kashmir.

    Once all these conditions are fulfilled, plebiscite can take place.Recommend

  • Emirati

    @Water Bottle:
    Well Pakistan isn’t the one with only 40% control.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Kashmiri: We have sacrificed more than 0.15 million people to freedom struggle/ complete

    LOL, Just like Pakistan claims they have sacrificed 60,000 Pakistani Muslims in war on terror. Fact is most Pakistani and Kashmiris have been killed by Pakistani Muslims. Some Kashmiris may have been killed for working for ISI and creating problem in India.

    Kashmir is a part of India, as was decided by owner and elected representative of Kashmir when Pakistani army pretending to be tribals attacked Kashmir.Recommend

  • Anand

    A pragmatic idea. But if implemented on the ground what will happen to the Pak army budget? Also how are the assorted jihadis are going to be employed?Recommend

  • Shah

    The Kashmiris will still press forward for freedom from India regardless of what Pak and India think up. More than 95% of Kashmiris want freedom from India and this “possible” (and unlikely) solution does nothing to change that. It has already been stated that a solution in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris is the only way forward. Ignoring that is to be your peril. Two choices of Pakistan vs India. obviously Pakistan. No questions about it. Three choices of Pakistan, India, and Independence means the best solution meaning Valley, Chenab Valley and Neelam Valley going independent, AJK with Pakistan, GB with Pakistan, Ladakh with India, and Jammu-Kathua with India.Recommend

  • M. Emad

    As long as Pakistan Foreign Office situeated in GHQ, there is no solution to the Kashmir dispute.Recommend

  • Professor

    The Palestine issue has a good chance of being solved but the Kashmir issue will fester until one of the nations loses the capacity to continue with the covert war. It is a very complex problem that is obscured by lies and innuendos from both sides. I think the best you can hope for is a status quo along the lines of the India-China approach. This is one confrontation that will live on for centuries. Recommend

  • Raj Kafir

    Is there a solution to the Kashmir dispute?
    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Occupants please leave and go back from where you came.
    Does any one know the meaning of SRI NAGAR? Both are Sanskrit words meaning Mister City or Holy City. Claiming a claim on non Islamic holy lands is blasphemous.Recommend

  • mind control

    @Kashmiri:

    We have sacrificed more than 0.15 million people to freedom struggle/ complete azadi from the forceful Indian rule and we will not hesitate more sacrifices if Pakistan does not value our struggle to complete sovereignty.

    And how many of these ‘sacrifices’ were made by Kashmiris at the hands of ‘Liberators’ from across the border? The names of Abdul Ghani Lone and Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq immediately come to my mind, in this context. I am sure you can add many others, including Kashmiri Pandits to this list.

    And as all these are victims of ‘liberators’ from Pakistan, how do you expect Pakistan to ‘value’ these ‘sacrifices’?Recommend

  • mind control

    @Shah:

    Valley, Chenab Valley and Neelam Valley going independent, AJK with Pakistan, GB with Pakistan, Ladakh with India, and Jammu-Kathua with India.

    Are you sure about people of GB wanting to stay with Pakistan?

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-149434-The-sectarian-ghoul-in-Gilgit

    http://gbvm.org.pk/anatomy-of-sectarian-violence/Recommend

  • akhtar

    Indian and Pakistani,s you keep on repeating these stand points for centuries nothing will change until the creator of this problem loose interest by way of loss of business interest and influence they are wielding in both the countries through their agents ie the ruling class, this problem will never be solved and we the poor mondain will continue to suffer. The colonial ruler and their replacing super power very carefully planned it and took 200 years to creat a loyal class of local lords to rule you to further their interests through the much publicized curse of democracy. So far they are successful. They are controlling your countries from afar and make you wage war when they so wish. Long live GB and USA.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Indian:

    We can still resolve this issue if a right kind of atmosphere is created by Pakistan for dialogue. The atmosphere should be free from any kind of terror from Jihadi groups and there should be peace on the border.

    Why not you first correct your home; that your government and law enforcers do not make engineered and indigenous terror activities like attack on your parliament, Bombay attacks, Samjhota express burning etc. If you stop state terrorism against Muslims and Kasjhmiris the right atmosphere for dialogues shall be there.

    Please do not tell like other Indians that Bombay Attacks, Attack on your Parliament, Samjhota Express burning and many other such incidents targeting Muslims were by Jihadi groups from Pakistan. Your Govt. now has confessed that this was all planned and executed at your home.

    You can start with providing safety to passengers of Dosti Bus who commute between India and Pakistan on valid visas and by harnessing your Naridra Modi.Recommend

  • Sane

    @M. Emad:

    As long as Pakistan Foreign Office situeated in GHQ, there is no solution to the Kashmir dispute.

    As long as you have fanatics like Narindra Modi and Indian perpetrator who planned and executed attack on your parliament, Bombay attacks and Samjhota express burning. Don’t know how many other ‘plans’ are ready to surface. Till this not ends at your part there will be no peace not only in Kashmir but the whole region.Recommend

  • http://nazarbaaz.blogspot.com Kashif Ajmal Mali

    Sir resolutoin of Kashmir issue, only if it affiliates with pakistan, is not beneficial for India, in that case, PAK-China and Kashmir will become a bloc, supported by Russia, and empowering Iran which is not in the best benefits of Many other countries. Where if Kashmir issue resolves and it affiliates with India or operates alone but with the help of india, that is not in the benefit of Former bloc that I mentioned. The third scenario is again half division of Kashmir with few of its rivers going to Pakistan and few to India. Another solution for India would be to give 3 rivers to Pakistan, take control of Kashmir and and become the regional super power with the help of Japan. By the way, jehadis are after silk route, disclosure of plans between iran Pakistan pipeline, disruption of gwader port by terrorist organizations at one side and ttp at the other side, the ultimate reason is to dump Pakistan. But I would suggest India to give at least 3 rivers to Pakistan, take control of Kashmir, and meanwhile we should develop our gwader port, make use of coal and produce electricity. This way, the trade between ME and China will continue through silk rout. Recommend

  • mind control

    @Sane:

    As long as you have fanatics like Narindra Modi and Indian perpetrator who planned and executed attack on your parliament, Bombay attacks and Samjhota express burning. Don’t know how many other ‘plans’ are ready to surface. Till this not ends at your part there will be no peace not only in Kashmir but the whole region.

    In short it can be resolved only on the Day of Akhirat.

    Don’t be so Mayoos, Brother. Ghazwa-e-Hind is round the corner. Ask Hazrat Sir Zaid Hamid.Recommend

  • Sajad Malik

    So Dr. Ali provides us with a fantastic logic –

    1) Muslim Kashmiris (in Indian occupied Kashmir) do not want to join Pakistan, and India/Pak have common interests in occupying the parts of Kashmir they have illegally occupied. Hence, the occupation should continue.

    Rebuttal;-
    1) And what will happen sir, to the 17 resolutions in the United Nations asking for the plebiscite.
    Given, your understanding of the dispute and the total disregard of an institution like the United Nations, what would your views be on the conflict of Palestine?

    If status quo was the solution. What then is that the people of Kashmir have been fighting for since last 6 decades? What then is UNMOG waiting for in Kashmir?

    [Two major opinion surveys conducted on both sides of border in Kashmir over the period 2007-2010 have shown that less than 10% of the Muslim population of Indian Kashmir would like to join Pakistan]
    Rebuttal;-

    Shrewd lines, written to conceal truth much as any Indian journo turned strategist turned Kashmir expert would do. While less than 10% do not want to join Pakistan, how many Kashmiris do actually want to be free from both the countries is not mentioned {what is the hidden agenda to conceal this stark reality, that has been so conveniently ignored Dr?}

    True that the intellectual pieces like this of yours are not written while remembering how the youth of Kashmir have laid the lives for the cause of freedom, how the children in Kashmir were beaten to death…such “atrocities” are any way the “alleged atrocities” for your kind self; however how naïve of such intellectual pieces to ignore the possibility of Kashmiri youth taking to violent means to strive for freedom.

    [It may get them the Nobel Peace Prize if they do]

    Ofcourse, and why not…since the times Obama was conferred the prize, they have decided to put it on 70% discount…After Kashmir issue is solved (by a status quo’ist theory. the next peace award shall be awarded to Benjamin Netanyahu…or to Tzipi Livni, if you so wish sir)

    Keep well…they need you. Recommend

  • Sajad Malik

    @gp65:
    @mind control:
    Let you be generous as INDIANS normally are…just remove a million armed forces you have occupied..set the conditions for such a referendum.
    Beating this old drum will not make you a saint..You can not wrong a people, just because you say others have wronged you too. Get some life. Recommend

  • mind control

    @Sajad Malik:

    You can not wrong a people, just because you say others have wronged you too.

    Allow me to clarify your statement.

    You (Kasmiri Muslims wanting to become Pakistanis) can not wrong a people (Kashmiri Pundits) , just because you say others have wronged you too.

    Makes better sense now.

    Let us agree on letting Kashmir be for the Kashmiris , Pundits included, Article 370 of the Indian Constitution guarantees this.

    And let those interested in becoming Pakistanis, go to Pakistan.

    I am sure the bleeding hearts on the Azad side can accommodate their brothers from the Maqbooza side. Moreover, With the Mirpuris having abandoned Kashmir for UK, and the Shias of GB eliminated, there should be plenty of space

    This will take care of the ‘Human Angle’.

    However, if it is about ‘Territory’ then let us say, those who fought four wars for this and lost, should accept the reality.Recommend

  • Sajid

    “less than 10% of the Muslim population of Indian Kashmir would like to join Pakistan.”

    So all that has to be done to turn the LoC into a border (as per the suggestion of the author and all the Indians above) is for India to allow the Kashmiri people to decide which country they want to join. Such a simple solution, if only India wanted to resolve the issue peacefully.Recommend

  • Peter Pan

    Having read the comments stream here and in the published,OPed version of the article. I have the following observations:

    (a) A significant number of people consider the proposal made by the author to make the LOC the international border, realistic.
    (b) Some people raise the question of the will of the Kashmiris. Two points here, the author does mention that the Indian Muslim Kashmiris want independence from India, The Pakistani Kashmiris have shown no desire to become independent from Pakistan. They may go along with independence if an independent Kashmir is created. However the article argues that the interests and voice of the Pakistani Kashmiris, were it to be formed ( highly unlikely), would be less than what they have in Pakistan. So they may need to think about this.
    (c) Given that the Indian Muslim Kashmiris do not want to join Pakistan, takes Pakistan out of the equation from a purely national interest point of view and makes this a matter between India and Indian Kashmiris. In this situation Pakistan can sympathize with the muslim Kashmiris but can do very little other than this. This is identical to the case of the Indian Muslims. Why should Pakistan’s attitude in the case of the indian Kashmiris be any different from that of its atttitude towards the other Indian muslims?
    (d) The artcile makes the powerful point that in veiw of the sentiments of Indian muslim Kashmiris towarsd Pakistan it is NOT in the interest of Pakistan to press for an independent Kashmir. Note the author is not saying that this is the best deal that Pakistan can get, he is saying that this course of action namely division along the LOV IS in the best interest of Pakistan. So the proposal is not making any concessions to India.

    (e) To the group of people who talk about other altruistic sentiments etc. I would say that the sole determinant in the calculus of international politics is national interest. Foreign policies are made on the basis of real politik.Recommend

  • Pradhan

    @Mohammed:
    @Sajad Malik:

    you guys have mentioned UN Resolution. I would request you to read the resolution again.

    If you are not disputing that less then 10% of Jammu kashmir population want to join pakistan meaning one thing is sure that the majority of Jammu and kashmir including gilgit and POK is not going to be a part of Pakistan.
    UN resolution give two option to population of Jammu kashmir either Pakistan Or India.
    you guys also has talked about Plebiscite, if you read the resolution then you will understand that Pakistan need to vacate their army from the occupied territory and India was asked to reduce mililtary and deploy as much required for keeping the law and order situetion steady. So, to conduct plebiscite Pakistan need to vacate fro occupied territory and they need to take their relatives out of occupied territory whom they forced into occupied territory. Let me know if it is possible then only there is a point of discussing plebiscite.
    India have long understood how ridiculous is UN resolution which is practically not possible to implement. ofcourse we want development and peace in kashmir so, we agree to live with whatever is with us and ready to forget the part occupied by Pakistan. However, if pakistan aur even kashmiri think that India would allow another division of the country for this purpose then they are day dreaming.
    If you say thousand youth died in last 65 year then let me ask you what have they achieved ??

    So, I think we should grow up and start talking about LOC as boarder and now the discussion should be creating a plan through which kashmiri can visit their relative in either side without interfearing in either country’s politics. very matured article subtle and to the point.Recommend

  • http://LA Nero

    Dear author: You have put the only feasible solution on the table – convert LOC into international border. I would add (1) make that border porous with designated entry/exit points for native Kashmiris e.g. short term visa on entry within Kashmir alone. (2) give similar special status to both sides with parallel changes in India/Pakistan constitutions.

    But, I am not hopeful even the most basic solution will happen for atleast couple of decades. Reasons are there to see in many of the responses to the blog.

    Those who are talking about UN and plebiscite – The preconditions are beyond the capability of any Pakistani government. Further, the only two options suggested in UN are either Pakistan or India. The last comprehensive survey done (http://www.muntr.org/v4/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Kashmir.pdf) suggests that any of these options would leave almost 80% of population without any real choice. This is without even getting into why the internal politics of India and Pakistan would not allow for “complete independence” option. Recommend

  • Sane

    @mind control:

    We are waiting you must also wait for the ‘Day’.Recommend

  • MIR ALTAF

    I think,there is a solution to the Kashmir dispute only by fair elections.we have to see the interest of people of Kashmir.Recommend

  • Rajeev Kumar

    @Sa:

    Terrorism in Pakistan does not have purely indigenous causes. It also has Saudi causes. Islam is an Arab religion, not a South Asian one. Billions in funding for Wahhabi/Deobandi mosques and madrassas and massive indoctrination of Pakistani workers in the Gulf States has contributed to this just as much, if not more so than the ideology of Mullah Maududi and Zia ul Haq.

    But you are right that it has nothing to do with Kashmir. Zaid Hamid’s vision of Ghazwa e Hind shows the Pakistani flag over Delhi, not Srinagar, which BTW, like all cities in the subcontinent, was founded by Hindus and is a sacred part of India. I’d honestly be willing to give them another piece of Kashmir (excl. Jammu and Ladakh) if it would really bring peace. Its not like the jihadis are going to let the Pandits return home anyways, regardless of which country controls it. But in Islam, any concessions by an enemy are always interpreted as a sign of weakness, not magnanimity. The terrorism would never stop, and neither would the incessant demands for more territory. This is the ultimate reason for the continued hatred – cross-border terrorism and indoctrination in political Islam and the ideology of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rashid

    Sounds practical and sensible, taking into account the realities of geo politics.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Rajeev Kumar: Zaid Hamid’s vision of Ghazwa e Hind shows the Pakistani flag over Delhi, not Srinagar, which BTW, like all cities in the subcontinent, was founded by Hindus and is a sacred part of India.

    Is it the same Zaid Hamid who gets paid by the ISI? I recently saw a video of his personal secretary (on youtube) who claimed this guy has a plan to kill 21 people on the same day in Pakistan.Recommend