South Asia and Beyond

‘Pakistan Doesn’t Really Want Plebiscite On Kashmir’

NEW DELHI: Pakistan may continue to agitate about the ‘Kashmir issue’ but what is often overlooked is that key Pakistani figures have themselves disputed their claim on Kashmir. As former ambassador Dinkar P Srivastava points out in his recent book, Forgotten Kashmir: The Other Side of the Line of Control Islamabad’s uneasiness about Kashmir goes as far back as 1947. In an interview with StratNews Global’s Opinion Editor Ashwin Ahmad, Ambassador Srivastava states that Pakistan’s Major General Akbar Khan admitted that they masterminded the “trouble in J&K” in 1947 countering Islamabad’s official claims that what happened in Kashmir was an “indigenous uprising.” More telling is the demand for plebiscite. Srivastava contends that while Pakistan may continue to agitate for a plebiscite the two formal occasions that it was offered one, it backed out. Why? Because it feared that it might lose the territory it had gained as memories of the tribal invasion backed by Pakistan were still fresh in the minds of Kashmiris. These candid truths along with frank admissions by former Pakistani leaders such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that UN resolutions did not support Pakistan shows that however much Islamabad may agitate about Kashmir, the reality is different on the ground. PoK rarely enters the lexicon of mainstream Pakistani leaders. This along with poor living conditions and increasing Chinese domination in the area ensures that there is neither “azadi nor autonomy” in Pakistan’s so called ‘Azad Kashmir.’

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