PM Imran's new Kashmir proposal highly troubling
Prime Minister Imran Khan a few days ago reiterated his proposal to give the Kashmiris the option for independence or remaining a part of Pakistan after they decide to accede to Pakistan in a plebiscite held under UN auspices. I find this statement highly troubling and not in the best interests of Pakistan for the following reasons:
1. UNSC resolutions on which our case for Kashmir rests do not mention the option of an independent Kashmir. The choice for the Kashmiris has to be between accession to either Pakistan or India. So IK is trying in a surreptitious manner to modify the resolutions and provide the third option of an independent Kashmir to the people of J&K.
2. Article 257 of our constitution does say that after the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the State will be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State. Once the people of J&K decide to accede to Pakistan, J&K would become part of Pakistan as other Princely States in British India became part of either India or Pakistan. The accession in all of those cases was legally and politically irreversible. No such State was subsequently allowed by either India or Pakistan to secede from the Federation. Why should there be a special rule for the State of J&K? In the case of J&K, the accession to India was conditional as indirectly recongnised by UNSC resolutions.
3. In any case it would be odd that one day the people of J&K decide voluntarily to join Pakistan, and then we give them subsequently the right to secede if they so choose. What is the compulsion on us to do so? Is it to serve the hidden agenda of some Western powers which wish to disconnect Pakistan’s strategically vital land link with China?
4. If the principle of secession subsequent to accession is acceptable in the case of J&K, why should it not be acceptable for other provinces of Pakistan like Balochistan? In my view, through the acceptance of the proposition made by PM Imran Khan, we will be opening the door for the dismemberment of Pakistan even if the plebiscite in J&K is not held because we would have accepted thereby the right of the provinces of Pakistan to secede from the Federation.
5. In my view article 257 of our constitution does not provide for the option of independence of J&K subsequent to accession to Pakistan. It merely provides for the determination of the level of autonomy of J&K within the Federation of Pakistan in accordance with the wishes of the people of J&K.
6. IK has every right to express his own or his party’s views on the subject if so authorised by it. But who has authorised him to modify Pakistan’s known position on J&K which previously did not provide for an independent Kashmir. This change can be brought about only after a national debate and a consensus on the subject in Parliament.