By Mayed Ali
LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has ended all speculations vis-a-vis the future of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in particular and the entire Valley in general by unfolding his magical solution of holding on to the hope of a plebiscite in Kashmir followed by a referendum once a decision in favour of Pakistan is stamped. Interestingly, the entire narration with regard to the wonder plan for ending the sufferings of Kashmiris through the said UN resolutions didn’t have any mention of the people of the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). What the future and Pakistan hold for the real victims of the struggle? How would Pakistan reincarnate the mummies of those resolutions? With the Indian 2019 ingress, Pakistan has been drained of almost all options. It can continue trumpeting the cheap rhetoric of ‘effective diplomatic efforts’, launch an attack on India for liberating the IHK or make some sort of arrangement with the AJK, including the option of making it a province through a referendum. The last option was, perhaps, surfing the PM’s mind during the speech. He just couldn’t handle a denial amidst so many variables, requiring proper explanation. Since the PM wished to mitigate all rumours of his government’s desire to make the AJK a province of Pakistan, he snaked the argument between the historical facts of the region and the future prospects, keeping the status of the real flashpoint, the IHK, blurred. He could have simply thrown all rumours of making the AJK a part of Pakistan out of the window. The PM, rather, opened a half lid from the truth while mishmashing the legal, political and geographical impediments to the solution he was promising to the gathering.
The fact is the UN Resolutions warrant the evacuation of the Pakistani forces followed by the Indian forces. Once these initial steps taken, a plebiscite is to be held under the aegis of the UN, wherein the Kashmiris would decide their fate of joining Pakistan or India. Since then, however, many other solutions have been tossed such as the third option and making the LoC a permanent border. After the Indian annexation of the IHK, it seems an out of the box solution to make the LoC a permanent border is seen as a viable solution by the world’s movers and shakers. May be, Ms Maryam Nawaz had a clue to this notion, which she effectively exploited in her campaign. The PM, however, couldn’t play with words to keep the record straight. That is, the Pakistan government has no intent to make Kashmir a province. The chronology and the content of the speech, however, failed to remove the apprehension. It seemed as if this part of Kashmir was under discussion and had a promising future for the audience and the people of the AJK. That is, letting the Kashmiris on the west of the LoC and east of the Gilgit-Baltistan border decide whether they want to join Pakistan or India. Once the Kashmiris on the west side of the LoC would give the verdict, which the PM assumed will be obvious, the Pakistan government will hold a referendum on the AJK for ‘allowing’ them to roll the dice for choosing between a complete freedom or becoming a part of Pakistan.