Another Look at our Kashmir Policy

Another Look at our Kashmir Policy

In the aftermath of the ravages caused by the Taliban and Kashmiri Jihadi groups within the country and across the border in India, over the last 20-25 years, there is a growing consensus in Pakistan that activities of these groups, if allowed to go unabated, could endanger the State’s very existence. There is an ongoing debate on the continued viability of key objectives of policy with regard to Kashmir and Afghanistan and more importantly the strategy adopted for their achievement.



With Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s party getting an overall majority, the recent statements by the Pakistan Army Chief that the real threat to Pakistan does not come from across the Indian border but from the Taliban and other militants groups within Pakistan, the civilian Pakistan government has the political power and space to come start meaningful discussions with India on the resolution of
the Kashmir dispute.



A key corner stone of Pakistan’s foreign policy has been that it strives to improve its diplomatic position and capacity to enforce United Nations resolutions that would enable the inhabitants of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise the right of self-determination. Inherent in this policy is the assumption that given a choice, the people of Jammu and Kashmir would want to, either
join with Pakistan, or establish themselves as a separate country which would be friendly towards Pakistan.


Much water has flown under the bridge and the ground realities have changed quite significantly since our Kashmir policy was first formulated. It may be time to test the underlying assumptions of this policy.



Both countries have hopefully realized after three wars that a military solution is not the answer. This leaves an independent Kashmir and division along the Line of control (LOC) as other possible options.



Over the period 2005- 2010 several attempts have been made to test opinion in Kashmir itself about attitudes to key issues in the dispute.

a) A survey conducted in August 2007 and sponsored by media groups, Indian Express –The Dawn- CNN-IBN showed that: “ 87% of the people in the Kashmir valley wanted independence. However, joining Pakistan figures nowhere as a first preference for Kashmiris and India is only
marginally better.”

b) Another survey conducted in May 2010 in Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir, taken on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) by Robert Braddock – an associate fellow at the Chatham House think-tank in London, showed that: “ opinions on an independent state of J&K were sharply divided by geographical distribution.


In the predominantly Muslim Kashmir Valley in Indian-administered Kashmir, the proportion in favor of independence ranged from 74%-95%. However, in the predominantly Hindu Jammu part of Indian-administered Kashmir, there was virtually no support for independence at all. This survey also indicated that If the movement across the LoC were to be fully liberalized, support for keeping the LoC rises dramatically to 85% overall.

In the Kashmir valley it rises to over 80% and in Pakistani-administered Kashmir to over 90%”.

c) An earlier survey reported by Dawn in April 2005 and conducted by a marketing research firm, Synovate India, showed that:




“Overwhelming opinion both within Indian Kashmir and outside in Indian metropolitan areas that it’s better to live ad – and 55% of respondents in Srinagar and Rajouri think the de facto position of the LoC as the effective border should be made de jure as well. Considering that the poll in J&K was restricted to Kashmiri Muslims, that’s a revealing reflection of the popular mood”.



It appears that the Kashmiris in Occupied Kashmir are not as keen to join Pakistan as the Azad Kashmiris are for them to do so. Over time, the interests of the people of Azad Kashmir have become different from those of their brethren on the other side of the border.



Furthermore, in view of the evolving political dynamics of the different groups within Occupied and Azad Kashmir and changes in the ethnic and religious mix of the population of Occupied Kashmir, the relative position and political voice of the Azad Kashmiris in an independent Kashmir may not be as important compared to what they enjoy in Azad Kashmir.



Given the low desire of the people of Occupied Kashmir wishing to join Pakistan and the uncertainty of the political disposition of an independent Kashmir vis -a- vis Pakistan and even Azad Kashmiris, one needs to ask the following question. Can it taken as a given that the relations between Pakistan and an independent Kashmir, were it to be created, would be as close as those between Pakistan and Azad Kashmir today? It seems that there is a high probability that while Pakistan and the Azad Kashmiris will lose control over Azad Kashmir, they may gain very little in return, in such a transaction.

If this realization gains ground within the Pakistan establishment, the Pakistani public and the Azad Kashmir population, it would drastically reduce the support the Jihadi groups receive in Pakistan.

This in turn will lead to a reduction of hostilities and activities across the border, which could go a long way in ending the repression in Occupied Kashmir and help the Kashmiri people live a more peaceful life. A new environment built on these principles will improve the chances of free cross border movement across the line of control which seems to be the desire of the Kashmiris on both sides of the border.


Please note that this change in policy can be implemented by Pakistan unilaterally since it is the interest of Pakistan and the people of Azad Kashmir. It does not require formal agreement with India. Needless to say this change will take time in view of the long history of acrimony between the two countries. It would require that serious measures are taken to stop the activities of the Jihadi groups , which have now taken on a life of their own. However, over time, such a change in policy will reduce the tensions on the eastern border.



India is already unwilling to consider an independent Kashmir as an option and Indian Kashmiris would settle for the status quo with easing of travel restrictions across the LOC.



It therefore suits both India and Pakistan and the Kashmiri populations on both sides of the borders that the status quo be formalized.



If the Pakistani and Indian leadership is able to sell these realities to their respective constituencies they may well become candidates for the next Nobel peace prize.



Let us give peace a chance for a change instead of engaging in jingoistic polemics.

Ali Hashim

A Ph.D. in Physics, from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, U.K and has also completed a post doctoral fellowship at the National Research Council of Canada

  • Anonymous

    Shrodinger ‘s Cat is the allegory for Kashmiris. Reference to enforcing the UN resolutions is farcical in historical sense considering:

    1) when India approached the UN for Kashmir issue, it was under non-binding Chapter Vi
    2) whatever moral force any UN non-binding resolution may have had, was totally eroded by the Simla agreement signed by Mrs Gandhi and Mr Bhutto, whereby Kashmir was made a bi-lateral issue…..basically, Pakistan pulled the rug fromunder the Kashmiris’ feet by signing Simla agreement.

    Just like the cat, no one bothered to ask the Kashmiris at the time and now hope by both sides today is that the cat is dead – the issue is whether to burn it or bury it!

    • M.Saeed

      But, Shrodinger ‘s examplory Cat is a mystery because it is dead and alive at the same time. Besides, Einstein had explained to Shrodinger that, a bundle of unstable gunpowder left for a while would develop tendencies of being in exploded and unexploded states.
      Similar tendencies are devoutly being developed and nurtured in Kashmir quagmire as well.

      • Anonymous

        Did anyone ask the Kashmiris whether they wanted to be in the proverbial box?! Today, the cat has more rights with the Animal Welfare groups ready to take Shrodinger to task for animal cruelty….

        Both sides ASSUME the Kashmiris consent that they are content and happy being in the box, as many comments in coming days may exhibit. Sheer heights of hypocricy on India and Pakistan’s part when they try and take te moral and legal high ground on the Kashmir issue.

        …and NASAH Sb, since the writer is a a physicist, we can extent te metaphor to Heisenberg (and his uncertainty principle).

        Raj ji – with respect you confirm what I have said above about assumptions.

  • Satyameva Jayate

    The article, sorry, blog, makes references to many pseudo or quasi surveys with questionable size and randomness of the samples.
    The most intensive, extensive and exhaustive study was done in 2010 by Mr. Bradnock for Chatham House of London. The study was inspired and supported by Dr. Saif al Islam al Qadhafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi, and PhD from London School of Economics. The study is entitled ‘Kashmir- Paths to Peace’, and is freely available online to general public.
    The study found the following about Indian Administered Jammu & Kashmir (J&K):
    ONLY 2% favour joining Pakistan.
    42 % favour Indepemdence.
    47% favour the Indian (unofficial) position: 28% favour Joining India, and 19% favour making LOC an International Border.

  • M.Saeed

    Yes, every Indo-Pak issue should be settled bilaterally according to the essence of “Simla Agreement” but, “Jiss ke lathi us ki bhaiNs” attitude of lathi wielder makes a wholesale nonsense of the Agreement.

  • M.Saeed

    I agree about the borders being made irrelevant but, Independence from British Raj was as well an Utopia for good 90 years!

    Let us move in phases gaining time to see emergence of better minds to take the controlling saddles and settle matters for good.

  • Mail Me

    Musharraf Formula means disaster. Borders can not become irrelevant. The only viable solution lies in making LoC international border allowing ease of travel to Kashmiris from both sides. If Punjab and Bengal can be divided, why not J &K ? and we are living with this division for past 60 years.
    Independence of J & K is out of question, forget India or Pakistan, even China will not accept creation of a land-locked country that will attract superpowers like vultures are attracted to a dead animal. India Pakistan do not enjoy the trust required for joint management. So the only solution can be found around making LoC international border.
    All the talk of right of self-determination of Kashmiris is the biggest intellectual mischief. Roughly 1/3rd of population of both, India and Pakistan, live below poverty line does anyone really cares ? why so much noise on this cosmetic and fashionable term when hardly anyone who will vote understands the definition of a state ?

  • Anonymous

    “… interest of Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmiris”

    With respect Hashim Sb, this is personification of selfishness – it beggars belief that solutions are being proposed by intelligent commentators based on interests of one side or the other but not of the actual people most affected.

    If legal AND moral legitimacy could have been derived from legal surveys alone (no matter how reliable) there would be no need for general elections in any democracy anywhere.

    About time both India and Pakistan came clean about the fiasco that is Kashmir – i.e. Kashmir – its land and people are chattel, to be squatted, swatted and/ or sold again and again – now for its strategic resources. Pani, Pani, Pani…….

    First and foremost, Kashmiris themselves HAVE to be made part of the dispute resolution process and Kashmiris’ wishes MUST be recorded in a transparent manner – call it refrendum, plebicite or whatever. Else if a dubious legal arrangement on its own is sufficient then India should help Pakistan to revert to pre-1971 position with revival of East Pakistan on the map!

    • Raj Chouhan

      Qalim ji,

      You have stated ” First and foremost, Kashmiris themselves HAVE to be made part of the dispute resolution process and Kashmiris’ wishes MUST be recorded in a transparent manner – call it refrendum, plebicite or whatever. Else if a dubious legal arrangement on its own is sufficient then India should help Pakistan to revert to pre-1971 position with revival of East Pakistan on the map!” Sir, with due respect may I ask why Kashmiris only why not Baluchs, Pakhtoons, Sindhis, Punjabis, Rajasthanis, Haryanvis,Gujaratis, Tamils, Marathas, Belgalis etc etc. There should again be referendum/plebiscite in each and every corner of the cities and Mohallas from the far eastern corner of East United India to far West of United India and should ask them again in transparent manner there wishes where and to whom they want to accede or want to remain independent and make thousands of pieces of united India. Else if a dubious legal arrangement on its own is sufficient then India should should revert to pre-1947 position with revival of GREAT UNITED INDIA” on the map.

      • Anonymous

        Raj ji

        I’d rather you respect the Kashmiris’ rights then extend any respect towards me. You know well that regardless of any difference of opinion you and I may have about the causes of partition, it was a hastily planned and poorly executed program with littke consideration about the status of independent states. Kashmir and Hyderabad Deccan, the most affected interms of the policy basis of partition.

        If you think that holding refrenda/plebicite in provinces of India or Pakistan brings more stabilty then by all means go ahead.

        You are an intelligent person and trying to equate legal/moral/political status of Kashmir issue with that is facetious, knowing well that Kashmir is not a province of India and the Constitution itself accords a special status to Kashmir. If you seriouly believe that majority of Kashmiris favour integration within India then a plebicite there would provide the legal/moral/political basis for your arguments with the consent and harmony between the governed nd the governors. It would enhance India’s standing and you will have felicitations from the ‘core of my heart’ as you put it.

        As for your last line, Partition’s legal and political standing cannot be equated with the dubious arrangements of what went on in Kashmir post partitions. If you want to bend history to selectively to aid your argument, I will obviously not make sense. India aided the Bengalis’ rights in 1971, Kashmir needs to go through the same phase, and I expect at some stage in the future there may well be a GREAT UNITED INDIA back on the map provided the issues which led to partition in the first place, are no longer issues – a kind of confederation of all the provinces – like Europe. In tge interim two wrongs don’t make a right (except in Algebra with its two negatives making a plus!)

      • Anonymous

        Raj ji

        I don’t think you read me correctly….Pakistan and India both treat Kashmir as chattel (please read all my comments before concluding that some how they favour Pakistan’s position on Kashmir – or will they only get attention if I place my MD/PhD in my title too!).

        And rights of the 120 Crores of Indians (or Pakistanis or any one else) do not include taking over other free peoples’ rights by force as that is not what will keep India (or Pakistan) united. Remember Soviet Union was a great power once – not too long ago! By the way one does not have to wait for others to do right – if you believe in a conscience!!!!!!

        • Raj Chouhan

          Respected Qalim ji,

          You are one of them in this blog for whom I have great regards in my heart. I always try to read not few but all of your comments in this blog and enjoy. There is no need for you for highlighting your degrees, i can bet you are among those who do not need any introduction. Sir, may be i could not have understood you comments, i regret for it.

          Qalim ji, Kashmir is very sensitive issue as both India and Pakistan have suffered a lot for it. We have to move forward from the place where we are and not again to go back to 70 Yrs back and restart from there. And, at any cost no body would ever agree from both the countries to start again from 1947. Now, all of we three have to compromise by giving and taking formula which may bring peace to this region, rigid stance from any of us would never bring the peace. BTW, who is losing most by this unrest? It is only common and innocent people from both sides. Therefore, the formula suggested by the writer and second by DR. NASAH appears to me the only solution, as far as I understand both the Govts. are moving on this direction only.

          Regarding, the breaking of USSR the western powers were against USSR and supported it but in this case none of the countries of the world including CHINA and excluding only Pakistan want to see another Islamic country which may become another headache for this region and world.

          • Anonymous

            Raj ji

            Kashmiris are no Salafi/Wahabis as you know well – and its not about an Islamic/Buddist/Hindu/Sikh country – its the principle of right to self determenation.

          • Anonymous

            Raj ji
            You state, “Pl. Qalim ji do not by pass my queries requested above, you are a learned man, may be it can satisfy my curiosity and could convince me to change my views. And please be fare while answering me.”

            You will need to take of the flawed googles of nationalism before you see the point of principle. Here your argument is that just because Pakistan has done wrong, India must do wrong too and she must not do tge right thing until Pakistan does so. Obviously I cannot convince you with any reasonable argument or logic.

            Saeed Sb has touched upon some of the background to states at the time of partition, in his posts here – you first need to understand how India’s Consitution treats Kashmir, and why (uniquely). If you have read my previous posts then you will know that I am critical of the way Pakistan has managed Kashmir under her control, and Kashmir issue overall, but even if they had done a better job, I would still maintain that both India and Pakistan have to follow the principle of Kashmiris’ right to make a choice for themslves what is in their best interests as they were not part of the partition process and did not have any say in the matter at the time.

            As for your queries about the provinces, by all means go through the process if you think it makes your argument stronger (even if no legal basis exists for your argument considering the partition mandate) – but beware that provinces within India will demand that right too eventually.

            I think you need to study more about the so called muhajir phenomenon after 66 years and refrain from making a judgement that they are being treated as third rate until you have had more information about this. We can discuss this on another more relevant blog.

          • M.Saeed

            —-but, India then was the bosom friends with USSR sporting the top-most of Russian armory?


    My apology to you Dr. Ali Hashim — I don’t like the Peter Pan character — nothing to do with you. I agree with you on Kashmir solution — it needs to be resolved and this is the only formula that may.

  • M.Saeed

    Raj ji don’t forget that Afghan Mujahideen had snatched the biggest lathi ever made right from the invincible jaws of the polar bear empty-handed!
    Besides, you have not read the essence of my posts which is very much in your favour. I am not saying anyone to follow Mujahideen example.

  • M.Saeed

    Raj ji, umpteen times I have mentioned the dirty, filthy unprintable language printed (in news comments) by all Indian papers, including TOI and Hindustan Times about anything related to Pakistan, Muslims or Islam. Even a casual reference to these top papers would prove that, they are far more blasphemous than the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten causing untold harm to Muslim sentiments the world over.

    • Raj Chouhan

      Saeed ji,

      I did not expect such justification from a man of your stature, wrong is wrong whether you do or we. We are here in this blog and not in others as you have mentioned. I am sure some of us are here in this blog from the last many years only due to its standard of maintaining some decorum for which I have many times in my comments praised this GEO Blog. BTW, I have never found any of Indian making any derogatory remarks against Muslims in general or Islam in particular in this blog. Any how, if you think otherwise then it is up to you and your conscious.

      • M.Saeed

        Raj ji, truth really hurts!
        I can never believe that, being a literate Indian you are unaware from your own experience of what I have stated in my post above.
        Last time when I wrote a rejoinder to you on the same subject, you had craftily implored me to give examples maintaining that no Indian to your knowledge had ever written any derogatory, insulting and desecrating remarks in Indian papers about Pakistan, Islam or Muslims. But, I would never be tempted by your enticements to step into the sea of on obnoxious filth to gather and reproduce it here.

  • M.Saeed

    That of course is the most sensible solution but, first we must disengage from the senseless tug-of-war, disband the tie-rope and allow senses to prevail before sitting together to see the light in Musharraf-Singh formula.
    Incidentally, that is what I call moving in phases. My contention is, make the borders irrelevant first to unite the ‘people of two un-naturally divided parts of Kashmir’, allow them to sit and discuss matters without any supervising horror-eyes followed by some tension-free time of peace that should also bring in the new breed politicians to evolve and take charge without pre-charged high-tension chords to spark.
    One step at a time makes the the climb possible while high-hops cause neck-breaks.

  • Anonymous

    Hashim Sb

    No altruism here but anticipation of a sustainable and enduring stability which the ‘cold calculus of international politics national interest’ on its own cannot provide. I do not expect Kashmiris of the Valley to join Pakistan or effects of the Kashmiris’ decisions on India or Pakistan and my logic is not based on that premise but the right of self determination of the people.

    Perhaps we should do away with the facade that is the UN with its toothless presence – a talking shop for the permanent members to promote their own vested interests, or to double the permanent membership of the SC to include India too!

    Ultimately, the necessity of Kashmiri input in all this will dawn on both India and Pakistan. Incindentally, Omar Abdullah is no ‘Lion of Kashmir cub’ and perhaps excess expections are misplaced in his persona.

  • Anonymous

    Easy Raj ji – you are falling to the same level as Aga Majid by betryaing your own jingoistic thoughts here!

  • Anonymous

    Raj ji

    Unbiased or presumptuous?! – party A promises and cedes to Party B the rights of Party C (or vice versa) without C’s consent. Whould you still maintain your view if NASAH Sb snd Hashim Sb suggested to you that like Pakistan, India too should not interfere with the rights of Kashmiris?

  • M.Saeed

    Kashmir and Palestine are two identical parallel issues bedeviling the entire Muslim World and anti-Muslim/Islam forces are the architects of the engineered turmoils. Equally, frustrations caused and created are founding basic parts of their neferious plan.

    To be a winner, one must base the fight-plan on irrefutable facts. Therefore, any survey conducted in the so called and claimed “Indian Atoot Ang” during the trying situation in Pakistan would be grossly lopsided and misguiding. But still, faithless in their own surveys, Indians would never agree to test their “Atoot Ang” at the hands of Kashmiris in any plebiscite or referendum, even under the auspices of the UN or other International bodies because, they know well that, the force of the Kashmiri’s Faith might make them change minds overnight when given to choose between Indian and Pakistanis for friends.
    Presently I am of the view that, the best course would be to agree on some ‘moratorium’ and concentrate in creating better conducive atmosphere for addressing the issue at an opportune time.

  • Anonymous

    Hashmi Sb

    Are you serious when you state, “As a matter of fact, ignorant Kashmiris are not aware what is in their best interest.” Hashim Sb is right in so far as the majority of valley’s Kashmiris not choosing an alliance with Pakistan in a free plebicite.

  • M.Saeed

    Hashmi Sb, we are treading the wrong course. It needs to be appreciated that:
    1) All princely states were given rights at the time of Partition to opt their allegiance with Pakistan or India, for which a deadline was fixed by the British Empire and Nawabs/Maharajas/Rulers were required to submit their allegiance letters in person to the Viceroy of India, before the due date.

    2) Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan, who initially suggested to the British to make Hyderabad an Independent “South Pakistan”, but on refusal had reluctantly opted to accede to Pakistan. But, the Indian government invaded and captured Hyderabad [operation polo] in 1948 as they refused to accept another Muslim state in the heart of India.

    3) Nawab Mahabat Khanji of Junagadh & Manavadar after discussing the issue in his State Council, had accordingly decided on 15th August, 1947 and opted accession to Pakistan. But, the Indian forces had annexed the state, first by force in September1947, then conducted a spurious referendum in Feb. !948, in its favour. Therefore, India had decided the two issues on what it calls “the popular will of the majority of people of those states (80%Hindus).
    4) Based upon the same principle of (80%Muslims), when Pakistan decided to follow the same course in Kashmir, the bigger might of India barricaded the majority will of Kashmiris.
    Now, there are two clear cases of what India did in two Hindu Majority but Muslim rulers’ states while Pakistan did not object, respecting the popular will of people (democracy) but, when Pakistan tried to get the same treatment from India in Kashmir, Indian ruthless hegemony against the democratic right of Kashmiris prevailed and continue to do so up till today.
    Reasons for these failures are failures of our:
    a) Kashmir policy,
    b) Foreign Policy,
    c) Human Rights Policy,
    d) Political lack of will of our ruling cliques and more importantly,
    e) Failure of our leaders in address the issues by not making cases based upon the most glaring examples and precedents established by India itself, few of which have been listed above..
    There are other examples of failures, such as in settling the refugees and evacuee properties, division of water resources under Indus Treaty, Illegal diversions of waters from Pakistani share of rivers etc, to count a few.

  • M.Saeed

    Raj ji: Fire in your second sentence annihilates the essence of the respectable first!
    I am beginning to see the shutters being lifted on Raj ji of Aman ki Asha galore!
    Otherwise, you could have avoided “—few hundreds misguided instigated youths and that also from valley only Vs 120 Crore ready to die Indians with whole world backing except one”.
    More over, I have serious reservations about your figure of “120 million ready to die” Indians. You are forgetting 230 million “Pro-Congress and anti Modi” Muslims and another 800 million “Hard Core”Dalits and other minorities at logger-head with the “Ruling high-breed” Hindus!
    Now, these are hard facts well known to Indian media and let us not unmask these unrelated burning issues not in context of this forum.
    P.S. I know your obvious reaction to 230 million, but this the figure I gathered from the the web-sites of prominent organizations of Indian Muslims.

  • Anonymous

    khamithe gur tI khaman cha gunI
    yathn push tathn dush

  • M.Saeed

    Baig is a typical Timurid surname.
    A person having Turko-Timurid lineage cannot be a friend to any Chouhan. if you remember history well, Prithviraj Chouhan was defeated by by Ghouri and laid the foundation of Turko-Timurid Muslim rule in India. Therefore, Chouhans carry the deepest scars of humiliation and if thorough-bred, a Chouhan can never be friends with Baigs. Likewise, the other way round for real Baigs.
    If this equation is not understood and accepted, than all Hindus could equally be friends with all Muslims of the world.
    Conclusion: Our friend posing as M.M.A. Baig with only two posts here, is a dubious character.

  • M.Saeed

    Muhajir is not a bad word for Muslims because our Prophet (PBUH) was also a Muhajir and Islamic calendar is based upon that event of Hijarat.

    About the fraudulent Muhajirs of Karachi, you need to see several of my posts on the subject here on this site. But, it should suffice to repeat that, out of over 11,000,000 million displaced persons (real Mohajirs) of Partition, only 300,000 settled in Karachi while the rest mostly settled in Punjab. And, there is a wonderful example in Muslims called “Ansar” meaning those who accept from depth of their hearts displaced Muslims as their kins, offering all sorts of sacrifices, following the example of our Prophet (PBUH)

  • M.Saeed

    Raj Ji, also have a look at my reply to “M.M.A Baig”!