Albright for referendum

Former US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, on Saturday favoured a referendum or plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people of Kashmir, which she described as one of the “most dangerous and tragic places in the world.Rediff

This is a typical case of a blind application of a good principle on a naive oversimplified version of the real issue. So many things have changed since 1947 in Kashmir. The demographics is radically different – with the Pakistan-abetted influx of Pashtuns and Punjabis in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley. Two generations have grown up in distinct political units – India’s Jammu and Kashmir State, Pakistan’s Northern Areas and Pakistan-occupied ‘Azad’ Kashmir. As it is impossible to revert to the pre-1948 status, it is impossible to hold the plebiscite as originally promised by Nehru.

Albright should focus on spreading the message of democracy and the art of holding referenda to gauge the peoples’ wishes in other places. Why not start with US ‘allies’ in the war against terrorism? Certainly, what is good for the goose is good for the gander…Kashmir is the most dangerous and tragic place because of only one reason – Pakistan.