Friday, 30 May 2008

Leave Kashmir alone

Leave Kashmir alone
Shabir Choudhry

Among many other things Nawaz Sharif was accused of spending huge amounts of money on too many foreign trips. Same allegation was made against Benazir Bhutto when she was ousted from the government.

There is a lot of truth in both allegations, but the new ruler, General Musharaff, is not doing badly at all. He took over on 13 October spent some days stabilising his rule, and within three weeks he has visited three countries. I am sure these trips are also costing money to Pakistani taxpayers. All the signs are that he is here to stay, and at this rate, if nothing else he can surely beat the records of foreign trips made by the previous two rulers of Pakistan.

I have no sympathy for either Nawaz sharif or Benazir Bhutto, as they both have plundered the country for personal gains, but I have sympathy for the people of Pakistan who have to pay for the blunders of their leaders.

I have sympathy for the Kashmiri people too; they also suffer because of the instability of Pakistani governments and follies of the Pakistani rulers. Each time a new government comes in, either it puts the Kashmir issue on the back burner, or it likes to experiment something new on the Kashmir issue; and each time the Freedom Movement suffers. This process has been going on for the past 52 years. We Kashmiris have put up with all this very patiently, but our patience is wearing thin. Our request to Pakistani rulers is, you have enough of your own problems, please sort them out, and leave us alone. On our own perhaps we could have done better.

People give example of East Timor and other nations who have won their right of self – determination, but they don’t realise that each one of them were asking for independence (not accession), and unlike Kashmir, each one was occupied by only one country. Kashmiris are very unlucky they have more than one occupier, and this makes the Kashmiri struggle different in nature and very difficult to resolve.

We request both India and Pakistan to solve their own problems and don’t make Kashmir a battleground to score points against each other. We don’t want to live with either of you, and if you any doubts why not hold a referendum, like in the East Timor, that the Kashmir people can give their verdict.

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