by Farooq Ganderbali
The possibility that the oppressed population in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir takes up arms against Islamabad are increasing day-by-day. The Pakistani establishment would then have to open another front in POK, which otherwise is a peaceful area despite the presence of innumerable terrorist camps and other clandestine activities.
In such a scenario the violence in Kashmir Valley would abate, since Pakistan is likely to be caught up in a civil warlike situation in POK, with inadequate resources and time to manage cross-border militancy. In the light of the various drivers studied, it is inevitable to assume that the situation in the region will not improve as long as it is controlled by Pakistan.
Since the region legitimately belongs to India, people of the POK would be more than happy if New Delhi intervenes militarily to take back it from the illegal occupation of Pakistan. The case of POK’s reunion with India is argued on the basis of close cultural ties that people in this region share with the people in India. The Shias and Ismailis of Gilgit-Baltistan have close bonds with the Ladhakhis on this side of the Line of Control (LoC). Pakistan’s lack of faith in the local population strengthens India’s case for reclaiming the occupied territory
If POK is restored, it would be amalgamated into the state of Jammu and Kashmir and subjected to a similar status, which defines autonomy and equal treatment that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been accorded over the decades. In this scenario, it would no longer be possible for Pakistan to misuse the territory for clandestine activities and raising terror training camps there.
The entity would largely be free of violence. Assistance from the Union budget for the state of Jammu and Kashmir is usually the highest amongst the states in India on a per capita basis and this gives a fair chance to POK to gradually overcome decades of underdevelopment and miserable conditions of living. POK would be well integrated in the process of the economic development in India, which is expected to maintain at least 7 per cent growth rate even against the global recession.
India would in that case share the border with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan on one side and the Wakhan Corridor with Afghanistan. POK would prove India’s gateway to Central Asian markets, which could provide new vistas for the growing Indian economy. The Chinese aspire to access Gwadar port in Balochistan province as a bulwark against India. Gwadar port would also provide China opportunities to harness benefits of the sea-lanes there. China plans to build a railway line from Kashgar to Gwadar as a part of this strategy. These designs to besiege India would be automatically shelved once POK comes under India’s control.
by Farooq Ganderbali