Wednesday, July 31, 2002

The Times of India, on Point?

Chidhu Rajghatta of the Times of India makes an interesting point in todays TOI with regards to American acknowledgement of elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Rajghatta suggests that American recognition of the elections in a territory that it considers to be disputed is significant because, elections add legitimacy to a state while at the same time possibly ridding the disputed status from the J and K. I don't know if Rajghatta is concluding all this, but that is what I think this could potentially mean.

"For a country that still says Jammu and Kashmir is "disputed territory," the US has gone way out on limb to push for elections in the state, to the extent of even sending officials to persuade the Hurriyat to take part in the exercise. In effect, if the moves fructify, it would virtually legitimise the status quo over J&K although publicly Washington says the elections would be a good first step to resolving the issue."

In fact, by linking the October elections in Pakistan to the polls in J&K and placing the burden of smooth conduct in both places on Islamabad, Washington appears to have irked Pakistan. "For us, having the election go off smoothly is an important step in moving towards non-violent resolution of the Kashmir problem," a state department official told TNN. "It will demonstrate the commitment of the Indian government to hold free and fair election, demonstrate the commitment of the Kashmiris to participate in a democratic exercise, and demonstrate the commitment of the Pakistanis to democracy."

So, is the case then, smooth elections in Kashmir in October is something that is not in the interest of Pakistan?


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