Advani rejects Pak demand on J&K referendum
5 February 2003
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India
Singapore: Rejecting Pakistan's insistence on a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir, Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani on Wednesday said granting independence to people on religious, ethnic or regional lines would lead to disintegration of the country. 'There is no question of a referendum. If a referendum is given on ethnic, religious or regional lines....The consequences can be disintegration of the country,' he told a press conference winding up his three-day visit to the city- state. Hypothetically, he said, if both India and Pakistan decided to go for a referendum Pakistan would disintegrate with people in Sindh, Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province also demanding the same. In reply to a question, he also made it clear that New Delhi would not allow peace to be held hostage to the differences with Pakistan. The issue of tensions on the Indo-Bangladesh border also came up at the press conference and the Deputy Prime Minister asked Bangladesh to cooperate in reducing tension by taking back the illegal immigrants. Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir was 'historically, legally and constitutionally' a part of India, Advani said the people of Jammu and Kashmir had decided in 1947 to remain with India and representatives of the J& K Constituent Assembly had decided that they would go with India.