January 2007 News

Norwegian expert suggests Pak-India condominium in Kashmir

31 January 2007
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: A Norwegian scholar has suggested the establishment of an India- Pakistan condominium in the Kashmir Valley, which is controlled by India, and in Muzaffarabad district in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, with the rest of the disputed territory being merged with the respective countries. Prof John Galtung, director of Transcend International, told an international conference here commemorating 100 years since Mahatma Gandhi began his struggle against British rule in the Indian subcontinent, that the joint political territory should have a high level of autonomy with open borders and free movement of men and material. The remarks by Galtung, who was chairing a session on Towards a nuclear weapon-free and non-violent world order, created a stir here, with Congress party leaders later seen talking to reporters to distancing themselves from the views of the Norwegian scholar, who is regarded as one of the top international experts on conflict resolution. Galtung said he had been involved in Kashmir affairs since 1972, when he first visited the disputed state at the invitation of the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. He was a visiting professor in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) at the time. Galtung said the aspirations of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh should be taken into consideration. He said the simple mathematics of self-determination would indicate that Ladakh and Jammu would prefer to be parts of India. The same was true for a major part of AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. He proposed an India- Pakistan condominium for the rest of the territory, comprising the Kashmir Valley and Muzaffarabad district of AJK. He said such a set- up would provide India and Pakistan a major challenge for creative co-management. Galtung said the borders of the territory should be open with free flow of persons and goods, but with residence and investment subject to rules and regulations. The residents in all parts might have passports with a double identity - if they so want for example mentioning both the Republic of India and Kashmir, he said, adding he had presented this solution to the governments of both India and Pakistan. He said India and Pakistan would have to reform their constitutions to accommodate states within their unions with double identities. The security of the territory would be guaranteed by both countries and sanctified by the UN Security Council and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.


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