Letter: Proposals for peace in Kashmir

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your diagnosis of the Kashmir problem (leading article, 25 August), which proposes the division of the state along religious lines, would be a recipe for disaster. It would not only be a re-run of 1947 which claimed the lives of nearly half a million innocent people, but it would also put an end to the principle of secularism on which the federation of Indian states was formed.

The application of the principle of self-determination to the Kashmir Valley would bring about even more instability in the region. Having accepted this principle in Kashmir, you cannot deny the same right to the people of Sindh and Baluchistan who have persistently resented Pakistan's suzerainty. Pakistan may gain the Kashmir Valley, but it would certainly lose Sindh and Baluchistan.

The principle of self-determination is important, but it cannot be allowed to override other important factors such as regional stability, economic development and geo-political considerations. If Abraham Lincoln had accepted a plebiscite and allowed the secession of southern states, it is doubtful whether the balkanised America would have emerged as the icon of Western socio-economic development.

Yours sincerely,

O. P. SHABBI

London, NW7

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