Dr Robert Bradnock survey. Kashmir – Paths to Peace, made headlines when it was made public in May 2010 in a seminar held at Chatham House, a prestigious British think tank . The survey was commissioned bt Dr Saif al Qadhafi and designed by Dr Bardnok and Lpsos Mori.
Dr Shabir Choudhry
Before analysing this important survey, first of its kind, it is important to point out that no survey could be absolutely accurate; and different people could reach different conclusions from the same data. It is also true that, at times, people administering or designing the survey want to confirm certain ideas or beliefs; and the data is used to support or negate those beliefs.
In my opinion, this survey was also conducted with certain preconceived ideas and to confirm and negate certain things; and suggest a certain course of action for the Kashmir dispute. We people of Jammu and Kashmir must be fully aware of this; and must not fall in the trap of those forces which want to divide our motherland, be it in name of trade, culture, ethnicity or religion.
My first point against this survey is that it has given us a new map, a map which has taken away Gilgit Baltistan from us. Gilgit Baltistan was not included in the survey and it was not included in the map.
Other areas which were not included in the survey were included in the map, and it was shown that these were not included in the survey. Why this was not done with Gilgit Baltistan?
Does it mean the powers that be, have already decided that in future Gilgit Baltistan will not be included in any discussions which might take place to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute?
The survey reveals that 44% of the people from the Pakistani side of Kashmir wanted independence, but this figure could have surpassed 50% mark if Neelam Valley was included in the survey, because this area has suffered enormously because of the militancy and infiltration. These people have seen the Pakistani rule, they have seen what militancy has to offer to them; and majority of them want independence.
Perhaps those who designed and commissioned the survey didn’t want a clear verdict from the people of this region. It is because of this they chose to leave this area out of the survey that they could declare people of Kashmir are indecisive.
The survey, once again confirms that overwhelming majority of people of the Valley are in favour of an independent Kashmir. The vote in favour of independence was as high as 95% in some districts.
To bring this very high percentage of vote in favour of independence down to acceptable or desired level, important pro-independence areas were deliberately left out of the survey; and all anti-independence areas were included in the survey.
Without any survey one can tell that areas of Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri, Poonch, Kargil and Leh are not pro-independence areas; yet all these areas were included in the survey and other militancy-hit and pro-independence areas like Doda, Pulwama and Kupwara were left out.
We know certain areas have pro-India majority, but it is surprising, rather shocking that in places like Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur and Kathua not a single person supported an independent Kashmir. Some of these areas have sizable Muslim minority; and I am personally in touch with many of them, and they fully support an independent Kashmir. It is very likely that those who ‘administered’ the survey only approached non-Muslims in the survey.
This strategy helped the designers of the survey and those who commissioned it to get the desired results; and assert that people of Jammu and Kashmir are divided and have not given a clear verdict in favour of any one option.
The survey wanted to establish that people opposed the status quo, but were overwhelmingly in favour of ‘Liberalised Line of Control’. What that means is no changes to boundaries by making ‘borders irrelevant’, as stated by Prime Minister of India, some officials of Pakistan including some think tanks and some influential leaders of the ‘International Community’.
‘Liberalised Line of Control’ will allow people and goods across the LOC freely without many restrictions; and the borders of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will remain same – as they are now. This means on one side of the LOC, Indian supported administration and the Indian army; and on the other side of the LOC, Pakistan supported administration and the Pakistan army.
Some kind of technical cover will be provided to make Gilgit Baltistan ‘legally’ part of Pakistan. Of course Chinese will retain whatever area of the State they have, either conquered or ‘gifted’ to them, as was the case with Shaksam Valley which was gifted to China by Pakistan in 1963.
I don’t know what method was used, but the option of ‘Liberalised Line of Control’ attained amazing support in the survey. From Kargil the survey showed 100% support for this option, Leh 81%; Srinagar 83%, Baramulla 81%, Anantnag 81%, Badgam 74%; Kathua 93%, Jammu 79%, Udhampur 66%, Rajouri 99% and Poonch 99%.
In Pakistani Administered Kashmir the support for this option was as follows: Muzaffarabad 95%, Sudanhoti 97%, Bagh 81%, Bhimber 87%, Mirpur 87%, Poonch 97% and Kotli 98%.
It looks the powers that be want to push the Kashmir dispute in favour of this option, because they don’t want to annoy India and Pakistan, as services and cooperation of both countries are required to advance certain agenda.
It is also interesting to note that 77% of people of Indian side of Kashmir believe that ‘an end to all militant violence in Kashmir will help to end the conflict over Kashmir’. It is also interesting that the highest support in favour of ‘an end to all militant violence’ came from the Valley, with Baramulla showing 91% support, Badgam 92%, Srinagar 84% and Anantnag 98% respectively.
Some areas of Pakistani Administered Kashmir also showed high support for this, for example, Bagh had 75% support and Mirpur had 72%. From this side of the LOC, Kotli showed the least support for this, 27%.
In Jammu province, Rajouri showed 0%, Poonch 3%, Jammu 64%, Udhampur 97% and Kathua 98% support. Kargil showed 81% and 87% support for this.
Pakistan claims that people of Jammu and Kashmir are eager to join Pakistan; and for this purpose they are giving sacrifices. We, Kashmiri nationalists, have always challenged this claim of Pakistan; and asserted that Pakistani governments, their agencies and their agents are deliberately misleading people. In this regard some Kashmiri people also help Pakistan to promote this viewpoint; and in return get appropriate rewards for their services.
We, people of Jammu and Kashmir State and people of Pakistan are also fed this propaganda that there is a widespread support for militancy and military solution among the people of Kashmir.
This survey has exposed both of these myths. It is has confirmed that only 2% people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to join Pakistan; and that made Pakistan ‘irrelevant’ in matters of Jammu and Kashmir despite being a ‘party’ to the dispute. It also showed that 77% of the people wanted militant violence to end.
This survey indicates how some interested parties want to resolve the Kashmir dispute. We people of Jammu and Kashmir have to get our act together and oppose division of the State. We must think as Kashmiris and must promote interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir State; and must not become tool of those who occupy us and exploit our resources.