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Who are the Kashmiri people? Self-identification as a vehicle for self-determination


  • J E Schwartzberg


Although self-determination is a right for all peoples, legally defining a people so that they can exercise that right is often difficult. So too is devising a means for establishing an optimal, politically viable governance system that will satisfy that right. In respect to the disputed erstwhile princely State of Jammu and Kashmir, whose independence neither India nor Pakistan will countenance, I suggest that those two powers agree instead to the establishment of a Kashmir Autonomous Region (KAR); that a People's Assembly be elected to enable population groups from all parts of Jammu and Kashmir to discuss various options for their future governance, within or outside the KAR; and that, following such discussions, a fair, internationally supervised plebiscite be held to determine which areas shall become part of the KAR and which shall be fully integrated into India and Pakistan. Thereby, those who consider themselves 'Kashmiris' would become a self-defined people. The KAR, could straddle the line separating Indian-held and Pakistani-held areas. While it would have a single government, India and Pakistan would maintain nominal sovereignty over the portions of the KAR on their respective sides of the line.

Suggested Citation

  • J E Schwartzberg, 1997. "Who are the Kashmiri people? Self-identification as a vehicle for self-determination," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(12), pages 2237-2256, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:29:y:1997:i:12:p:2237-2256

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