Importance of discussing PoK

On 21 Oct, TimeOfIndia brought out an article Google’s googly: PoK is shown as part of Pakistan! by Samiran Chakrawertti [ Friday, October 21, 2005 12:06:59 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ] showing how on Google Earth, the part of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan in 1947/48 has been shown as part of Pakistan (which legally, as per the instrument of accession and as per the Indian constitution) is a part of India. There were a large number of comments on this article – many expressed concern, many said others like BBC, CNN and all are doing this as well and many others said, "So what! Indians should realise the reality and stop crying hoarse about something that we lost more than 50 years ago". My concern is with this last group – and other Indians who might be thinking this way. The reality today is that most Indians want peace and see the only solution to the Kashmir imbroglio as accepting LoC to be the de-facto international border. The problem is that whenever India and Pakistan want to discuss Kashmir and the possible solutions to it, a number of solutions are cited. Pakistan wants to discuss the part of Kashmir which is under us while India wants LoC to be made into a border. Fine, we want LoC to be the border (and live happily ever after), but there are certain things important in negotiations and bargaining – you can’t begin with your last price. If we are ready to settle for LoC as the border (and for an Indian map with the left ear cut off), we must begin our negotiations higher. Instead of letting Pakistan set the agenda at all international fora, we must be the one setting the agenda. Pakistan discusses what it calls "Indian-occupied Kashmir" or "Indian-held Kashmir" or "held Kashmir" (never mind that hardly any development took place in the so-called Azad Kashmir – alas, no one will find that out now – oh! there was a lot of development…all got destroyed in the quake) while India discusses LoC and soft borders. If Indians want to see the LoC as the border, they must be passionate about discussing PoK (and the word "occupied" here is important). Discuss PoK, only then can we have LoC as the solution, otherwise we might stand to lose more! Note: I’m happy that we were always taught the complete map of India in Geography lessons (including PoK and Aksai Chin). We realise today what has been lost and stands to be lost. A few years of exposure to the Internet and international media (with PoK being shown under Pakistan and Aksai Chin under China or as a separate disputed land), and many Indians are saying, "so what…this is always the case in maps shown outside India"

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