No prospect of holding plebiscite on joining Pak or not in Kashmir: Academic

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London, May 30 (ANI): A British academic who conducted a survey in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and in Jammu and Kashmir with the help of three other institutions, has concluded that that there is no prospect of holding plebiscite on joining Pak or not in Kashmir.

Dr. Robert Bradnock, the author of the first-ever opinion poll conducted on both sides-in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir, said: "It does make it's seem that plebiscite is a dead idea. There is no prospect of holding a plebiscite around the questions of, do you want to join Pakistan, the original questions which could give you an answer that would be acceptable across Kashmir. But equally the question, do you want independence doesn't give a simple answer. So, I think the plebiscite idea is dead. It is clear that it doesn't support across Kashmir. For a plebiscite which gives you an answer to the problem," Dr. Bradnock said at a function in Buckinghamshire.

Titled "Kashmir: Paths to Peace", the survey of 3,700 people was released by the Chatham House think tank in London where Dr. Bradnock is an Associate Fellow.The survey was conducted by him with the help of Ipsos MORI, FACTS Worldwide and Aftab Associates Pvt Ltd.

The survey further said: "More people in the valley believed that an end to the militancy will help bring peace than in any of the districts. There's no belief that militancy can work or and there's a strong belief that an end to militancy will help people in the peace process".

The survey found that the "overwhelming majority" of residents want a solution to the dispute, even though there are no "simple fixes".

"We need to understand that this poll which interviewed nearly 4000 respondents on both sides of the LoC was asked a whole range of questions. When we came to the issue of what would you like to see on the political feature, we asked people if you were given a choice to vote tomorrow, which of the following options would you opt for, so they were invited and given the opportunity to vote for Pakistan, the whole of Kashmir to join Pakistan or the whole of Kashmir to join India or to be independent. And it was very striking that neither joining Pakistan nor the India joining options achieved majorities," Bradnock's survey said.

"Overwhelmingly on both sides of the LoC, unemployment was picked out as the number one issue and then as a series of other economically related issues - government corruptions was a big problem, particularly it should be said on the Indian side of the LoC. Over 60 % of the respondents listed government corruption as a major problem which Kashmiris face.

The opinion poll was conducted in all districts of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir except in Gilgit Baltistan due to the vast area.

The purpose of the poll was to establish current approach in Kashmir on both sides of the LoC to find alternative scenarios for the resolution of the conflict. By Cynthia Chandran (ANI)

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