Since the disclosure that Government of Pakistan and Gilgit- Baltistan administration are in the process of exploring different options for changing the present status of GB, a lot of discussion is going on in the country on the merits and demerits of different options. The most critical aspect of the discussion relates to the implication of the change on Pakistan’s long established stance that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and its people should decide through a plebiscite under UN auspices whether they want to be part of India or Pakistan in accordance with the resolutions passed by UN Security Council. It is being emphasized in the discussion that the change must in no way negatively affect Pakistan’s long established stand or give India an excuse to strengthen its present stance that Jammu and Kashmir is part of India and that the UN resolutions have become obsolete or irrelevant.
I think it is time for Pakistan to take a courageous step that is also in line with its stated policy. It should approach UN for holding a plebiscite in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan under its auspices as the first step towards the implementation UN resolutions on Kashmir. It should fulfill all the requirements of the resolutions in letter and spirit and show to the world its bona fides. If Pakistan succeeds in this endeavor it would not only highlight the Kashmir issue, put more pressure on India, but also in case through the plebiscite people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan vote in favor of Pakistan there would be no legal hurdle left in their becoming province/provinces of Pakistan.