The verdict in the referendum held in southern Sudan is not unexpected. Systematic propaganda of Western mass media over the past several years, on the alleged atrocities and human rights violations by the Sudanese military against militant groups operating in the largely Christian and non-Arab animist population of the region, the covert financial and military support provided to the insurgents, the diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions applied on Sudan, have all worked to encourage the people in the south to break away and forced the government to give in. Some years ago, a similar event occurred in Indonesia which had to cede a part of its territory, Eastern Timor, to become an independent state in a manner identical with Sudans example as it also had a large Christian population. In contrast with the events in Sudan and Indonesia, the stalemate in Kashmir and the resulting standoff between Pakistan and India on it continues. The pity is that the referendum mandated under the resolutions of the United Nations passed nearly 62 years ago to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiri people remain unimplemented. Kashmir is being illegally held by India through a brutal reign of terror of its occupying military force, in open defiance of the directives of the United Nations. And yet, the world conscience, despite its pretence to high morality and human sensibility, remains unmoved. In the meantime Kashmiri people who have been demanding freedom from the Indian stranglehold, continue to live in terror and suffer from the most brutal acts of repression in which house raids and mass arrests, torture, rape and murder in custody and in fake encounters are matters of daily occurrence. International mass media does not consider these events worth reporting and there is no demand from their side for a referendum in the Valley. The duplicity of world conscience and double standards of the worlds superpowers in their international dealings, especially when Islamic countries and Muslim communities are involved is indeed shameful. M. Zubair Farooqui, Karachi, January 21.