DR. GHULAM NABI FAI Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singhs assertion that there can be no redrawing of borders in Jammu and Kashmir, and former Indian Supreme Court judge Saghir Ahmads recommendation to restore the autonomy to the extent possible need to be supplemented by some observations from the viewpoint of the people of Kashmir. These deserve to be borne in mind by all those who wish the conflict to be justly resolved once and for all. When the Kashmir dispute erupted in 1947-1948, the United States took the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the territory. The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on April 21, 1948 which was based on that unchallenged principle. So the issue in Kashmir is about the right of self-determination which was agreed upon by both India and Pakistan, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and accepted by the international community. The concept to convert the existing line of control into a permanent international boundary is a non-existent solution. Any such suggestion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Kashmir. One cannot imagine a better formula for sowing a minefield in South Asia that will lead them to a nuclear disaster. The people revolted against the status quo and status quo cannot be an answer? Also, Kashmiris wish to emphasise that their land is not a real estate which can be parcelled out between two disputants but the home of a nation with a compact and coherent history. No settlement of their status will hold unless it is explicitly based on the principles of self-determination and erases the so-called line of control, which is in reality the line of conflict. The idea of autonomy for Kashmir is an absolute fallacy. Here one has to rely on a provision of the Indian constitution. All constitutions of the world are subject to amendments and Indian constitution is no exception. If not now, in the foreseeable future, the Indian legislature can delete this provision in the constitution and the move will not even need a debate in Parliament. Secondly, Kashmiris have had the experience of a limited autonomy, which was first practised under a personal understanding between Prime Minister Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah and later provided for by Section 370 of the Indian constitution. Kashmir was granted autonomous powers over all sectors excluding communications, defence and foreign affairs. It was eroded and eventually whittled away by the forces of circumstances. My opinion was confirmed by a poll conducted jointly by major news outlets on August 12, 2007: CNN-IBN and Hindustan Times in India and two Pakistani newspapers. A majority of those polled in Kashmir Valley (87 percent to be precise) preferred freedom (Azadi). The Azadi means both the rejection of line of control into an international border and rejection of concept of autonomy. However, there is but one fair, just, legal, and moral solution to Kashmir which was provided by the UN. The procedures contemplated at early stage of the dispute at the UN for its solution may be varied in the light of changed circumstances but its underlying principle must be scrupulously observed if justice and rationality are not to be thrown overboard. The setting aside of the UN resolution is one thing; the discarding of the principle they embodies is altogether another. So the settlement has to be in accordance with the wishes of the people; impartially ascertained; in conditions of freedom from intimidation. With good faith by all parties common ground leading to a final settlement of the Kashmir tragedy can be discovered. An appointment of a special envoy by US President Barack Obama, like Bishop Desmond Tutu will hasten the way of peace and prosperity in the region of South Asia. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: gnfai2003@yahoo.com