India-Pakistan ‘reunification’? Why not a South Asian Union?

himal_southasia_south-up_mapThe respected retired Indian Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju at a recent function New Delhi said that “the only solution to the Kashmir issue is reunification of India and Pakistan under a strong, secular, modern minded government which does not tolerate religious fanaticism or bigotry and suppresses it with an iron hand.”

His argument for re-unification is that Pakistanis and Indians are one people, and that the basis of Partition “is the bogus two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations.” He elaborates his views in a blogpost titled  India and Pakistan : The Case for Reunification (and hats off to him for having the vision to actually run a blog, how many retired judges do that?).

What I believe we should be pushing for is a South Asian Union, along the lines of the EU, with soft borders, easy people-to-people contact, travel and trade etc.

I agree that Pakistan must be declared a secular state. This is something we in Pakistan are working towards (one initiative that I’m part of is called Forum for Secular Pakistan (of which the late Iqbal Haider was President).Agree that the ‘two-nation theory’ is bogus. I don’t accept it, and neither do many others in Pakistan. We speak against it at every chance we get.

However, this does not mean that Pakistan and India should be re-united. But suppose they are – what about Bangladesh?

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