GILGIT: In a recent free and transparent referendum the people of Scotland in a 55 to 45 margin decided to remain part of England. Scotland was an independent country till 1707 when it was merged into Britain. It happened in such a way that some people in England wooed the people of Scotland by luring them to join Britain even by promising them to give them a territory in America where there were goldmines everywhere. At last the ruling class of Scotland agreed to join Britain and they were also allotted an area with coalmines in America. But till today the country remains part on England. In the recent elections, nationalist parties made sweeping victory in Scotland and demanded that UK should give freedom to their country after holding a referendum. Though it was a very difficult decision the prime minister of UK, David Cameron agreed to hold a referendum in Scotland.
The demand and the approval of the referendum were made and accepted without any protest, sit-ins or use of force and had the Scots decided to break away the UK would have further shrunk in terms of its territory, population and resources. More importantly, the nuclear installations of Britain are located in Scotland and in case of its independence it would have slipped out of its hands.
So in such a moment when its own national interest and integrity were at stake UK respected the democratic demand of the Scots and gave the a chance to speak out and decide their future. Though the British government tried its best to woo the Scots to remain in the UK by promising them more rights it never tried to use force to silence their voice and even Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar asked the 20000 Pakistanis in Scotland to vote for UK.
But at the end the Scots nationalists also accepted the outcome and were satisfied that at least their people were given the right of a referendum.
It may be noted that at least 30 countries in the world have won freedom through referendums so far. The latest cases were the freedom given to East Timore and South Sudan through referendum. But on the other hand, there is the unfortunate case of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan where the people are still deprived of their rights to self-determination despite the fact that the UN had passed resolutions over six decades ago. India and Pakistan have occupied parts of the region and have become a stumbling block in holding the referendum and the UN has no gut to forcibly hold the referendum to give the basic right to the people of the region. But the international scenario is changing fast and the downtrodden people of the region are getting more awareness of their rights and in the global village no nation can be kept subjugated and enslaved.