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Pakistan Occupied Kashmir: The ugly truth

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a big public gathering in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), on September 13 to show solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In the small town of Muzaffarabad, which was overrun by Pakistani irregulars in October 1947 and has been controlled by Islamabad ever since, Mr Khan has vowed to give a false sense of support  to the Kashmiris’.

Brutality on Balochistan

The people of Balochistan, who seek independence from Pakistan, have time and again raised the issue of their “annihilation” by the Pakistani forces. But Pakistan wants to hide the gross human rights violations they are doing in Balochistan by diverting the world’s attention towards Kashmir. With what face does Pakistan want to support Kashmir when the world is already aware of the appalling human rights violations they have been doing to the Baloch people.

Pakistani Army continues to torture people and carry out operations in Balochistan, which has also lead to a massive increase in the number of enforced disappearances across the region. All pieces of evidence from human rights defenders inside Pakistan and international human rights organisations, show repeated stories of brutality, abductions, disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings carried out by the Pakistani state and military agencies. Not only that, Islamabad faces charges of funding, aiding and colluding with terrorists within its own state and exporting terror abroad.

Antagonistic attitude towards Gilgit-Baltistan

Perhaps Mr Khan has forgotten after what Pakistan has done by changing the status of Gilgit-baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK), how can it raise a finger at India?

Interestingly, while Pakistan lays claim to the territories of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, legally, its constitution does not recognize them as parts of the country. Its constitution talks about a future date when the people of Jammu and Kashmir may decide to accede to it but there is no recognition to Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK, which are legally parts of India, according to the Instrument of Accession.

At the time of partition of India in 1947, the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir consisted of five regions and Gilgit-Baltistan was a part of Jammu and Kashmir at that time.

In 1935, the British had had taken Gilgit Agency on a lease of 60 years from the Jammu and Kashmir maharaja. Before exiting India, the British cancelled the lease and handed back the region to the maharaja.

Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) – a portion of the Kashmir Valley that Pakistan captured in 1947 and has held since 1949 ceasefire – remained a single unit till 1970.

Pakistan had been facing difficulties in governing Gilgit-Baltistan, which was a multi-lingual Shia-dominated region unlike Sunni and Punjabi-dominated Pakistan. Following the humiliation in the 1971 war, Pakistan carved out a separate region of Gilgit-Baltistan, renamed it as Northern Territory and placed it under direct rule of the federal government.

In 1974, Pakistan notified a rule overriding the 1927 law promulgated by the maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir that denied property ownership to outsiders. Having done away with the legal barrier, Pakistan has pushed Sunni settlements in Shia-dominated Gilgit-Baltistan. Islamabad has also been systematically suppressing the people of the region who are mostly Shias and are facing an influx of Sunni population from other parts of Pakistan. This has led to increasing sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis as the Shias felt threatened by the large influx of Sunnis from other provinces, particularly from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistan has been globally accused of changing the demography of the region in the years following the abolishing of the State Subject Rule in 1984.

Gilgit-Baltistan, currently a part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir,is neither a province nor a state and has a semi-provincial status. However, nearly seven decades of Pakistan’s illegal occupation has pushed Gilgit-Baltistan — once an economically thriving region — into the most neglected, backward and poorest area in entire South Asia

China’s Interest

Under an agreement reached between Pakistan and China in 1963, Pakistan handed over 5,180 square km of the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan to China. China has shown great interest in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan as it has undertaken a plethora of infrastructure projects in the area. It is a well known fact there was pressure on Pakistan from China to provide clear legal status to Gilgit-Baltistan as India raised strong objection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying it cuts through the disputed territory.

Developments in PoK Vis-A-Vis Indian Kashmir

Indian side of Kashmir has authentic data to show. Media has complete freedom to report the activities there (national as well as international) apart from the huge number of development activities like railway lines, bridges, etc. No one can point a finger at the Indian govt since all the facts are there in the open to see. In the PoK, even asking for a permission to get the official figures is a big adventure in itself. It is completely shrouded in mystery and no one knows what do people there do to live. Do they have even the option to live peacefully?

The primary requirement for any kind of development is “PEACE”. And peace doesn’t come with terror-training camps that are always in an “always-on” mode in PoK and continuously testing the people along the border using firing. Indian side of Kashmir, even though still not fully integrated to the mainland, still has a fairly peaceful existence.

Statistics:

Indian J&K

GDP: $15.2 billion

Population: 12,548,925

Total Deposits: $8.8 billion

Total Loans: $3.03 billion

Pakistani AJK

GDP : $3.2 billion

Population: 4,000,000 (estimated)

Total Deposits: $3.6 billion

Total Loans: $97.3 million

Budget. The budget available on the Indian side is 20 times that of POK

Health Infrastructure. There are more number of hospitals on the Indian side including reputed ones like AIIMS as compared to POK.

Airport. Indian Kashmir: 4. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir: 2.

Colleges/ University.Indian Kashmir: 35. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir: 6.

Indian Kashmir has modern trains and good roads while POK has average means of transport and no train service. The 10.9 km long tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway is one of its kind. No such tunnels exist in Pak Occupied Kashmir. The tunnel will save fuel worth nearly Rs 100 crores a year and reduces the travel time between the two state capitals of Jammu and Srinagar by more than two hours.

Indian Kashmir has steady supply of power but POK has no steady source of power and hospitals etc are totally left on their own. India does not suppress press freedom in Kashmir even if they have people who show Pak flags and IS flags but journalism in POK is a fatal job. Not much news comes out of that area ever.

ViewPoint

Common sense says that when there is stability in one area, development automatically comes in. When terrorists(in the guise of Pak army which controls the complete Pakistan) rule the PoK, it is obvious what grows there are just guns.

Come to J&K and the situation is completely different. There is a well established voting system, a defense setup, protection of natural resources, and a strong mandate in favor of democracy. Indian Kashmir is certainly far more developed than Pak Occupied Kashmir where there have not even been free and fair elections till date.

Pakistan has denied Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan even basic constitutional and legal rights but hypocritically speaks of the right of self-determination in J and K. Its each and every propaganda on Kashmir is failing and yet Pakistan has not stopped crying in front of every international body for support. These fraud solidarity movements can never give a conclusive shape to Pakistan’s nefarious motives.

13 Sep 19/Friday                                                   Written by Naphisa

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