The Classic Deadlock-State of Kashmir

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The Classic Deadlock-State of Kashmir

Introduction

The state of Kashmir since 1947 and earlier has held an importance that the whole of South Asia could not deny. It became the bone of contention or the golden goose after the partitioning of the subcontinent. Ever since 1947, Kashmir remains a disputed, much fought over and oppressed state. Due to its geo-strategic location, Kashmir is a source of rivalry between Pakistan and India. Both countries have been fighting power games with one another over this land that shares border with China, Pakistan and India. It has also been a source of great power domination between USSR and Great Britain back then in the 19Th century which explains the unjust allocation of this state during the portioning of the sub-continent.

One can guage the strategic importance of Kashmir from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s statement:

Kashmir Northern frontier … runs in common with those of three countries’ Afghanistan, the USSR and China. Security of Kashmir…is vital to security of India, especially since part of Southern boundary of Kashmir and India is common”.

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan also portrayed a similar canvas regarding Kashmir:

 “Accession of Kashmir to India is a threat to the security of Pakistan”. He also mentioned:

“The strategic position of Kashmir is such that without it Pakistan cannot defend itself against an unscrupulous government that might come in India”.

The geopolitical importance of Kashmir gained paramount importance after 1947, due to a greater strategic value far greater than during the imperial era. Due to its location, both India and Pakistan had to relocate its military and it held now a greater defense stance. For India, protection of its Ladakh state close to the Chinese border, control over Kashmir became even more crucial. In case of any war, India could easily loose its areas. Hence, it meant Kashmir had to be in control. Whereas, on the other hand for Pakistan state of Kashmir was indispensable as it conjoined many of its areas and Pakistan shared a larger border with it. All economic routes from China passed through it. All the rivers that flow into Pakistan have their origin or source through this region. So for Pakistan, it meant more of a survival case than a power house as for India.

KashmirIn short, it was a classic deadlock.

Background of Kashmir

The state of Kashmir is the land where all countries of Pakistan, India and China and the former Soviet Union (Central Asia) meet. Kashmir has been since ages referred to as Paradise. Cuddled between the gigantic mountains of the Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range, Kashmir is perhaps undeniably the most mystic and magical place on earth. It is the heart of central Asia. If handled with love and care, it can serve as the greatest tourist spot that the world might ever witness- such is its unmatched beauty. Its prosperity means uplift of whole of Central Asia.

It has spanned to include areas of Azad Kashmir, Jammu, and the Kashmir valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract. It lies to the north of both India and Pakistan and to the south-west of China.

Kashmir region has evolved a rich cultured diversity and carries a mix lineage. Initially it became the center of Hinduism, then Buddhism, followed by rise of Kashmir Shaivism. In 1339, Kashmir was ruled by Shah Mir who paved way for the Mughals. Kashmir remained a part of the Mughals from 1586 to 1751. From 1751 till 1820, it was ruled over by the Afghan Durrani until defeated by Ranjit Sikh. Therefore, this region holds importance for all religions. Its history and culture is enriched with flavors from all these dynasties.

Its complete dominance by India implies full economic cutoff for Pakistan from China and in case Kashmir goes to Pakistan, India loses border with former Soviet Union. So, its crystal clear the dispute cannot be settled by India and Pakistan by itself. Other nations, or peace organizations need to stand up and resolve an issue that has marred the beautiful Valley of Kashmir with countless innocent blood.

Short Facts

  • Kashmir is an 86,000-square mile region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Up till now more than 50,000 people have been killed. Numbers of the disappeared or missing are not included in this.
  • Common border Indian Occupied Kashmir and Pakistani controlled Kashmir is called the LOC which is 435 miles (700 km) long.
  • Indian Occupied Kashmir makes up 45% of Kashmir.
  • Pakistan-controlled Kashmir includes areas called Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan. These total up-to about 35% of
  • China also has nearly 20% of
  • Indian Occupied Kashmir has two capitals-Srinagar (the summer capital) and Jammu (the winter capital). In Azad Kashmir, the capital is Muzaffarabad.

Emergence of the Dispute

Pakistan and India have gone into war thrice: 1948, 1965, and 1999, all of which were indecisive and did not resolve the issue.1947partition gave the independent 550 princely states the right to select their own fate based on a condition. They were asked to join either Pakistan or India depending on geographical location and public consensus. The Raja of Kashmir -Raja Hari Singh was a Hindu while 77% of its population was Muslim. According to the partition rule, the Raja should have acceded to Pakistan however, he delayed as he secretly harbored visions of an independent Kashmir with him as the monarch. Sensing the Raja’s reluctance, a local rebellion (especially the Pashtouns and Poonch rebels) started against him and Pakistan joined in.

The dawn of October 24th, 1947, saw the Poonch rebels declaring independence from the Hindu Raja, and created their own government of Azad Kashmir. The Poonch rebels were joined by the Pathans from the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, and these went on to capture Poonch, Baramullah and the capital Srinagar. The economic conditions as well as civil upheaval aimed at removing the Hindu Raja resulted in him seeking help from India. India refused to help unless he signed the Instrument of Accession. As soon this was done, India sent in troops with help from British and captured the state of Jammu and Kashmir. At the time although India had agreed in writing to later conduct polling and free the control in line with the choice of the majority population.

Lord Mountbatten, The first Earl of Burma, visited Jinnah later in order to meet and resolve the conflict peacefully. He proposed to hold plebiscite in Kashmir to arrive upon a democratic solution to the problem. However, Jinnah refused the offer saying that this should be conducted in Hyderabad and Junagadh as well apart from Kashmir. This the Indian government refused as it meant acceding over two important states to Pakistan. No free electoral to this day has ever been conducted. Hence, this golden dispute was shaped that has ever since halted the economic growth of both India and Pakistan and made this region highly volatile with respect to security.

This was just the beginning of a long era of darkness for the princely state of Kashmir -also called as the Paradise on Earth. This paradise has been painted with worst examples of human immorality, brutality, cruelty and disregard of human rights by the Indian forces under banner of Security forces, special task forces, and terrorism-counter and intelligence comrades. At present, Indian Occupied Kashmir makes up 43% of Kashmir having areas Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and the Siachen Glacier. Pakistan held Kashmir also called Azad Jammu & Kashmir forms 37% having areas of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. China also holds 20% of Kashmir which comprise of the Aksai-Chin region and the Shaksgam Valley.

After 1948, when conditions worsened and became unbearable for the Indian armies, they approached the United Nations Security Council and plead under the 35th Charter to help them cease the ongoing civil and line of border skirmishes. According to this charter, UN holds the right to interfere in a matter that risks International security or peace. UN council established the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), which worked towards making the first Indo-Pak war (1947-48) from advancing further.

State of Human Rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Numerous reports, coverage and statistics exist that point out towards the criminal attitude of the Indian troops towards the civilians of Indian Occupied Kashmir. Violation of human rights have been performed that have soiled this pure land with the blood, cries and tears of countless Kashmir is souls. Abuse and misuse of authority in its supreme form has been carried out and is an ongoing process in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Violation of human rights from physical to mental torture, abuse, disappearance without cause, rape, sexual abuse, harassment, religious discrimination to suppression of freedom of speech and death in its cruelest form are the highlighted acts. The Central reserve police, the Indian army, and several militant groups are accused of performing derogatory and heinous actions against the innocent Kashmiris.

Kashmir is started civil disobedience and initiated the claim of self-determination in Indian Occupied Kashmir in 1989, which has led India performing the worst violation of human rights-the sights of which the world has yet to witness. The Kashmir valley is the most affected area. Its soil has been drenched with blood of generations and generations of innocent Kashmiri civilians. With the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) since 1990, Indian troops have murdered more than a hundred thousand people in Kashmir. According to sources a total of 94,644 people have been killed in the Indian Occupied Kashmir from 1989 to April 2017without including the custodial murder of 7,081 innocents. The total number nears 101,725 during the last 28 years which is the highest figure in any of occupied territory around the world.

More than 1 lac people were arrested, 1 lac houses, private and public assets were demolished or destroyed by the Indian Security officials. Most brutally 10,842 females especially the young one have either been molested, raped or sexually abused with more than 107,607 children made orphans. These acts are ultimately creating more militant and offensive Kashmir is who will definitely retaliate to revenge such unjust immoral deeds. Another interesting situation is of the half widows-these are the unfortunate wives of those men who suddenly disappeared without any trace and have not been heard of or spotted for nearly 10-20 years. The predicament of these widows is that they are hung in anticipation of returning husbands or sword of remarrying. Their numbers toll up-to 22,834. These females are forced to live in utter misery without any entitlements, social financing or pensions. They are not only half widows but half dead as well.

Recently, Kashmir Media Services shared a report that indicates an increase in the civil uprising against the Indian armed forces something that is natural and expected given the above stated figures of inhuman acts. These uprising registered a surge especially after 08th July 2016 when Burhan Wani, was martyred in a planned shootout by the Indian Security forces. In the same year, more than 125 people were killed by the ISF and 16325 injured. Bulk of them were aged between 15-25 years. During this time, the armed forces of India used pellet guns that left behind its wake a massive number of people who are prone to be blind or are already so. The statistics for only this month are horrifying: 7485people were badly injured, 55 youth became completely blind, and 178 young people lost visibility of one eye while nearly 840stand on the brink of losing their eyesight. Extremist lawlessness and unjust use of pellet guns in the summer of 2016, history shall remember it as the “Epidemic Season of Blindness.” This year was perhaps the brighter in terms of Indian forces criminality. Every peaceful act, procession was met with force by the Indian security forces. Public prayers, Funeral processions were targeted and basic services such as telecommunication, internet services and even press freedom was curtailed. Men of press were openly chased down and molested, daily newspapers were banned, and publications of any sort were also shut down. On top of all, even the Medical facilities were hindered and aid to the injured was delayed or made to disappear. There were attacks on ambulances, doctors and paramedical workers.

United Nations is asleep when it comes to the matter of violation of human rights in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. There has been a delay ever since the dispute arose about UN’s stand regarding Kashmir. Although resolution/s have been passed but it has never tried to get it implemented. Hence, every day marks a darkness in the lives of the Kashmir is, spreading darkness in every house. Each day thousands of innocent humans join the dust, youth is lost and women are defiled. Kashmir is are being snatched of their tomorrow-they see no future; just darkness and sorrow. Children see nightmares and killings rather than have dreams. Their aspirations are what they see every day-bloodshed, shootouts and murder without reason. The Indian Security forces and political regime is broadcasting terrorism and that is what it gets in return. UN needs to wake up and take a firm and immediate action in Indian Occupied Kashmir to save humanity and mankind from extreme sufferings and brutality.

State terrorism in Indian Occupied Kashmir continues to plague the public and grow in magnitude as well as change its shape especially since the Public Safety Act 1978 was passed. Since then, almost 11000 innocents have been arrested without any charge or warrant. Human rights Activist Khurim Pervaiz including many other religious, political and social workers were detained, sentenced or abducted. According to Mozammel Haque-a scholar, India is bent on genocide of the Kashmiri Muslims to silence them once and forever. According to the 1993 Human Rights Watch report, and Seema Kazi’s analysis, the Indian militants and forces regularly use rape as a means to demoralize and punish the locals. It is used to inculcate fear in them to make them lame and accept the Indian army as rulers.

Chronological Analysis of role of Indian Forces

  1. Indian Security Forces

Killings by the Indian Security Forces of Kashmir is widely known and reported daily. They have murdered thousands in extrajudicial executions, custody, interrogation, and enforced disappearances. These barbaric violations of the human rights have been conducted by the Indian security Force in full liberty. Innocent civilians particularly the females and the children have been mass killed as “payback” attacks when they are alleged to have connection with any militia figure. The animal and immoral actions of the Indian Security forces have been duly documented and broadcasted by International NGO’s as well as the US State Department. These films highlight primarily the unjust disappearances, arbitrary executions, rape as a war weapon and genocidal activities conducted under the banner of curbing out terrorism from the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

Serious concerns have been projected by United Nations, and the Amnesty International over the large number of human killings that Indian Security Forces in particular the use of child soldiers. According to the Amnesty International, excessive form of torture used by the Indian Security Forces upon the Kashmir is in custody is the major source of toil in death figures in Indian Occupied Kashmir. According to ‘The Telegraph’, a report by WikiLeaks, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has openly stated that physical abuse upon prisoners with hands, electrocutions and sexual intrusion is the major cause of increase in death figures recently in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Moreover, the report clearly confirms that these people taken into illegal custody were neither Islamic militants, insurgents, nor Pakistani supported Mujtahids, they were all local civilians as opposed to Indian claims. The Amnesty has also accused Indian Security Forces of misusing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) using which they can withheld prisoners without trial. The Indian Forces counter that removing AFSPA from Kashmir would put it at risk of terrorist attacks.

All these reporting’s of violation of human rights is claimed by the former Indian Army Chief General V. K. Singh as alleged. He rejected these and claimed they were false and meant to portray a negative image of the army both within and outside Kashmir. On 24th October 2010, the Indian Army Chief issued a statement that 104 Army personnel had been questioned and punished in case on violations of human rights. He also claimed that since 1998, out of 988 petitions received against the army personnel, 940 cases were false with only 25 genuine abuse cases. These make up only 25% as opposed to claimed 95% violations of human rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

However, the Amnesty International and Red Cross rejected these statements and issued a written report that openly shows how the legal system in India where these cases were tried are not up to standard. The organizations state that these courts covered up evidences against the accused and gave a biased trial. In “Denied-Failures in Accountability in Jammu and Kashmir ” 2015 report by Amnesty International it is stated:”…with respect to investigations, an inquiry that is conducted by the same authority accused of the crime raises serious questions about the independence and impartiality of those proceedings”. Hence, a demand for impartial committee that is not involved with Kashmir should hear such cases and run the trials.

  • Indian Army

Tale of atrocities of the Indian Army is even more horrifying. On 23rd Feb 1991, the soldiers of the 4th Rajputana Rifles of the Indian Army carried a search operation in the village of Kunan Poshpora, in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, where they reportedly gang raped 53 females regardless of their ages. The victims were interviewed and their sorrowful tale was filmed in the movie-Ocean of Tears. This short film was ensured by the Indian high officials not to be broadcasted. They also rejected this story and said it was a grand scheme by the Islamic Militia and other agencies to paint Kashmir as a human rights issue in front of the world and also to broadcast wrong image of the Indian army in eyes of the Kashmir is and the International media. In contrast to their claim, the Human Rights Watch, claimed that number of raped women in the Kunan Poshpora incident might be well near 100. In addition, the Indian army also destroyed the health care system in the valley even so that operation theatres are also infiltrated by the Indian army while searching for insurgents.

  • Border Security

October 1993, saw the unjust killing of 37 civilians of Bijibehara state by unofficial firing by the 13th Battalion of the Border Security Forces. The number of the injured vary according to various source. According to Amnesty International, 51 civilians were killed and 200 severely injured. The same unit also committed similar activity in January, 1990 at Handwara, where they killed 9 people. Three inquiries were conducted- two by the Indian government and one by the National Human rights Commission of India (NHRC). In March 1994, 13 Border security force officers were convicted of murder.

  • Central Reserve Police Force

The CRPF is reported to have committed grave brutalities especially against the youth of Kashmir. For instance, during the 2010 Kashmir insurgency, the CRPF detained, molested young protestors under the Public Safety Act causing the death of 112.Similar immorality was repeated at Amarnath land conflict but to a much larger scale. Almost 300 of the youth were captured and more than 40 unarmed protestors killed on spot.

  • Special Operations Group

The Indian Government created a special force to counter terrorism acts in 1944. This force was named as The Special Operation Group. This is compiled of volunteers from the Jammu & Kashmir force and the Indian Army.

Tales of Massacre

The Indian Militia is accused of large scale numerous massacres. A few of most notable in terms of death toll and terror include these:

21st January, 1990- The Gawakadal Massacre: CRPF killed 51 Kashmir is when they were protesting against earlier molestation by the forces against women.

25th January, 1990- The Handwara Massacre: 25 peaceful protestors and many people were injured by firing by two BSF officers that were patrolling then.

1st March, 1990-The Zakoora & Tangpora Massacre: 47 injured and 33 were killed in Srinagar near the Zakoora Crossing and tengpura Bypass by the Indian armed forces.

21st May, 1990-The Hawal Massacre: On the funeral procession of Mir Waiz Mohammad Farooq, popular Kashmiri political leader, more than 60 Kashmir is were indiscriminately shot to death by paramilitary Indian troops while many were badly injured.

6th January, 1993-The Sopore Incident: The Indian forces shot 55civilians and burned down as many house and buildings as they could at the time in the town of Sopore.

22 October, 1993-The Bijibehara Masscre: Kashmir is protesting over the capture of the Hazratbal Mosque were unceremoniously shot down with 25 of them being young students.

27th January, 1994-The Kupwara Bloodshed: 27 civilians, mostly traders of Kupwara district were gunned down just because they had refused to shut their eyes to Indian army’s unjust brutality show a day earlier.

Biggest Violation of Human Rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Fake encounters and sudden disappearance without cause are two of the most frequent mishaps to befall the Kashmir is under the Indian army governance. Fake encounter is where individuals are killed by the army without any proof or warrant claiming they were a causality of a gun battle. The number of such extrajudicial killings has increased over the last ten decades although all such reports are strongly rejected by the Indian Officials. Whereas as opposed to this, many International NGO’s, the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International has recordings that show the immoral and unlawful activities of the Indian Security, Indian Army and Indian Special forces.

Another popular form of agony inflicted upon the locals of Jammu & Kashmir is enforced vanishing act. Here, many thousands of Kashmir is have been to disappear all of a sudden without any prior indication or signal. The Indian army and the security forces completely deny information about any such individuals. Such tortured souls have never been ever heard of, seen, or even found dead for more then 10-15 years. The relatives of these individuals especially the wives are left as living Zombies. Figures of such unfortunate males is reported to vary. Human rights activists provide an estimate of over 8000.

In 2011, according to a State Human Rights Commission inquiry thousands of unmarked lumps were discovered all over Jammu & Kashmir. When investigated they came out to be unmarked graves with thousands of bodies having evidences of being gunned down. These are believed to be the answer to the missing person’s tale. Out of the 2730 dead bodies found in just 4 of the red alert areas, 574 were identified as the missing Kashmir is. According to the grave research team lead, Pervez Imroz, more than 6000 such graves existed. All over the world, peace organizations, health departments, special service forces, Amnesty International, The Human Rights Watch team have voiced their outcry over the extreme torture conducted by Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir, repeatedly but that has left no mark on India’s armed forces. They continue to plaque and spread epidemic torture to the captured, detained, and the suspected civilians. The torture is hideous, horrifying and inhumane. The world community states that this torture is not just random or aggression, instead evidences indicate that the tortured being delivered is systematic, planned and completely trained with a focused target. The US officials shared their concern with the Indian government over this issue and showed them evidences in 2007, however the Indian forces managed to quell the concern with fabricated tale. The matter was again voiced internationally in 2012, when human rights worker Pervez Imroz presented his field search on state level study of torture in captured Jammu & Kashmir. The results were:

  • 1/6 Kashmiri has suffered torture,
  • 2000 extreme torture cases were identified out of just a study of 50 villages, and
  • There exist more 50 centers since 1989, for training the Indian forces ways of implementing torture in unique and new ways

The armed forces of India deploy worst of the human rights abuse-rape. Sexual harassment, gang rape and physical molestation has been repeatedly used by them as a war weapon. According to scholar and researcher Seema Kazi and Jeffery Kenney both state that rape in all forms is actively used by the Indian Security, Army and Special Forces as a weapon to subdue the Kashmir is and curb their insurgent urge to fight back for independence. Human Rights Watch report of 1993 states that Indian army uses rape as a punishment tool especially after a militant ambush.

Adverse Effects of the Kashmir Dispute

The Kashmir Dispute has not only spilled innocent lives but has given the Kashmir is eternal nightmares. Living Kashmiri females are caught in deep web of fear, uncertainty, and depression. Hence, the increase in suicidal tendencies amongst the Kashmiri women. In a 2012 survey, nearly 17,000 people have committed suicide only in the Valley of Kashmir. Study carried by the Medecins Sans Frontiers state that although women in other conflicted areas have been abused and raped but the molestation of the Kashmiri females is the most gravest and most inhumane.

People of Indian Occupied Kashmir have been deprived of their today and tomorrow. The youth has been robbed of education and civilians have paid a harsh price for being just humans. Medical facilities and basic human rights are snatched away from the Kashmir is. As a result, here people especially locals of Valley of the Kashmir suffer from constant depression, fear, suicidal tendency and other psychological disorders. In 2016, the Kashmir valley hospital is reported to have over flooded with more than 100,000 patients.

International Viewpoint on Jammu & Kashmir

2010: The US State Department issued a report featuring extrajudicial killings by the armed forces of India in Jammu & Kashmir.

2011: The British voiced their sadness over the discovery of more than 6000 unmarked graves and asked for its proper investigation.

Christof Heyns special reporter on extrajudicial killings openly said: “all of these draconian laws had no place in a functioning democracy and should be scrapped.

June 2018: UN human rights council published a complete report around 49 pages Human Rights Violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. The report accuses both India as well as Pakistan regarding their failure to resolve the Kashmir dispute and end the ongoing anguish of the Kashmir is since 71 years.

Timeline

14th August, 1947: Sub-continent is partitioned into two nations-India and Pakistan. Fate of the princely states is decided except Kashmir whose Raja Hari Singh sought to be independent of both Pakistan and India.

20-24th October 1947: Kashmir is invaded by tribesmen from the North West Frontier province of Pakistan. In retaliation, Maharaja Hari Singh, seeks help from India which is granted only after he signs the Letter of Accession to India.

1st January, 1949:-For the first time both India and Pakistan stop fighting and call away their troops from Kashmir. A common ceasefire line is observed. That later came to be known as LOC.

5th August, 1965: Both the countries re-enter war over Kashmir however, none was able to gain a territorial increase of their control over Kashmir.

1971: Indo-Pak war again erupts.

July 1972: Simla Agreement manages to quell the second Indo-Pak war but to this day both countries keep fighting over the border.

1989: Infiltration of Islamic militants starts in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

1999: A short fight occurs after the state of Kargil is invaded by armed warriors.

25th July, 2000: Hizbul Mujahedeen a militia group declares ceasefire for 3 months in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

3rd August 3, 2000: Peace talks between India and Hizbul Mujahedeen takes place in Srinagar.

23rd May 23, 2001: India invites Pakistani ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, to have talks and put an end to the hostility between the two states.

14-16th July, 2001: Talks between Indian Premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani Premier General Pervez Musharraf fail to arrive upon a joint statement on Kashmir.

20th December 20, 2001: Both countries line up near the Kashmir and Punjab border for fight after an attack on Indian Parliament. The Indian government claimed this was caused by militants from across the border.

January 2002: Three of major Pakistani based-militia groups are outlawed by the then President-General Musharraf.

October 2002: Electoral are conducted in Indian Occupied Kashmir to decide upon a unified form of government in the state. However, during the elections, 300-500 civilians were unjustly killed. These elections proved of little betterment for the local Kashmir is. Their claim to self-determination remained as such.

November 2003: Pakistan offers India to maintain a ceasefire along the Kashmir LOC to which India agrees. This was the first ceasefire in 14 years of skirmishes and battles.

14th November, 2006: Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan and India’s Foreign Minister Shiv Shanker Menon meet on another to discuss upon a joint formula for countering terrorist attacks.

13th March, 2007: Top diplomats from both the countries co meet to agree upon improving prisoner conditions in each other’s jails and also work upon a solution that makes visa process less strict for citizens of both the countries. For hundreds of prisoners in each other’s’ jails and relaxing visa restrictions.

28th March, 2008: Outcry occurs over nearly 1,000 unmarked graves that human rights workers discovered near the LOC. Massive protest are carried all over Kashmir upon this and insurgents, national activists and human rights agents ask for proper investigation into this grave matter.

21st October, 2008: For the first time trade route is opened between India and Pakistan across the Line of Control in Kashmir. Items such as clothing, fruits and spices are exchanged.

Summer 2010: Severe insurgency occurs in Kashmir and as a result the Indian army’s creates a landmark of violence killing more than 100 people, the sights of which the world had never seen.

14th January, 2011 – India’s Parliament announces to reduce its security forces in Jammu & Kashmir by 1/4th slowly within a span of 12 months.

10th February, 2011: Both countries sit down for peace talks after the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008.

Other major events that happened include the formation of a coalition government between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) backed by the Muslim majority. The interim government took oath on 1st March, 2015. Later, Mehbooba Mufti becomes the first female Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir

Location

It is located mainly in the mountains of Himalayas, sharing borders with states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. It is separated from Pakistan territories through The Line of Control, whereas the Line of Actual Control separates Jammu and Kashmir in the east from Chinese territory of Aksai Chin. Under Article 370 of the Constitution of India, this state holds special autonomy. It consists of three regions: Ladakh, Kashmir Valley and Jammu. Jammu is considered as the winter capital whereas Srinagar is marked as the summer capital. The only state in India with high population of Muslims is Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu is famous for its countless shrines which attract thousands of Hindus every year; Ladakh is famous for Buddhist culture and natural beauty of mountains, whereas the Kashmir Valley is attractive because of its mountainous landscape.

Jammu and Kashmir holds beautiful valleys in its chest including Tawi Valley, Poonch Valley, Kashmir Valley, Chenab Valley, Lidder Valley and Sind Valley. The Kashmir Valley is divided from Ladakh by the Himalayas whereas the Pir Panjal range separates the valley from the Great Plains of India. The Pir Panjal range has an altitude of 5000 metres while the Kashmir Valley has a height of 1850 metres above sea level. Due to range in elevations, the biogeography of Jammu and Kashmir is diverse. In the low elevations of southwest region of J&K are found the Himalayan subtropical pine forest and Northwestern thorn scrub forests. These forests give way to western Himalayan broadleaf forests, which runs from northwest to southeast across the Kashmir Valley. The broadleaf forests rank into western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests as we rise into the mountains. Northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows are found just above the tree line. There is no vegetation at the highest elevations.

Features

The Plains

This zone of landscape in the Jammu region is distinguished by deposits of alluvial fans discharged from the streams at the foothills. The precipitation rate in this region is low amounting to 380 to 500mm per annum and occurs mostly in the form of heavy rain showers during summer monsoon between June to September. The main forms of vegetation at countryside are coarse grass and thorn scrub with almost entire area deprived of trees.

Land

Majority of the state’s land is mountainous with the physiography been divided into seven zones. The zones include the plains, the Pir Panjal Range, the Great Himalayas zone, the foothills, the Vale of Peshawar, the Karakoram Range and the upper Indus River valley. From sub tropical in the southwest to alpine in the northeast the climate trend changes. The annual precipitation in the alpine area is about 75mm whereas in the subtropical zone the rainfall reaches to about 1150 mm per annum. The region is susceptible to strong seismic activity with moderate tremors being common. In 2005 a strong earthquake hit the Kashmir area killing hundreds of people in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The Pir Panjal Range

 

The average crest line of this range is about 3800 metres with some peaks having altitude of 4600 metres. During the Pleistocene Epoch the range was glaciated with quartz rocks, ancient rocks with granite core, slates and gneisses. Heavy precipitation is received by the range in the form of summer rain and winter snowfall with vast grazing area above the tree line. The rivers draining this range are mainly Punch, Chenab and Jhelum rivers.

 

The Vale of Kashmir

It is a deep crooked basin situated between the Great Himalayas and Pir Panjal Range at an altitude of 5300 feet. Lake Karewa occupied this valley during the Pleistocene times, and now it is filled with sediments of still water as well as by residue of upper Jhelum River. The condition of water and soil varies across the valley. The valley experiences an annual precipitation of about 750 mm obtained from the summer monsoon as well as from storms affiliated with low pressure systems of winter. The temperature varies according to the height; at Srinagar the minimum temperature recorded is about -2°C in the month of January and the maximum temperature is about 31°C in July.

Variety of trees is found at an altitude of 7000 feet including cedar, walnut, blue pine, elm, willow and poplar. Between 7000 to 10,500 feet are found trees of spruce, fir, pine and coniferous. Birch is dominant between height of 10,500 to 12,000 feet. Above 12000 feet are found meadows with dwarf willows, rhododendrons and honeysuckle.

 

The Foothills

The Himalayas foothills form outer and inner zones at heights of about 2000 to 7000 feet. The inner zone consists of huge red sandstones of Miocene age and sedimentary rocks. These stones and rocks have fractured, folded and eroded to create plateau remnants and steep spurs. The outer zone is composed of clay, sandstone, conglomerates and silts. As a result of deep terracing and faulting in river valleys a large number of basins have been produced like those surrounding the Punch and Udhampur. The rate of precipitation increases as altitude increases.

 

The Great Himalayas zone

The Great Himalayas holds countless peaks having altitude of 6100 metres and higher despite its complex geography and topography. In between these peaks lie beautiful entrenched valleys. During the Pleistocene Epoch period this region was glaciated heavily and remnant snowfields and glaciers are still present. The area receives small amount of rainfall in summer months from the southwest monsoon. The Great Himalayas represent a climatic transition from monsoon of the Indian subcontinent to the dry climate of Central Asia.

The Upper Indus Valley

The valley runs westwards from the Tibetan border to end in Pakistani Kashmir where the river surrounds the great mountain Nanga Parbat. From the upper part the river is bounded by terraces of gravel and stones, where each tributary forms a fan (of alluvium) out into the main valley. About 11,500 feet above sea level stands the town of Leh on such a fan. The town suffers harsh climate conditions with almost no precipitation. The life in valley is dependent on melting water from the mountains and alpine trees.

 

The Karakoram Range

The massive granite range lies in between the sectors of India and Kashmir containing the world’s highest peaks. The great Mount Godwin Austen also called K2 with a height of 8611 meters lies on one of the Chinese enclaves and border of Pakistan. The Karakoram alone with the surrounding Himalayan region is known as the “roof of the world”. The range contains several other 30 peaks exceeding altitude of 7300 meters.

Animal life

There are varieties of wild animals found in this region including the Ladakh urial, the Siberian ibex, endangered markhor and black and brown bears. A number of game bird species are found with large number of ducks.

People

The composition of ethnic, culture and linguistic varies across Jammu and Kashmir by region. A greater proportion of Islam is found in this region which is approximately two-thirds of the population and is considered as the largest proportion in any Indian state. The remaining portion is composed of Hindus as well as minorities including Buddhists and Sikhs. The official language of the state is Urdu.

The Jammu region

Jammu is marked as the second largest city and the winter capital of the state. The larger proportion of population is Hindus which live in the southeastern portion of Jammu. They are Punjabi speaking and are closely related to Punjabi people in Punjab state. Towards the northwest of the state are found Muslims in majority with the largest population found in the western town of Punch.

 

Ladakh

 

The Great Himalayas holds cultural as well ethnic importance and serve as a physical divide. The north eastern portion of the Ladakh area also called “Little Tibet” has less dense population. Moving towards the east around the region of Leh the inhabitants are mostly Buddhists of Tibet and speak Tibeto-Burman language. Towards the west around the area called Kargil the population in excess are Muslims mostly Shi’ite- branch of Islam.

Settlement patterns

The colonization movement in the foothills and plains of the southwestern region from the Punjab areas has produced countless agricultural settlements. In areas around foothills and dun regions the presence of water for irrigation and alluvial soil gives way to agriculture. The population is supported by crops like barley and wheat, gathered during Rabi harvest also maize and rice gathered during Kharif harvest. The upper portion of the valley is supported by mixed economy of cattle, corn and forestry. Each spring the herders need to migrate to higher pastures so as to give their livestock the necessary food to produce butter, milk and ghee. As soon as winters arrive the dwellers move to lower areas to work in timber mills and government forests to earn money.

Demographic trends

There has been an increasing trend in population of Jammu and Kashmir from late 20th century to early 21st century, approximately increasing by one-fourth from 2001 to 2011. Majority of the state is rural with three-fourth of its population living in villages and towns. The Srinagar region has almost two-fifths of the urban population thus increasing urbanization. However, the gender ratio has relatively decreased to 890 females per 1000 males in 2011 from 900 females per 1000 males in 2001.

Economy of Jammu and Kashmir-Indian Occupied Kashmir

Agriculture: The major form of earning in Jammu and Kashmir is agriculture. Subsistence form of cultivation is carried on all types of terraced terrains. Rice is the staple crop here. It is harvested in late September and planted in May. Along with rice, other summer crops include legumes, corn, millet, tobacco and cotton. Main spring crops are barley and wheat. Silk cultivation is predominant. Areas near well water localities are prone to growth of fresh fruits and vegetation. The Valley of Kashmir has huge number of ripe orchids which produce export quality in huge quantities of apples, walnuts, pears, peaches, cherries and almonds. Most importantly, the Valley of Kashmir has monopoly when it comes to producing Saffron in the whole of sub-continent. Lakes and rivers of this vale are sources of active water chestnut and fish. The Kashmiri willow is famously used all over the world to create number one Cricket bats. This is another major means of fetching handsome amounts of foreign exchange.

In Ladakh, main valley areas as Shyok, Indus and Suru rivers can be seen occupied with smaller cultivated areas of turnips, mustard, barley and buckwheat. Yok Pastoralism is a popular agricultural norm along with breeding practices of goats, cattle and sheep. Kashmiri goat is a much valued breeding norm as it supplies much anticipated and expensive Kasmiri cashmere for the manufacturing of Kashmiri fine textile. Mountains are a prime source of wood especially timber that is exported.

 

Resources and Power: Resources are limited as compared to the existing population. Mineral and fossil fuel deposits are not much although some reserves of natural gas are located near the city of Jammu while traces of gypsum and bauxite are found near Udhampur. Some minor reserves of these minerals also exist in Jammu: calcium, zinc and limestone.

 

Proper electric sources have been planted including hydroelectric and thermal generating plants that are able to provide electricity for industrial development as well as to the villages for small scale cottage industry as well. Major hydroelectric units Salal and at Chineni lower Jhelum rivers and upper Sind rivers. Hydroelectric generating capability of Jammu and Kashmir is very rich particularly along the river basins of the Indus, Ravi and Jhelum rivers as well as the Chenab River in southwestern part.

 

Manufacturing: Major products of Jammu and Kashmir the manufacturing department include precision instruments, furniture, and metal-ware, sporting goods, resin and turpentine. The manufacturing center is Srinagar. Handmade crafts gained popularity during the Mughal era, however gradual importance of local textile industry especially of Srinagar’s imports in the west Himalayan trade regions, the silk, wool and cotton of Jammu and Kashmir has popularized products from wood carving; carpet weaving; and leatherwork all across the globe. These items pay well for the locals and has become a favorite small scale industry in this region. Apart from Srinagar, region of Ladakh has carved for itself a unique name throughout the world for its ultra-soft and fine carpets, shawls and blankets. In the sub-continent, Kashmiri shawls are considered a royal wedding gift, even to this date.

 

Tourism: Kashmir is undeniably the most exotic place on Earth. Scientists, researchers, practitioners, tourists, hikers all agree on this one fact that the region of Kashmir has been bestowed with natural beauty the sights of which are nowhere to be seen or experienced in the whole of the world. Keeping this in mind, Kashmir should have had a strong tourism industry. Unfortunately this is not the case. The region has been since Indo-Pak partition been in a war-zone. As a result, this sector could never been worked on and Kashmir has been denied the rights it should have otherwise in tourism industry.

 

Presently, Ladakh region has gained some exposure and able to earn via tourism. Apart from traditional tourist spots as historical sights, religious location, visitors can enjoy Gulmarg (located west of Srinagar towards the northern Pir Panjal Range) for snow-sporting, area’s scenic lakes and rivers and the unique Chumathang( near Leh) for its hot mineral springs. For mountain trekking most ideal period is from July through September.

 

Transportation and communications

Communication in Jammu and Kashmir is an ongoing issue although certain steps were taken by the Indian government after 1947-48 Indo-Pak war, when road connecting Rawalpindi and Srinagar was shutoff. One road passing through the Banihal Pass connecting Jammu with The Valley of Kashmir along with the Jawahar tunnel was constructed in 1959.However this is not an easy route due to tough and unpredictable weather conditions. Another link is from Srinagar to Kargil and from Kargil to Leh. One link that improved access is through the Pir Panjal Range connecting the Valley of Kashmir and Punch.

 

A road also connects Srinagar with Kargil and Leh. In addition, a route through the Pir Panjal Range that followed the ancient Mughal Road opened in 2010, significantly reducing the travel distance between Punch and the vale.

 

Jammu is the focal center of northern Indian railway. Jammu and Baramula are interconnected via a railway track that passes through Srinagar. New railway tracks connect Jammu with Udhampur, and Baramular to Anantang(near southeat of Srinagar). Both Jammu and Srinagar are air connected to New Delhi. Air services are also available from Delhi to Leh via Srinagar.

 

Connectivity via telephone remained a big issue in Kashmir due to rough and rugged terrain that made it very tough to lay down the wired structure. With the arrival of the internet and mobile technology, the connectivity issue of the Kashmiris improved vastly. Since then the region has not looked back, just ahead in terms of communicating with one another or globally for business deals.

 

Health and Welfare

The state of art of medical facilities is under deprived. Number of hospitals or quality dispensaries is scarce throughout the state. On top of this, the constant war-zone particularly in the Valley of Kashmir has made availability of sufficient medical attention impossible and quite non-existent. Ladakh region is the most affected region in this regard.

With the ongoing war for self-determination, generations after generations of Jammu and Kashmir are daily ruthlessly deprived of their lives or worst made victims of the war with permanent scarring. No psychological. Rape therapy centers or self-motivational health care centers, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are being handed a legacy of worst deprivation in terms of health and basic humanitarian right.

Education

The state of Education is just barely acceptable. Literacy rate of males is much higher than that of females and education is free at all levels. That is another story that how many are allowed to attend schools peacefully. Bothe University of Kashmir at Srinagar and the University of Jammu, founded in 1969 provide Higher Education.Agricultural schools were also opened in Srinagar (1982) and Jammu (1999).

 

Climate

Indian Occupied Kashmir enjoys varied climate due to its mix topography. In the south of Jammu, the weather is mostly monsoonal in nature. In summers, temperatures here can reach up to 40°C, whereas it rains heavily during July to August with an average of 650mm rainfall. To the west of Pir Panjal Range, precipitation falls not due to the South Asian Monsoon but from the cloud-bands of the southwest. Average rainfall in Srinagar reaches up to as much as 635 mm. the rainiest months are from March to May with almost 85 mm of rain per month.

As we move ahead from the main Himalaya Range, these southwest cloud bands break up. As a result, Zanskar and Ladakh regions are very cold and dry. Annual rainfall in these regions is only100mm with low humidity. Winter is very harsh especially in Zanskar where temperature go as far as −40°C while its average winter temperature is -20°C. The summers are quite ple

Government Facts

Main governing municipals: Jammu, Srinagar

City councils=6:– Sopore, Baramullah, Anantnag, Poonch, Kathua, Udhampur

Municipalities: Samba, Ranbirsinghpora, Akhnoor, Doda, Kishtwar, Reasi, Ramban, Shopian, Sumbal, Kupwara, Tral, Pulwana, Bijibehara, Samba, Ganderbal, Kargil, Handwara.

Religions Practiced In Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is a multi-ethic state with majority of population being Muslims. Religions by percentage include: Islam 68.31%, Hinduism 28.43%, Sikhism 1.87%, Buddhism 0.89%, Christianity 0.28% and Jainism 0.01%.

Languages & Ethnicity in Jammu and Kashmir

As in 2001, major language Pakistan Controlled Kashmir in Kashmir is Kashmiri 54%, Dogri 22%, Hindi 18%, Ladakhi 1% and other 4 %. Urdu in Persian script is the state language with Hindi widely understood; English and Urdu being second language of the people.

Mixture of various cultures co live in Kashmir. Major ethnic groups include Kashmiris who live mostly in the Valley of Kashmir and Valley of Chenab. The Gujjar, and Bakarwals and live nomadically around Pir Panjal. Pahari is another group that reside near the Pir Panjal Range as well as the Valley of Kashmir. The Dogras are most related to their counterpart the Punjabis in Pakistan and live mostly in the Udhampur and Jammu regions.

 

Azad Jammu and Kashmir

Parts of Kashmir that are under Pakistan’s control are collectively referred to as Azad Kashmir or Azad Jammu and Kashmir aka AJK. Its inception took place on 24th October 1947. Azad Kashmir’s national anthem is Watan Hamara Azad Kashmir. It is an independent administrative territory of Pakistan. Its capital city is Muzaffarabad and largest is New Mirpur City. Current president is Masood Khan with Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider. This territory has an area of 13,297 sq.km with a population of 4.45 million people with accordance to 2017 census. Several languages are commonly Pakistan Controlled Kashmir in Azad Kashmir, with official language being Urdu. Other languages include Kashmiri, Punjabi, Kundal Shahi, Hindko and Pahari. It has 10 districts and 19 towns. Gujjar are the largest ethnic group, followed by the Kashmiris, the Abbasi, the Rajput and the Sudhan. State website URL is www.ajk.gov.pk.

Location

AJK lies to the west of Indian Occupied Kashmir and shares border with Gilgit-Baltistan. Together with this region, the international organizations refer to it as Pakistan controlled Kashmir.AJK is 1/6th of Gilgit-Baltistan.Azad Kashmir also joins border in the south with Pakistan’s province of Punjab and Kyber Pakhtunkhawa in the west. To the east lies the de facto or LOC separating it from Indian Occupied Kashmir.

Azad Kashmir has a parliamentary form of government whereby AJK selects its own President, who is the head of the state. AJK has its own councils, Supreme Court and High court but the Defense Ministry of Pakistan works hand in hand with the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan’s ministry

The entire area was destroyed by the 2005 earthquake however, with help from Pakistan, foreign aid, and members of the British Mirpuri. Azad Kashmir has the highest ratio of school going children in Pakistan.

Landscape

Lower parts of Himalayas including Jamgarh peak (4734 m), and Hari Parbat peak in the Neelum Valley lie in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The AJK is decorated with countless green pastures, mountainous valleys and scenic locations that mesmerize one’s mind and completely leave baffled with their sheer beauty, calmness and attractive appeal.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir gets sufficient rainfall both in the summers as well as winters. Pattan and Muzaffarabad are the highest rain receiving cities of Pakistan. Average rains in these areas exceeds 1400 mm. In summers the area gets flooded due to the River Jhelum and River Leepa monsoon and snow melting. Muzaffarabad gets highest rainfall with averages of 1800mm.

Economic Plans

Asian Development Bank is interested in investing for the improvement in health, medical, education, nutrition of AJK’s people. A development plan has been decided whose estimated cost is nearly US$76 million. $38 million has already been donated by Germany during 2006-2014.

Demography

Results of 2017 Census states that roughly the population of AJK is around 4.45 million and is mostly Muslim. Literacy rate is74% with 98% enrolled boys as compared to 90% girls. Kashmiris in this region vastly differ from those abiding in the Valley of Kashmir.

These people have much more common with the people of Bhimber and towns of Jammu. Residents of this area are not pure Kashmiris, moreover they are Punjabis in essence. Major communities that abode in Azad Jammu and Kashmir include these: The Gujjar’s form the largest community in AJK. These are primarily agriculturists. Next is the Awan tribe that mostly lives in Bagh Poonch, Muzaffarabad and the Jhelum Valley. Aside from AJK they also inhabit areas of Kyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab as well.

Sudhans or the Sudhuzai is the second largest clan after Gujjars to occupy Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Sudhans are reported to have Pashtun ancestors. They are mostly found in Sudhanoti, Bagh, Kolti and Poonch districts. Another important community to live in AJK is the Jats. They live in the Mirpur District and some reside in Kotli and Bhimber. A large junk of these Mirpuri Jats migrated to UK and now more original Mirpuris exist in UK than in AJK. Jhelum, Bagh and Muzaffarabad areas are strong holds of Abbasis-another community of AJK. Apart from these areas Abbasis also occupy large parts of Abbottabad and upper Potohar Punjab. Pure Kahmiri descendants live in the valley regions like the Leepa valley and the Neelum valley.

Cultural similarities exist between people of Azad Kashmir and the Potohar (Northern Punjab) areas. Sudhans share traditions of the Pashtuns in particular the Peshawari turban. Shalwar Kameez is popular amongst all.

Language

A mixture of languages are Pakistan Controlled Kashmir and understood all around Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Urdu being the official language with English being used in higher domain as law. Majority is comfortable speaking in Pahari-Pothwari dialects. This is also Pakistan Controlled Kashmir across the LOC on either side of it. This language has deep similarity with Hinko to northwest and Punjabi to the south. The style of language used in the south of Azad Kashmir is often called by Pahari, Mirpuri or Potowari. This central dialect is termed as Chibhali or Punchi in literature.

Moving gradually upwards from the south the language changes to Hindko. It has core dialects as that of Pahari north, the speech forms gradually change into Hindko. Another important language of this area is the Gujari language. Pakistan Controlled Kashmir basically by thousands and hundreds of nomadic Gujjars, it is closely linked with the Rajasthan (Mewati) but also shares features with the Punjabi. Varied and scattered speakers of Kashmiri exist in the Neelam Valley. This forms the second largest Pakistan Controlled Kashmir language after Hindko in AJK.

Efforts have been carried to promote and develop the Kashmiri language especially to counter taunts from the Indians but it has been unsuccessful Although, Kashmiri was introduced in the secondary education, the plan back fired. Number of enrolled students started to fall so it was abandoned. It is Urdu that the Kashmiris on both side of LOC prefer to use and have adopted it as a symbol of their identity. However, for the locals of the Neelam valley Kashmiri language still to date remains their sole mode of communication and comfort zone.

Other languages are also used and Pakistan Controlled Kashmir in Neelam valley such as the Shina language with two different dialects, Pashto Pakistan Controlled Kashmir in 2villages around the LOC and the unique Kundal Shahi language that is home of Eponymous village. This language is local and not Pakistan Controlled Kashmir outside of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Economy

Ever since Azad Jammu and Kashmir has been populated, people have grown crops here. Agriculture has been the prime source of income for these inhabitants. Food for long as well as immediate necessity was produced and used locally as well as imported or transferred to other parts of the subcontinent. Food items from here included crops, fruits and vegetables. In addition, wood for furniture, and fuel could be obtained from here as well. Hence, the area was an important revenue generating unit.

Elevated land that has low population, there people cleverly grow corn, do forestry, and maintain livestock. While in more populated and low-lying regions, wheat, maize, millet, mangoes and barley is grown. Azad Kashmir has certain mineral and marble resources in areas close to Muzaffarabad and Mirpur. Graphite deposits are found at Mohriwali. Traces of low quality coal coal, bauxite, zircon and chalk are also found. Famous agricultural products of AJK include honey, mushrooms, cherries, walnuts, apples, herbs and plants, resins, deodar, kail, chir, and maple wood.

Small-scale industry is established fully here in Azad Jammu and Kashmir with fine products as carpets, textiles and carved wood artefacts. The arts and crafts industry is quite successful here with exotic and expensive produce as shawls, namdas, pashmina, basketry items, rugs, woolen clothing, patto, silk, and silverware.

The inhabitants of Mirpur started migration to UK in the 1990’s and particularly when Mangla Dam was constructed in 1967. Today, remittances from this British Mirpuri community aid economy of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to a huge extent. Another source of income is the royalty that the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government receives from the Pakistani government in lieu of electricity that these dams provide to it.

Tourism is another important source of income for the people of AJK. It is also a beautiful land as is the whole of Kashmir. Some of the most important tourist locations that are visited yearly by several thousands of people include:

Muzaffarabad: Locate on the banks of Neelum and Jhelum rivers, it is a beauty in many aspects.It is the capital city of Azad Kashmir. Pir Chinassi, Subri Lake, Red Fort, Patika and Awan Patti are its popular tourist spots.

The Neelum Valley: Located in the vicinity of Muzaffarabad, this valley has lushness all over. Some of its attractions include spots like Kel, Arang Kel, taobat, Keran, Athmuqam and Kutton. Sudhanoti: It is located some 90km away from Islamabad connected with Rawalpindi via Azad Pattan Road. Rawalkot; It is another exotic city in Azad Kashmir having lovely sites as Tatta Pani, Toli Pir, Banjosa Lake and Devi Gali. Bagh City: It is 205 km away from Islamabad and bestowed with numerous heavenly sights such as the Bagh Fort, Sudhan Gali, Ganga Lake, Dhirkot, Kotla Waterfall, Neela Butt, Las Danna and Panjal Mastan National Park. Visit to Azad Kashmir can never be complete without visiting the Leepa Valley located some 105 Km southeast of Muzaffarabad. Entire Valley is a pure feast for the eyes.

 

Indian Occupied Kashmir versus Pakistan Controlled Kashmir

AJK or PAKISTAN CONTROLLED KASHMIR is a semi-autonomous unit of Pakistan. It has its own Legislative Assembly consisting of Kashmiri people and also passed its own Interim Constitution Act in 1974. In Indian Occupied Kashmir, the people are in conflict with the state’s army that has interfered in every aspect of their everyday life. As a result, the entire Indian Occupied Kashmir has a tensed environment. Social setup is upside down and peace exists in minor areas only. This goes against any formulation of true democracy in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan Controlled Kashmir has 10 districts with a population of 4,045,366 in accordance with 2017 National Census of Pakistan. Total territorial area of Pakistan Controlled Kashmir is 13,297 square kilometers. 13% of the land is under cultivation, its literacy rate is 74% that is highest than any area of Pakistan and has high enrollment rates of 90 %( girls). In contrast, Indian Occupied Kashmir has 22 districts with a population of 12.5million with a literacy rate of 68% which is 30th lowest in rank when compared to other Indian states. Indian Occupied Kashmir ranks 7th in poverty in comparison to other Indian cities and has the highest reporting of crimes being listed in police stations.

AJK government is spending ample on its educational sector. It allocated around 8% of its finance to education is 2017-18 fiscal year. Majority of the locals are Muslims with annual capita of 1512 USD.

Similarly, the area enjoys complete safety and peaceful environment where local inhabitants can breathe freely. Pakistan has deployed just a single army division to Pakistan Controlled Kashmir to keep Indians at bay from LOC. Pakistan Controlled Kashmir has the lowest crime rate as compared to all other cities of Pakistan. The army units deployed to AJK do not intervene with the local government unless in times of elections when the AJK government ask to do so. Pakistan Controlled Kashmir is a state of the Kashmiri people who run it, govern it and live their lives according to their agreed upon laws and rules. On the other hand, 700,000 soldiers excluding CPRF arm-men are deployed in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Since 1947, more than 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed, murdered or molested by the Indian armed forces.

The state of press freedom is also quite interesting. In 2017, nearly 22 Social Media Sites were shutoff in Indian Occupied Kashmir in order to cover up demonstrations and to keep the hostile crackdown by its armies from being shared with the world community as well as its own people. In Pakistan Controlled Kashmir there is and has never been any such restriction on press or cellular services.

These facts clearly demonstrate that a state or democracy cannot even be thought of in a region where every possible violation of human rights is performed and the government is in constant battle with the civilians. Therefore, India clearly needs to pay attention to its actions in Kashmir.

 

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