May 1999 News


90 per cent of PoK people want to end Islamabad's Control

4 May 1999

Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agents in Jammu and Kashmir receive anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 100,000 a month as emoluments and are accorded five-star facilities during their visits to Rawalpindi, a recently published book by a resident of Pak-occupied Kashmir says.

The book, Kaun Azad Kaun Ghulam? (who is free and who is a slave?) in Urdu by Kashmiri nationalist Arif Shahed gives a firsthand account of the plight of Kashmiris in PoK.

Shahed traces the origin of the current wave of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir to the loss of Siachen in 1984 and the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy against General Zia-ul-Haq's dictatorship. To deflect attention from the domestic problems the military regime chalked out a strategy to create trouble in two Indian states, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

To execute the strategy, the Pakistan army contacted Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front who agreed to cooperate on the condition that Kashmir would be granted independence after the Indian control on it ceases, the book says.

Shahed writes that as insurgency picked up, the Pakistani army engineered an split in the JKLF and went back on its commitment of Azad Kashmir. The control of anti-India operations later passed on to pro-Islam, pro-Pakistan elements who made it a pro-Islamic movement and raised the slogan of Kashmir's accession to Pakistan.

The Pakistan-inspired terrorism has claimed the lives of thousands of Kashmiris in the past 10 years and yet Islamabad has the temerity to project itself as their advocate, Shahed writes.

According to Shahed only 10 per cent of the people in PoK support Pakistan's claims on Kashmir. These 10 per cent, who include politicians, mostly live in Pakistan and therefore have no idea of the situation in PoK.

Ninety per cent of the PoK people want to end Islamabad's control but have so far failed to launch any operation to this end because the Azad Kashmir leadership is a Pakistani stooge, he claims.

The ISI keeps on telling people that 'liberation' means accession to Pakistan but the word 'liberation' in the present context has Islamic connotations, Shahed writes.

He reminds the people of the plight of Bihari Muslims, who at the time of Partition supported Pakistan in the name of Islam. They are now living in ghettos in Bangladesh as Pakistan does not want to accept them as its citizens.

Comparing the conditions on either side of the Line of Control, Shahed writes that Kashmiris on the Indian side enjoy the same economic and political freedom as the people living elsewhere in the country whereas the situation is just the opposite in PoK. All remittances that Kashmiris belonging to PoK send are used for setting up industries in Pakistan whereas no industries are allowed in PoK.

School students are made to learn Pakistani history, sing its national anthem and respect its leaders and generals as their heroes, Shahed writes.

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