Azad Kashmir

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Azad Jammu and Kashmir
آزاد جموں و کشمیر
Azad Jammu o Kashmir
Clockwise: Chitta Katha Lake, Neelum Valley, Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, Ratti Gali Lake
Clockwise: Chitta Katha Lake, Neelum Valley, Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, Ratti Gali Lake
Flag of Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Flag
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is shown in red. Pakistan and the Pakistani-controlled territory of Gilgit-Baltistan are shown in white.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is shown in red. Pakistan and the Pakistani-controlled territory of Gilgit-Baltistan are shown in white.
Coordinates: 34°13′N 73°17′E / 34.22°N 73.28°E / 34.22; 73.28Coordinates: 34°13′N 73°17′E / 34.22°N 73.28°E / 34.22; 73.28
Country  Pakistan
Established 1947
Capital Muzaffarabad
Largest city Muzaffarabad
Government
 • Type Self-governing state under Pakistani control[1]
 • Body Legislative assembly
 • President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan
 • Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majid
Area
 • Total 13,297 km2 (5,134 sq mi)
Population (2008; est.)
 • Total 4,567,982
 • Density 340/km2 (890/sq mi)
Time zone PKT (UTC+5)
ISO 3166 code PK-JK
Main Language(s)
Assembly seats 49
Districts 10
Towns 19
Union Councils 182
Website www.ajk.gov.pk

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Urdu: آزاد جموں و کشمیرAzad Jammu o Kashmir) abbreviated AJK or, for short, Azad Kashmir (literally Free Kashmir) is a self-governing territory controlled by Pakistan, it lays west of Indian controlled Jammu and Kashmir. It was part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which ceased to exist as a result of the first Kashmir war in 1947, fought between India and Pakistan.

It shares border with Gilgit Baltistan, which along with itself is referred by United Nations as "Pakistani-controlled Kashmir". Azad Jammu and Kashmir borders the Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir to the east (separated from it by the Line of Control), Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province to the west and Pakistan's Punjab Province to the south. With its capital at Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir covers an area of 13,297 square kilometres (5,134 sq mi) and has an estimated population of about four million.[2][3]

The centre of one of the worlds largest disputes, Azad Kashmir has a parliamentary form of Government. The president is the constitutional head of the state, while the prime minister, supported by a Council of Ministers, is the chief executive. Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly elects both the prime minister and president. The state has its own Supreme Court and a High Court. The Ministry of Kashmir affairs serves as a link between the Government of Pakistan and the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.[4]

The 2005 earthquake left the region in unparalleled devastation, including 3 million people were displaced and 100,000 deaths. Since then with help from Islamabad and foreign donors reconstruction of infrastructure is underway. Currently, its economy largely depends on agriculture, services, tourism and remittances sent each year by members of the large Kashmiri diaspora. There are approximately 1880 hospital beds, the total number of doctors, including administrative doctors, health managers snf dentists is 702. Azad Kashmir's literacy rate is well 64%. At present the gross enrolment rate at primary level is 95% for boys and 88% for girls (between the age of 5-9).[5]

History

Map of the entire Kashmir region

At the time of the Partition of India in 1947, the British abandoned their suzerainty over the princely states, which were left with the options of joining India or Pakistan or remaining independent. Hari Singh, the maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, wanted his state to remain independent. In order to buy some time, he signed a stand-still agreement, which sidestepped the encouragement of the princely states to join either India or Pakistan.[6] Later, there was a revolution by Muslims in the western part of the state,[7] as raiders from what was then the North-West Frontier Province and the tribal areas feared that Hari Singh might accede to the Union of India. In October 1947, they attacked Kashmir in an attempt to take control of the princely state. Initially, Hari Singh tried to counter the invasion but failed. He then requested the military assistance of India, which responded that it would not help him unless he acceded to India. On October 26, 1947, Hari Singh signed an Instrument of Accession,[8] and Indian troops were immediately airlifted into Srinagar. Pakistan intervened subsequently.[7] Fighting ensued between the Indian and Pakistani armies, with the two areas of control stabilized, more or less, around what is now known as the "Line of Control".[9]

Later, India approached the United Nations, asking it to solve the dispute, and resolutions were passed in favor of the holding of a plebiscite with regard to Kashmir's future. However, no such plebiscite has ever been held on either side, since there was a precondition which required the withdrawal of the Pakistani Army along with the non-state elements and the subsequent partial withdrawal of the Indian Army.[10] from the parts of Kashmir under their respective control – a withdrawal that never took place.[11] In 1949, a cease-fire line separating the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir was formally put into effect.

Following the 1949 cease-fire agreement, the government of Pakistan divided the northern and western parts of Kashmir which it held into the following two separately-controlled political entities:

  • Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) – the narrow, southern part, 250 miles (400 km) long, with a width varying from 10 to 40 miles (16 to 64 km).
  • Gilgit–Baltistan formerly called the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) – the much larger political entity to the north of AJK with an area of 72,496 square kilometres (27,991 sq mi). It was directly administered by Pakistan as a de facto dependent territory, i.e., a non-self-governing territory. However, it was ostensibly granted "full autonomy" on August 29, 2009.[12]

An area of Kashmir that was once under Pakistani control is the Shaksgam tract, a small region along the northeastern border of Gilgit-Baltistan that was provisionally ceded by Pakistan to the People's Republic of China in 1963 and which now forms part of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In 1972, the then-current border between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir was designated as the "Line of Control". The Line of Control has remained unchanged[13] since the 1972 Simla Agreement, which bound the two countries "to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations". Some political experts claim that, in view of that pact, the only solution to the issue is mutual negotiation between the two countries without involving a third party such as the United Nations.

A devastating earthquake hit Azad Kashmir in 2005.

Kashmir-related holidays

Azad Kashmir Day is celebrated in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on October 24, which is the day that the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government was created in 1947. Pakistan has celebrated Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 of each year since 1990 as a day of protest against India's de facto sovereignty over its State of Jammu and Kashmir.[14] That day is a national holiday in Pakistan.[15]

Government

Districts of Azad Kashmir

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is a self-governing state under Pakistani control, but under Pakistan's constitution the state is not actually part of Pakistan.[clarification needed][1][16] Azad Kashmir has its own elected President, Prime Minister, Legislative Assembly, High Court, with Khawaja Shahad Ahmad as its present chief justice, and official flag. The government of Pakistan has not yet allowed Azad Kashmir to issue its own postage stamps, meaning that those of Pakistan are used instead. Brad Adams the Asia director at Human Rights Watch has said in 2006

Although ‘azad’ means ‘free,’ the residents of Azad Kashmir are anything but, The Pakistani authorities govern Azad Kashmir with strict controls on basic freedoms.[17]

Azad Kashmir's financial matters, i.e., budget and tax affairs, are dealt with by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council rather than by Pakistan's Central Board of Revenue. The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council is a supreme body consisting of 11 members, six from the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and five from the government of Pakistan. Its chairman/chief executive is the president of Pakistan. Other members of the council are the president and the prime minister of Azad Kashmir and a few other AJK ministers.[1][16]

Administrative divisions

The state is administratively divided into three divisions which, in turn, are divided into ten districts.[18]

Division District Area (km²) Population (2008)[citation needed] Headquarters
Mirpur Bhimber 1,516 301,633 Bhimber
Kotli 1,862 563,094 Kotli
Mirpur 1,010 333,482 Mirpur
Muzaffarabad Muzaffarabad[19] 2,496 638,973 Muzaffarabad
Hattian ? ? Hattian Bala
Neelam[20] 3,621 106,778 Athmuqam
Poonch Poonch 855 411,035 Rawalakot[19]
Haveli 600 (est.) 150,000 (est.) Forward Kahuta[19]
Bagh 768 243,415 Bagh
Sudhnoti 569 334,091 Palandri
AJK Total 10 districts 13,297 4,567,982 Muzaffarabad

Geography and climate

The northern part of Azad Jammu and Kashmir encompasses the lower part of the Himalayas, including Jamgarh Peak (15,531 feet [4,734 meters]). However, Hari Parbat peak in the Neelum Valley is the highest peak in the state. Fertile, green, mountainous valleys are characteristic of Azad Kashmir's geography, making it one of the most beautiful regions on the subcontinent.[1]

The southern parts of Azad Kashmir including Bhimber, Mirpur and Kotli districts has extremely hot weather in summers and moderate cold weather in winters. It receives rains mostly in monsoon weather.

In the central and northern parts of state weather remains moderate hot in summers and very cold and chilly in winter. Snow fall also occurs there in December and January.

This region receives rainfall in both winters and summers. Muzaffarabad and Pattan are among the wettest areas of the state. Throughout most of the region, the average rainfall exceeds 1400 mm, with the highest average rainfall occurring near Muzaffarabad (around 1800 mm). During the summer season, monsoon floods of the Jhelum and Leepa rivers are common, due to high rainfall and melting snow.

Tourist attractions

Kashmir as a whole is the one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Pakistani Kashmir has sometimes referred to as "Heaven on Earth" by tourists for its scenic beauty. Some well-known and popular tourist destinations are the following.

  • The Leepa Valley is located 105 kilometres (65 mi) southeast of Muzaffarabad. It is the most charming and scenic place for tourists in Azad Kashmir.

Culture

The culture of Azad Kashmir has many similarities to that of northern Punjabi (Potohar) culture in Punjab province. The natives of Azad Kashmir speak Urdu, Potwari, and the Pahari languages. The traditional dress of Kashmiri women is the shalwar kameez in Pahari style. The shalwar kameez is commonly worn by both men and women. Women use the shawl or Kashmir shawl to cover their head and upper body.

The popular and traditional cuisines of Azad Kashmir are Kashmiri Raan (Fried leg of lamb in Kashmiri style), Rogan Josh, Balti Gosht, Kashmiri Dal Chawal (A mixture of split peas, split red lentils, and boiled rice), and Dam Aloo (Fried Potatoes in Kashmiri style).

The traditional drink of Kashmir is Kashmiri tea. Kashmiris are very fond of drinking tea.

Ethnic groups

Azad Jammu and Kashmir is predominantly Muslim. The majority of the population is culturally, linguistically, and ethnically related to the people of northern Punjab. The article, Ethnic groups of Azad Kashmir gives a breakdown of all the major tribes in the state. The principal languages spoken are Pahari, Gojri, Dogri, Potohari, Urdu, Kashmiri, Pashto, and Punjabi.

A large number of residents of this area have relatives who live in England. Mirpur, in particular, retains strong links with the UK.[21]

Languages

Urdu is the official language of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.[22] However, due to the area's diverse cultural blend, many languages are spoken by different populations, including:

Economy

Historically the economy of these areas now called ‘Azad’ Kashmir has been agricultural which meant that land was the main source or mean of production. This means that all food for immediate and long term consumption was produced from land. The produce included various crops, Fruits, Vegetables etc. Land was also the source of other livelihood necessities such as wood, fuel, grazing for animals which then turned into dairy products. Because of this land was also the main source of revenue for the governments whose primary purpose for centuries was to accumulate revenue.[25]

Agriculture is a major part of Azad Kashmir's economy. Low-lying areas that have high populations grow crops like barley, mangoes, millet, corn (maize), and wheat, and also raise cattle. In the elevated areas that are less populated and more spread-out, forestry, corn, and livestock are the main sources of income. There are mineral and marble resources in Azad Kashmir close to Mirpur and Muzaffarabad. There are also graphite deposits at Mohriwali. There are also reservoirs of low-grade coal, chalk, bauxite, and zircon. Local household industries produce carved wooden objects, textiles, and dhurrie carpets.[1] There is also an arts and crafts industry that produces such cultural goods as namdas, shawls, pashmina, pherans, Papier-mâché, basketry copper, rugs, wood carving, silk and woolen clothing, patto, carpets, namda gubba, and silverware. Agricultural goods produced in the region include mushrooms, honey, walnuts, apples, cherries, medicinal herbs and plants, resin, deodar, kail, chir, fir, maple, and ash timber.[1][16][26]

The migration to UK was accelerated and by the completion of Mangla Dam in 1967 the process of ‘chain migration’ became in full flow. Today, remittances from kashmiri diaspora make a critical role in AJK's economy. In the mid-1950s various economic and social development processes were launched in Azad Kashmir. In the 1960s, with the construction of the Mangla Dam in Mirpur District, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government began to receive royalties from the Pakistani government for the electricity that the dam provided to Pakistan. During the mid-2000s, a multi-billion dollar reconstruction began in the aftermath of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.[27]

In addition to agriculture, textiles, and arts and crafts, remittances have played a major role in the economy of Azad Kashmir. One analyst estimated that the figure for Azad Kashmir was 25.1% in 2001. With regard to annual household income, people living in the higher areas are more dependent on remittances than are those living in the lower areas.[28] In the latter part of 2006, billions of dollars for development were mooted by international aid agencies for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake-hit zones in Azad Kashmir, though much of that amount was subsequently lost in bureaucratic channels, leading to considerable delays in help getting to the most needy. Hundreds of people continued to live in tents long after the earthquake.[27] A land-use plan for the city of Muzaffarabad was prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Education

The literacy rate in Azad Kashmir was 62% in 2004, higher than in any region in Pakistan.[29] However, only 2.2% were graduates, compared to the average of 2.9% for Pakistan.[30]

Universities

The following is a list of universities recognized by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC):[31]

Public universities

Private universities

Medical colleges

The following is a list of undergraduate medical institutions recognized by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) as of 2013.[32]

Public medical colleges

  • Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Medical College Mirpur-AJK
  • Azad Jammu & Kashmir Medical College, Muzaffarabad-AJK

Private medical colleges

  • Mohiuddin Islamic Medical College, Mirpur (Admission Stopped)

Prominent Kashmiris

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (not shown) and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shake hands before beginning a bilateral meeting on the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague, the Netherlands, on March 24, 2014. [State Department photo/ Public Domain].
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is ethnically from Kashmir.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Azad Kashmir" at britannica.com
  2. ^ Afghans in Pakistan: documenting a population on the move – UNHCR
  3. ^ Humanitarian Appeal: About the CAP – Copy of CAP Pakistan 2010 – Flash Appeal (PIFERP) Rev2
  4. ^ China has major presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir: Gilgit activist
  5. ^ http://www.ajk.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=26&Itemid=10
  6. ^ "The J&K conflict: A Chronological Introduction". India Together. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  7. ^ a b Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. "Kashmir (region, Indian subcontinent) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  8. ^ BBC News Kashmir dispute
  9. ^ Prem Shankar Jha. "Grasping the Nettle". South Asian Journal. 
  10. ^ "UN resolution 47". Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "UNCIP Resolution of August 13, 1948 (S/1100) – Embassy of India, Washington, D.C.". [dead link]
  12. ^ Miller, David (August 30, 2009). "Pakistan grants full autonomy to northern areas | Pakistan Daily". Daily.pk. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  13. ^ "UNMOGIP: United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan". 
  14. ^ "Pakistan to observe Kashmir Solidarity Day today". The Hindu. February 5, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  15. ^ "Kashmir Day being observed today". The News International. February 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  16. ^ a b c "Azad Jammu and Kashmir – Introduction". Archived from the original on Sep 27, 2007. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  17. ^ Adams, Brad. "Pakistan: ‘Free Kashmir’ Far From Free". Human Rights Watch. 
  18. ^ "Administrative Setup.". ajk.gov.pk. Archived from the original on April 9, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b c [1][dead link]
  20. ^ Official website, Government of Azad Kashmir. "Facts and Figures". Archived from the original on January 7, 2008. Retrieved 2006-04-19. 
  21. ^ Moss, Paul (November 30, 2006). "South Asia | The limits to integration". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  22. ^ "Urdu declared official language of Azad Kashmir.". Pakistan Times. August 21, 2005. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  23. ^ "About Kashmir.". Prime Minister of AJ&K. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  24. ^ Manzoor Ali Shah. "26 languages spoken in NWFP, northern areas: Many face threat of extinction." Daily Times. February 22, 2010.
  25. ^ "History of Planning & Development Department in AJK". 
  26. ^ "Azad Jammu & Kashmir – Tourism". Archived from the original on May 29, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  27. ^ a b Naqash, Tariq (October 1, 2006). "‘Rs1.25 trillion to be spent in Azad Kashmir’: Reconstruction in quake-hit zone". Dawn (Muzaffarabad). 
  28. ^ Abid Qaiyum Suleri; Kevin Savage. "Remittances in crises: a case study from Pakistan" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  29. ^ "'Literacy Rate in Azad Kashmir nearly 62 pc'". Pakistan Times (MUZAFFARABAD (Azad Kashmir)). September 27, 2004. 
  30. ^ Hasan, Khalid (April 17, 2005). "Washington conference studies educational crisis in Pakistan". Daily Times (Washington). "Grace Clark told the conference that only 2.9% of Pakistanis had access to higher education." 
  31. ^ "Our Institutions". Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "Recognized medical colleges in Pakistan". Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 

External links