Pak, Kash­mir in­sep­a­ra­ble

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - SIDRA NASEER SATTI

The his­tory of Azad Kash­mir is re­lated to the his­tory of the over all Kash­mir re­gion dur­ing the Do­gra rule. Azad Kash­mir bor­ders the Pak­istani Prov­inces of Pun­jab and Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa to the South and West re­spec­tively, Gil­git–Baltistan to the North and the In­dian oc­cu­pied Jammu and Kash­mir to the East. We went to Kash­mir on a trip, the other day, and I was re­ally dis­ap­pointed to see that Kash­mir, rightly known as ‘Par­adise on Earth, de­serves a lot to be done in devel­op­ment in­fras­truc­ture. The peo­ple of Azad Kash­mir are still fac­ing hard­ships, as those run­ning the af­fairs of Azad Kash­mir, both the politi­cians as well as bu­reau­crats, seem to be more in­ter­ested in en­joy­ing ur­ban life of Islamabad, rather than re­spond­ing to their du­ties in the calm, serene and peace­ful cli­matic con­di­tions of beau­ti­ful moun­tains and val­lies. Due to land­s­lid­ings, the roads are badly dam­aged which causes ac­ci­dents. Peo­ple in Azad Kash­mir are badly ne­glected. The tourism po­ten­tial of the ter­ri­tory is yet to be ex­ploited, as there are no proper fa­cil­i­ties for the tourists. Poor qual­ity food is pro­vided to the vis­i­tors on ex­or­bi­tant prices, be­cause of the the lack of reg­u­lar trans­porta­tion of the es­sen­tial com­modi­ties and prof­i­teer­ing by the lo­cal shop­keep­ers and in­vestors. It is the duty of the Pak gov­ern­ment and re­spon­si­bil­ity of the peo­ple of Pak­istan to look af­ter the in­ter­ests of those who fought their free­dom from Do­gra Raj, the In­dian army and the Hindu mind­set to be­come a part of Pak­istan. There seems to be still a feel­ing as if Kash­mir is not a part of Pak­istan; there is a strong need to make the Kash­miris, as well as the en­tire world, be­lieve that Azad Kash­mir is an in­te­gral part of Pak­istan and the day is not far off when the In­dian held parts of the state of Jammu and Kash­mir will also be reg­u­lated un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan. For this we’ll have to mend our ways work ded­i­cat­edly for the devel­op­ment of Azad Kash­mir and dis­pel any feel­ing of alien­ation on the part of the Kash­miri peo­ple. When we en­tered the Kash­mir Tool Plaza, we were re­quired to pro­vide our Iden­tity Cards and the per­son at­tend­ing us over there asked us that “Where are you from? From Pak­istan?” This state­ment, in it­self, speaks a lot and tells much upon the dis­tance that still bi­fur­cates us from our Kash­miri broth­ers and sis­ters. —Islamabad

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