Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or is often called PoK has been a matter of great dispute. People on both sides of the border have been fighting over it since partition but to no avail. The reasons for this vary from being complicated to disturbing.
While as Indians growing up our History textbooks were filled with facts and stories about PoK, there are still many things not many people know. The disturbance, history, and rivalry around it are just the tip of the iceberg. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane to know some of the important facts
and history about PoK that as an Indian you must know.
20 Facts About PoK Every Indian Should Know
Pakistan Controls Legislative Assembly of PoK
While PoK remains a self-governing state under Pakistan, many have established that its administrative structures are controlled by Pakistan.
Azad Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan
Gilgit Baltistan was a part of the formerly princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistan administration divided them into two parts for better operations. Even though they are officially termed as Gilgit Baltistan and Jammu Kashmir, locals call it ‘Azad Kashmir’.
PoK as “Pakistan-administered Kashmir”
Indians know the term PoK as Pakistan occupied Kashmir, but the United Nations and other international organizations during the ceasefire recognized it as Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
PoK Internal Administration
Pakistan administers the region of the self-governing region of PoK. It however has its own President or Chief of Head. Apart from a President, PoK has its own elected Prime Minister, Legislative Assembly, Supreme and High Court. The self-governed region also has its own separate flag. Currently, Azam Khan is its present Chief Justice.
Terrorist Organisation Training Camps
It is reported that Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the world’s massive and deadliest terror organizations has several ties to PoK. While many deny these allegations, there have been several exposes of the organizations many training camps in the region.
Ajmal Kasab Trained in Muzaffarabad
One of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the world happened in Mumbai on 26/11. Ajmal Kasab who was arrested during the attack received his marine warfare training in Muzaffarabad i.e. in PoK.
Freedom Of Expression
Freedom of Expression is a myth in PoK. The region is marred by corruption and stifling of honest voices like any other region in the world. The media and its administration are all governed by the Pakistan Government. Reportedly, only One Radio Station is allowed to operate in PoK, named Azad Kashmir Radio.
Source Of Income Of The Residents
A majority population of PoK depends on agriculture. Some of the most agricultural products are
Wheat, maize, forestry, and livestock. These provide the maximum source of income for the people.
Walnuts, honey, mushrooms, cherries, apples, resin, maple, medicinal herbs and plants, and burning wood are some other agricultural products in this area.
Tourism also helps to earn some livelihood for some families. It is said that members of the British Mirpuri community send remittances here.
Pakistan Gave Away A Piece Of PoK To China
In 1963, Pakistan handed over a piece of the Shaksgam Valley, a region of Raksam and Baltistan, to China The area is also known as a ceded area or Trans-Karakoram Tract.
British Did Not Rule PoK Directly
Even during the British Rule, Maharaja Hari Singh had total authority over Jammu and Kashmir. So, technically Britishers didn’t rule PoK directly.
Independent State During Partition
During Partition, Jammu And Kashmir was an Independent State under the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. He was given the option to either join India or Pakistan but the Maharaja declined to join either and decided to run it as an Independent State.
Jammu and Kashmir Pathan Tribesmen Invasion
The Pathan Tribesmen had invaded independent Jammu and Kashmir immediately after partition. This led to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948. While Pakistan denies having anything to do with the invasion the are multiple pieces of evidence confirming otherwise.
Signing Instrument of Accession
The Pathan Tribesmen Invasion in Jammu and Kashmir forced Maharaja Hari Singh to seek India’s help. He wrote a letter to Lord Mountbatten, who was the Governor-General of India then. Mountbatten received support from Indian Military but only after signing the specially designed Instrument of Accession or the 26th October 1947 agreement.
With the signature of the agreement on 26th October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh handed over three important subjects to India: Defense, Foreign Affairs and Communications. On other matters, the State was Independent to take run its own operation.
Accession Day Celebration In Jammu & Kashmir
The 26th of October is observed as Accession Day in Jammu and Kashmir. It is celebrated as a public holiday on account of Maharaja Hari Singh signing the Instrument of Accession with India in 1947.
People sing the National Anthem of India, hoist the Indian Flag while celebrating this day.
Black Day For Separatists
The separatists in Kashmir observe 26th October or the Accession Day as a black day to show their protest against the agreement.
Jawaharlal Nehru Involving The United Nations
India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his attempt to resolve the PoK issue approached the United Nation after partition. The move is considered controversial by many to this date as it further
deepened and left the disputes of India and Pakistan unresolved.
Plebiscite Demanded By The United Nations
Owing to India and Pakistan’s war over Kashmir after Partition in 1947, the United Nations took a plebiscite from both countries. According to it, both nations had to declare a ceasefire to the ongoing war. However, apart from stopping the war the move only created bigger unresolved issues and hatred amongst the people of India and Pakistan.
PoK, A Reason For War
Barring the war in 1971, all disputes between India and Pakistan can be dated back to the emergence of PoK. The issue surrounding this region still remains one of the most controversial topics between
In the current heated political climate, no country can concede their region or a piece of their land to the other under any circumstances. India and Pakistan are still adamant about this and their bloody history has only made the rift bigger.
Area & Population
Azad Kashmir covers a total area of around 13,297 square kilometers (5,134 sq mi). As per the
As per the 2017 Census, the total population of Azad Jammu and Kashmir stands at 40.5 lakhs.
Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of 72,971 square kilometers. The area is filled with magnificent mountains on all sides. In 2015 Shahid Javed Burki estimated its total population to be 1.8 million.
The border of Pakitan Occupied Kashmir aka PoK is shared with Pakistan’s area of Punjab, Northwest,
Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan, Xinjiang’s region of China, and east of Indian Kashmir.
For more such information, Stay tuned to Madam 360.