Simmering discontent in PoK

B.L. Wanchoo

The recent rejection of 14th Amendment to Article 4 of the Interim Constitution of the so-called Azad Jammu & Kashmir by the PoK Cabinet is an eye opener to the simmering widespread discontent among the residents of PoK against the Pakistan government. The proposed amendment was aimed at shifting the powers back from PoK Assembly to the Azad Jammu & Kashmir Council (AJKC) which is a puppet body of the Pakistan government. The amendment was envisaged to throttle the freedom of expression of the existing Political Parties and the Right of the people to form a Political Party, with the aim to further strengthen the complete control of Pakistan government over the affairs of PoK and the people thereof.
Raja Farooq Hyder Khan, Present Prime Minister of PoK belonging to PML (Peoples Muslim League Nawaz) had no other alternative but to resist the proposed amendment under the pressure from all around within the PoK, irrespective of the Political affiliations of the representatives of the Assembly as well as the public at large. The Prime Minister of PoK is well aware of the repercussions which may even cost him his post as the PM of PoK.
As per the proposed amendment, no person or political party in the so-called Azad Jammu & Kashmir, will be permitted to propagate against or take part in the activities prejudicial or detrimental to the ideology of the Pakistan government. Thus, the Legislative Assembly comprising of the representatives of the public are being barred from discussing and debating all the matters relating to their existence and survival with Pakistan, which has forcibly occupied the area otherwise belonging to the then State of J&K under the rule of Maharaja Shri Hari Singh, having legally signed the instrument of accession with India, on 26 October 1947, in the wake of Pakistan attack under the garb of Tribal raid.
Further, PoK Assembly has been prohibited from having any role in the list of 33 subjects covered under the third schedule of Interim Constitution of 1974.
It is pertinent to mention that there is a widespread discontent prevailing in the public of PoK against the government of Pakistan, and in particular against the Pakistan Army and ISI, who have been ruthlessly annihilating the public who have dared to raise their voice against the Pakistan government.
Recently one prominent figure of Mirpur, PoK namely, Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza, in an interview on the social media, was literally in tears and had objection to the word PoK. He wanted it to be referred as Po-J&K meaning thereby the Pakistan-occupied J&K and not PoK i.e. Pakistan occupied Kashmir alone. He claimed that he is not a Kashmiri but proud to be of Dogra heritage and belonging to a martial race of Jammu region. He further reminded that Mirpur, Poonch were the parts of Jammu Wazarat of Maharaja’s rule before 1947. He said that neither had he inherited the Kashmiri culture nor the Kashmiri language, still the whole part of occupied J&K is named as PoK instead of Po-J&K. He was remembering the fate of residents of Poonch, Mirpur and other areas, and also talked about the inhuman conditions that people have suffered at the hands of Pakistanis.
He recalled incidents right from 1947 till date, when his father was studying MBBS in a medical college in Lahore, but was not given a room in the Medical College Hostel till his 5th year of MBBS course because he belonged to J&K, and not the mainland of Punjab in Pakistan. Similarly, he recalled the horrible circumstances of Pakistani Raid in October 1947 in Mirpur, Poonch, Rajouri and Mendher when the Hindus and Sikhs were killed, and Hindu women as well as local Muslim women were captured and sold for Rs. 2/- each in the Lahore market.
The people of PoK as well those of Gilgit and Baltistan, which is centrally ruled by Pakistan, have expressed their strong resentment against the virtual occupation by Chinese companies and the Chinese nationals. Residents of PoK as well as Gilgit and Baltistan have strongly opposed the construction of various dams over river Jehlum and river Neelum. Even the Chinese nationals have taken the women of Gilgit and other areas to China on the pretext of marrying them and then selling them in China.
People in northern parts of PoK as well Gilgit and Baltistan are quite resentful of the expansionist designs of the Chinese government with the tacit approval of Pakistan government who are surviving on the mercy of China and virtually becoming a colony of China. Even the Pakistan Army & ISI, over the last decades, have been getting the Pakistani Punjabis settled in PoK and Gilgit, to suppress and exploit the local people there and outnumber their population.
It is high time that Govt. of India should nominate in exile the Prominent Pro-Indian elements of PoK settled in other countries to our J&K Legislative Council. Further, the government of India should morally and financially support the struggle in PoK for liberation from Pakistan, till a Military intervention for their liberation is brought about. The government of India should vociferously support the struggle of the residents of PoK as well as of Gilgit and Baltistan on every possible International Forum, the way Pakistan does not spare any chance to malign Indian government and in particular Indian Army in J&K.
(The writer is an Advocate and Retired
PCSO Law, Min. of Defence)


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