After its formation, Pakistan had great political expectations from
the Azad Kashmir, which was strategically nestled in the western
mountainous region that adjoins Pakistan to the valley of Kashmir.
However, those ambitions not only led the
country to fight several brutal wars with India, but also turned the
region once known as paradise into “a living hell,” according to an
opinion published in Pakistan’s The Dawn newspaper.
“It forms an archer’s bow that is about
100 miles long and about 20-40 miles wide. The Pakistani security
elite hoped that an arrow fired from the bow would bring about the
instant liberation of the vale of Kashmir from Indian occupation,”
Ahmad Faruqui, a Pakistani defence analyst, wrote in the editorial.
“The first arrow was fired almost within
days of creation. It plunged the entire region of Kashmir into armed
conflict. Fourteen months later, a ceasefire sponsored by the United
Nations took effect on Jan 1, 1949,” he adds.
The paper points out that people in Azad
Kashmir don’t even have access to basic amenities as they are caught
in the Indo-Pak conflict.
“During the past 62 years, the people of
Azad Kashmir have been unable to arise out of poverty in large
measure because they are caught in the crossfire between India and
Pakistan,” the report says.
“The land which their elders knew as a
mountain paradise has been turned into a living hell. Of the four
million people who inhabit the region, nine of 10 live in extremely
impoverished conditions in rural areas,” it adds.
Population growth is excessive, at 2.4
per cent per year, and the average house holds no fewer than seven
“Sadly, Azad Kashmir’s
future is as murky today as it was in 1947,” the article concludes.