Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) which is called as Azad Kashmir in Pakistan has always been a heated topic of discussion between India and Pakistan since 1947. For most of the people like us, Pok has always been a mystery as very less is written or said about the place.
Lets know some lesser known facts about Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) which India should get back from Pakistan:
1. United Nations and other international organisations refers PoK as “Pakistan-administered Kashmir”
PoK shares its border with China and Afghanistan too.
2. Pok was never directly ruled by the Britishers
During the British rule Jammu and Kashmir was under the rule of Maharaj Hari Singh. So technically PoK was never under the direct rule of the British.
3. Maharaj Hari Singh wanted Jammu and Kashmir to remain independent
During partition, Jammu and Kashmir was given the option to join either India or Pakistan but Maharaja Hari Singh decided to keep it as an independent state.
4. Pathan Tribesmen invasion into Jammu and Kashmir
The invasion of the independent Jammu and kashmir came from Pathan Tribesmen.Pakistan denied its role in the invasion but the evidences have different story.
5. PoK coveres area of 13,297 square kilometres (5,134 sq mi), having approximate population of 4.6 million people
Capital of PoK is located at Muzaffarabad
6. Instrument of Accession
Maharaja Hari Singh wrote a letter to Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor-General of India, asking for help from Pathan tribesmen invasion. In the reply Lord Mountbatten accepted the accession with a remark
It is my Government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Jammu and Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people.
Finally on 26th October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession to India.
7. 26th October is celebrated as Accession Day
Accession Day is celebrated as a holiday in Jammu and Kashmir. On 26 October 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh signed instrument of Accession to India. People celebrate by bursting firecrackers, sing national anthem of India and hoisting Indian flag.
8. Black Day for separatists
Kashmiri separatists observe Accession Day as Black Day.
9. Sino-Pakistan Agreement
That extreme northern park of PoK, which are shown as part of China is a result of the Sino-Pakistan agreement of 1963. Technically, the Pakistanis gifted China the territory.
The area marked as “territory ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963”, in the map below.
10. Governed by Pakistan controlled Legislative assembly
PoK claims to have its self-governing legislative assembly but the fact is not hidden that it is under control of Pakistan.
11. President and Prime minister
The President of PoK is the head of the state while the prime minister is the chief executive who is supported by a Council of Ministers.
12. PoK has its own Supreme Court and a High Court
13. Training camps of terrorist organizations
Lashkar-e-Taiba, one the largest terrorist organizations in South Asia has its several training camps in PoK.
14. Azmal Kasab underwent his training in Muzaffarabad
One of the convicted of the 26/11 attack on India Ajmal Kasab received his marine warfare training in Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK in Pakistan.
15. No freedom of expression
PoK lacks an independent media, everything there is controlled by the Pakistan government.
16. Pok Radio
Only one radio station known as Azad Kashmir Radio is allowed to operate in PoK.
17. 87% of the households owns farms in PoK
The economy of PoK largely depends of agriculture. Apart from this tourism is also helps people tp earn their living. It is also said that members of British Mirpuri community send remittances here.
18. Reason for war
Apart from the 1971 war, all the other disputes between India and Pakistan is related to PoK issue.
19. Matter of pride
The undisputed valley has no economic value to both the countries. But it is a matter of pride for both Indian and Pakistan. Any government who dares to go soft on the matter would mean a political suicide for their party.
20. Decision of Jawaharlal Nehru
The first Prime minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru move to approach the United Nations for settling the PoK issue is considered wrong by many. This is what left the dispute unresolved.
21. Plebiscite demanded by the United Nations
During the first war of India Pakistan which started in 1947 United Nations intervened and ordered ceasefire between the two countries. But the plebiscite demanded by the U.N. could not move forward because they left may issues unresolved. Since then the heat between India and Pakistan as only increased.