It is no hidden truth that Pakistan continues to harp on Kashmir to attract international attention in desperate attempts to conceal how it has unleashed terror and exploitation in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK).
Turning PoK into a breeding ground for terrorism, which it can then push onto the Indian soil, Pakistan has battered and bruised the rugged terrains and flushing meadows of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). As the country holds on to its obsession with India and Kashmir, here’s why it’s important to bring to light what is actually transpiring in PoK.
Changes in demography
Pakistan had illegally occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir after Pathan tribesmen infiltrated Kashmir from the northwest frontier province back in 1947. India has since then strongly maintained that PoK is an integral part of its territory.
According to a recent report, there are about 60 terror camps running in PoK which have been used since the 1980s for fomenting an “anti-India sentiment in Kashmir”. While thousands of security forces and Kashmiris have been killed over the last three decades, the biggest proof of Pakistan’s exploitation of PoK and the people of Kashmir lies in how it has successfully managed to completely alter its demography since 1947.
Presently, there are only 8% of the original inhabitants-Kashmiris-living in the PoK, one of the main reasons why Pakistan is fulminating at the global stage to carry out a referendum in J&K including the PoK and GB.
PoK vs Kashmir: Economic Parameters
Even if the debate boils down to plain hard facts here is how PoK fares in comparison to Kashmir.
The poverty rate in PoK stands at 34% with the unemployment rate being 18.1% as compared to a poverty rate of 10.35% in J&K and an unemployment rate of 12.13%.
The superfluous affection depicted by Pakistan towards Kashmir can be gauged by the fact that PoK government has spent only Rs 135 cr in 2019 on education against Rs 1100 cr by the Indian government in J&K. Even the figures of universities and educational institutes in J&K is overwhelming with 183 universities and colleges including 18 medical colleges in comparison to only 8 such institutes in PoK including 3 medical colleges.
The spending on the health care system has been alarming where the Indian government has spent Rs 3,000 cr in J&K in 2019 against mere spending of Rs 29 cr in PoK.
Abuse of Human Rights
Pakistan’s true agenda for PoK has never been its development or changing its economic fortunes but for reserving and unleashing the spectre of terrorism from its soil to target Kashmiri civilians and Indian security forces.
Civilians of PoK and GB who are constitutional citizens of India are under constant threat of terrorism perpetrated by the Pakistani state which is also backed by a “China-led genocide”. The biggest example of this is the worst demographic engineering which is occurring in the region in the name of a “China Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC) that encourages illegal settlements of Pakistanis and Chinese in the region.
In March this year, political activists from Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) raised concerns over the worsening human rights situation in the region and the issue was discussed at length during the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday, March 6.
Time is not far away when civilians rise up in rebellion against Pakistan in PoK and GB rejecting its terror-backed agenda to fully merge with J&K.