Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) or, for short, Azad Kashmir(literally, "free Kashmir") is the southernmost political entity within the Pakistani-controlled part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. It borders the present-day Indian-administered state ofJammu and Kashmir to the east (separated from it by the Line of Control), the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan to the west, the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) to the north, and the Punjab Province of Pakistan to the south. With its capital atMuzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir covers an area of 13,297 km² (5,134 mi²) and has an estimated population of about four million.
Azad Kashmir's financial matters, i.e., budget and tax affairs, are dealt with by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council, rather than by Pakistan's Central Board of Revenue. The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council is a supreme body consisting of 11 members, six from the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and five from the government of Pakistan. Its chairman/chief executive is the president of Pakistan. Other members of the council are the president and the prime minister of Azad Kashmir and a few other AJK ministers.
After the Partition of India in 1947, the princely states were given the option of joining either India or Pakistan. However, Hari Singh, the maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, wanted Jammu and Kashmir to remain independent. In order to buy some time, he signed a stand-still agreement, which side-stepped the agreement that each princely state would join either India or Pakistan. The raiders from North-West Frontier Province and the Tribal Areas feared that Hari Singh may join Indian Union. In October 1947 supported by Pakistani Army they attacked Kashmir and tried to take over control of Kashmir. Initially Hari Singh tried to resist their progress but failed. Hari Singh then requested Indian Union to help. India responded that it could not help unless Kashmir joins India. So on 26 October 1947 Kashmir accession papers were signed and Indian troops were airlifted to Srinagar. Fighting ensued between Indian Army & Pakistani Army with control stabilizing more or less around what is now the "Line of Control".
Later, India approached UN to solve dispute & resolutions were passed to hold a plebiscite with regard to Kashmir's future. However this plebiscite has not been held on either side since the legal requirement for the holding of a plebiscite was the withdrawal of the Indian and Pakistani armies from the parts of Kashmir that were under their respective control--a withdrawal that never did take place. . In 1949, a cease-fire line separating the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir was formally put into effect. After the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971, that line changed significantly in a few areas, and the new line, which was formally agreed to in 1972, was designated as the "Line of Control," separating the Indian and Pakistani forces and the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of the former princely state.
The Line of Control has remained unchanged since the 1972 Simla pact, which bound the two countries "to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations." Some political experts claim that, in view of that pact, the only solution to the issue is mutual negotiation between the two countries without involving a third party, such as the United Nations.
Following the 1949 cease-fire agreement, the government of Pakistan divided the northern and western parts of Kashmir which it held into the following two separately-controlled political entities:
- Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) - the narrow southern part, 250 miles (400 km) long, with a width varying from 10 to 40 miles (15 to 65 km).
- Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) - the much larger area to the north of AJK, 72,496 km² (27,991 mi² ), directly administered by Pakistan as a de facto dependent territory, i.e., a non-self-governing territory.
An area of Kashmir that was once under Pakistani control, but is no longer, is the Shaksgam tract--a small region along the northeastern border of the Northern Areas that was provisionally ceded by Pakistan to the People's Republic of China in 1963 and which now forms part of China's Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang.
According to Pakistan's constitution, Azad Kashmir is not part of Pakistan, and its inhabitants have never had any representation in Pakistan's parliament].As far as the United Nations is concerned, the entire area of the former princely state of Kashmir, including Azad Kashmir, remains a disputed territory still awaiting resolution of the long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan. In 1950, the government of India, held local assembly elections in Indian administered Kashmir and regarded the outcome as a referendum by which in 1956, unilaterally reorganised that portion of the former state that was under its control, thereby making that portion an integral part of India. The government of Pakistan, on the other hand, continues to this day to regard the entire area of the former state as "territory in dispute" to be resolved by a plebiscite to be held at some future date, in order to determine the entire area's accession to either India or Pakistan. While continuing to call for that plebiscite, however, the government of Pakistan has, so far, been unwilling to entertain the idea of a third option for the plebiscite, i.e., a choice of independence for the entire former state. Today, Azad Kashmir and FANA are together referred to by India as "Pakistan-occupied Kashmir" (POK) and, conversely, the present Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir is referred to by Pakistan as "Indian-occupied Kashmir."
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is a self-governing state under Pakistani control but is not constitutionally part of Pakistan. It has its own elected president, prime minister, legislature, high court, and official flag. The government of Pakistan has not yet allowed the state to issue its own postage stamps, however, and Pakistani stamps are used in the state, instead. The state is administratively divided into two divisions which, in turn, are divided into eight districts.
|Division||District||Area (km²)||Population (1998)||Headquarters|
|AJK total||8 districts||13,297||2,972,501||Muzaffarabad|
Urdu is the official language of Azad Kashmir but is spoken by only a minority of people. The dominant language spoken in the state is Pahari, which is very similar to Pothwari and Hindko.
In the latter part of 2006, billions of dollars for development were mooted by international aid agencies for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake-hit zones in Azad Kashmir, though much of those funds were subsequently lost in bureaucratic channels, leading to delay in help reaching the most needy, and hundreds of people are still living in tents. A land-use plan for Muzaffarabad city was prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Etymology
Many historians and locals believe that Jammu was founded by Raja Jamboolochan in 14th century BCE. During one of his hunting campaigns he reached the Tawi River where he saw a goat and a lion drinking water at the same place. The king was impressed and decided to set up a town after his name, Jamboo. With the passage of time, the name was corrupted and became "Jammu". According to one "folk etymology", the name "Kashmir" means "desiccated land" (from the Sanskrit: Ka = water and shimeera = desiccate). According to another folk etymology, following Hindu mythology, the sage Kashyapa drained a lake to produce the land now known as Kashmir.
In the Rajatarangini, a history of Kashmir written by Kalhana in mid-12th century, it is stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake. This was drained by the great rishi or sage, Kashyapa, son of Marichi, son of Brahma, by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula). When Kashmir had been drained, Kashyapa asked Brahmans to settle there. This is still the local tradition, and in the existing physical condition of the country, we may see some ground for the story which has taken this form. The name of Kashyapa is by history and tradition connected with the draining of the lake, and the chief town or collection of dwellings in the valley was called Kashyapa-pura name which has been identified with the Kao-1r6.nupos of Hecataeus (apud Stephen of Byzantium) and Kaspatyros of Herodotus (3.102, 4.44). Kashmir is the country meant also by Ptolemy's Kao-ir,~pta.
Kashmir was one of the major centre of Sanskrit scholars. According to Mahabharata evidence , the Kambojas had ruled over Kashmir during epic times and that it was a Republican system of government under the Kamboj. The capital city of Kashmir (Kamboj) during epic times was Karna-Rajapuram-gatva-Kambojah-nirjitastava, shortened to Rajapura,which has been identified with modern Rajauri. Later, the Panchalas are stated to have established their sway. The name Peer Panjal, which is a part of modern Kashmir, is a witness to this fact. Panjal is simply a distorted form of the Sanskritic tribal term Panchala. The Muslims prefixed the word peer to it in memory of Siddha Faqir and the name thereafter is said to have changed into Peer Panjal. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka is often credited with having founded the city of Srinagar. Kashmir was once a Buddhist seat of learning, perhaps with the Sarvāstivādan school dominating. East and Central Asian Buddhist monks are recorded as having visited the kingdom. In the late 4th century AD, the famous Kuchanese monk Kumārajīva, born to an Indian noble family, studied Dīrghāgama and Madhyāgama in Kashmir under Bandhudatta. He later becoming a prolific translator who helped take Buddhism to China. His mother Jīva is thought to have retired to Kashmir. Vimalākṣa, a Sarvāstivādan Buddhist monk, travelled from Kashmir to Kucha and there instructed Kumārajīva in the Vinayapiṭaka.
In the 14th century, Islam gradually became the dominant religion in Kashmir, starting with the conversion in 1323 of Rincana, the first king of a new dynasty from Ladakh. The Muslims and Hindus of Kashmir lived in relative harmony, since the Sufi-Islamic way of life that ordinary Muslims followed in Kashmir complemented the Rishi tradition of Kashmiri Pandits. This led to a syncretic culture where Hindus and Muslims revered the same local saints and prayed at the same shrines. The famous sufi saint Bulbul Shah was able to persuade the king of the time Rinchan Shah from Ladakh to adopt the Islamic way of life, and the foundation of Sufiana composite culture was laid when Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were co-existing.
Several Kashmiri rulers, such as Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, were tolerant of all religions in a manner comparable to Akbar. However, several Muslim rulers of Kashmir were intolerant to other religions. Sultãn Sikandar Butshikan of Kashmir (AD 1389-1413) and his (former Brahmin) minister Saif ud-Din are often considered the worst of these. Historians have recorded many of his atrocities. The Tarikh-i-Firishta records that Sikandar persecuted the Hindus and issued orders proscribing the residence of any other than Muslims in Kashmir. He also ordered the breaking of all "golden and silver images".
The metrical chronicle of the kings of Kashmir, called Rajatarangini, has (erroneousy) been pronounced by Professor H.I. Wilson to be the only Sanskrit composition yet discovered to which the appellation "history" can with any propriety be applied. It first became known to the Muslims when, on Akbar's invasion of Kashmir in 1588, an amalgamated version was presented to the emperor. A translation into Persian was made at his order. A summary of its contents, taken from this Persian translation, is given by Abul Fazl in the Ain-i-Akbari. The Rajatarangini was written by Kalhana in the middle of the 12th century. His work, in eight books, makes use of earlier writings that are now lost.
The Rajatarangini is the first of a series of four histories that record the annals of Kashmir. Commencing with a rendition of traditional 'history' of very early times (3102 BCE), the Rajatarangini comes down to the reign of Sangrama Deva, (c.1006 AD) and Kalhana. The second work, by Jonaraja, continues the history from where Kalhana left off, and, entering the Muslim period, gives an account of the reigns down to that of Zain-ul-ab-ad-din, 1412. P. Srivara carried on the record to the accession of Fah Shah in 1486. The fourth work, called Rajavalipataka, by Prajnia Bhatta, completes the history to the time of the incorporation of Kashmir in the dominions of the Mogul emperor Akbar, 1588.
Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu
By the early 19th century, the Kashmir valley had passed from the control of the Durrani Empire of Afghanistan, and four centuries of Muslim rule under the Mughals and the Afghans, to the conquering Sikh armies. Earlier, in 1780, after the death of Ranjit Deo, the Raja of Jammu, the kingdom of Jammu (to the south of the Kashmir valley) was captured by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh of Lahore and afterwards, until 1846, became a tributary to the Sikh power. Ranjit Deo's grandnephew, Gulab Singh, subsequently sought service at the court of Ranjit Singh, distinguished himself in later campaigns, especially the annexation of the Kashmir valley by the Sikhs army in 1819, and, for his services, was created Raja of Jammu in 1820. With the help of his officer, Zorawar Singh, Gulab Singh soon captured Ladakh and Baltistan, regions to the east and north-east of Jammu.
In 1845, the First Anglo-Sikh War broke out, and Gulab Singh "contrived to hold himself aloof till the battle of Sobraon (1846), when he appeared as a useful mediator and the trusted advisor of Sir Henry Lawrence. Two treaties were concluded. By the first the State of Lahore (i.e. West Punjab) handed over to the British, as equivalent for (rupees) one crore of indemnity, the hill countries between Beas and Indus; by the second the British made over to Gulab Singh for (Rupees) 75 lakhs all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the east of Indus and west of Ravi" (i.e. the Vale of Kashmir). Soon after Gulab Singh's death in 1857, his son, Ranbir Singh, added the emirates of Hunza, Gilgit and Nagar to the kingdom.
The Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu (as it was then called) was constituted between 1820 and 1858 and was "somewhat artificial in composition and it did not develop a fully coherent identity, partly as a result of its disparate origins and partly as a result of the autocratic rule which it experienced on the fringes of Empire." It combined disparate regions, religions, and ethnicities: to the east, Ladakh was ethnically and culturally Tibetan and its inhabitants practised Buddhism; to the south, Jammu had a mixed population of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs; in the heavily populated central Kashmir valley, the population was overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, however, there was also a small but influential Hindu minority, the Kashmiri brahmins or pandits; to the northeast, sparsely populated Baltistan had a population ethnically related to Ladakh, but which practised Shi'aIslam; to the north, also sparsely populated, Gilgit Agency, was an area of diverse, mostly Shi'a groups; and, to the west, Punch was Muslim, but of different ethnicity than the Kashmir valley. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, in which Kashmir sided with the British, and the subsequent assumption of direct rule by Great Britain, the princely state of Kashmir came under the paramountcy of the British Crown.
Ranbir Singh's grandson Hari Singh ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925. The Maharajah Hari Singh never represented the will of his subjects, creating tension between the Hindu rulers and the Muslim population of Kashmir. Muslims in Kashmir detested him, as they were heavily taxed and had grown tired of his insensitivity to their religious concerns. The Dogra rule (the name of the municipal governments) had excluded Muslims from the civil service and the armed services. Islamic religious ceremonies were taxed. Historically, Muslims were banned from organizing politically, which would only be tolerated beginning in the 1930s. In 1931, in response to a sermon that had tones of opposition to the government, the villages of Jandial, Makila, and Dana were ransacked and destroyed by the Dogra army, with their inhabitants burned alive. A legislative assembly, with no real power, was created in January, 1947. It issued one statement that represented the will of the Muslim people: "After carefully considering the position, the conference has arrived at the conclusion that accession of the State to Pakistan is absolutely necessary in view of the geographic, economic, linguistic, cultural and religious conditions…It is therefore necessary that the State should accede to Pakistan".
This is one of the rare instances that an elected block of the people of Kashmir had been given the chance to speak. Representing the subjects who elected them, they sought accession with Muslim Pakistan. Prem Nath Bazaz, founder of the Kashmir Socialist Party in 1943, a reliable primary source of history, reiterated that a majority of Kashmiris were against the decision of the Maharajah in his book, The History of The Struggle of Freedom In Kashmir. He writes, "The large majority of the population of the State, almost the entire Muslim community and an appreciable number of non Muslims was totally against the Maharjah declaring accession to India." This statement, and the decision reached by the legislative assembly are important because they dispel any belief that the Kashmiris' religious ties with Pakistan did not necessarily indicate a will to unite. Indeed, the ethnic bond between Kashmir and Pakistan influenced a majority of the people to seek accession with Pakistan. The Hindu Maharajah would not listen, and continued to delay his decision about which nation to join.
Ranbir Singh's grandson Hari Singh, who had ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925, was the reigning monarch in 1947 at the conclusion of British rule of the subcontinent and the subsequent partition of the British Indian Empire into the newly independent Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. As parties to the partition process, both countries had agreed that the rulers of princely states would be given the right to opt for either Pakistan or India or Iin special cases to remain independent. In 1947, Kashmir's population was "77% Muslim and 20% Hindu" To postpone making a hurried decision, the Maharaja signed a "standstill" agreement with Pakistan, which ensured continuity of trade, travel, communication, and similar services between the two. Such and agreement was pending with India. In October 1947, Pashtuns from Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province invaded Kashmir. The ostensible aim of the guerilla campaign was to frighten Hari Singh into submission. "Instead the Maharaja appealed to Mountbatten for assistance, and the Governor-General agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India."Once the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession, "Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani-sponsored irregulars from all but a small section of the state. The United Nations was then invited to mediate the quarrel. The UN mission insisted that the opinion of Kashmiris must be ascertained, while India insisted that no referendum could occur until all of the state had been cleared of irregulars." However, this chain of events is disputed by Pakistan, which claims that the Indian army entered Kashmir before the Instrument of Accession was signed.
The Pakistani government immediately contested the accession, suggesting that it was fraudulent, that the Maharaja acted under duress, and that he had no right to sign an agreement with India when the standstill agreement with Pakistan was still in force.
According to the instruments of partition of India, the rulers of princely states were given the choice to freely accede to either India or Pakistan, or to remain independent. They were, however, advised to accede to the contiguous dominion, taking into consideration the geographical and ethnic issues.
In Kashmir, however, the Maharaja hesitated. The Maharaja, fearing pressure from Pakistan army which entered Kashmir, agreed to join India by signing the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947. Kashmir was provisionally accepted into the Indian Union pending a free and impartial plebiscite. This was spelled out in a letter from the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten, to the Maharaja on 27 October 1947. In the letter, accepting the accession, Mountbatten made it clear that the State would only be incorporated into the Indian Union after a reference had been made to the people of Kashmir.
In the last days of 1948, a ceasefire was agreed under UN auspices; however, since the plebiscite demanded by the UN was never conducted, relations between India and Pakistan soured, and eventually led to two more wars over Kashmir in 1965 and 1999. India has control of about half the area of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir; Pakistan controls a third of the region, the Northern Areas, or historically known as regions of Gilgit and Baltistan; and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Although there was a clear Muslim majority in Kashmir before the 1947 partition and its economic, cultural, and geographic contiguity with the Muslim-majority area of the Punjab (in Pakistan) could be convincingly demonstrated, the political developments during and after the partition resulted in a division of the region. Pakistan was left with territory that, although basically Muslim in character, was thinly populated, relatively inaccessible, and economically underdeveloped. The largest Muslim group, situated in the Vale of Kashmir and estimated to number more than half the population of the entire region, lay in Indian-administered territory, with its former outlets via the Jhelum valley route blocked."
The UN Security Council on 20 January 1948 passed Resolution 39, establishing a special commission to investigate the conflict. Subsequent to the commission's recommendation, the Security Council ordered in its Resolution 47, passed on 21 April 1948, that the invading Pakistani army retreat from Jammu & Kashmir and that the accession of Kashmir to either India or Pakistan be determined in accordance with a plebiscite to be supervised by the UN. In a string of subsequent resolutions, the Security Council took notice of the continuing failure by India to hold the plebiscite. However, no punitive action against India could be taken by the Security Council because its resolution requiring India to hold a Plebescite was non-binding, and the Pakistani army never left the part of the Kashmir they occupied as required by the Security Council resolution 47. The Government of India holds that the Maharaja signed a document of accession to India October 26, 1947. Pakistan has disputed whether the Maharaja actually signed the accession treaty before Indian troops entered Kashmir. Furthermore, Pakistan claims the Indian government has never produced an original copy of this accession treaty and thus its validity and legality is disputed. However, India has produced the instrument of accession with an original copy image on its website. Alan Campbell-Johnson, the press attache to the Viceroy of India states that "The legality of the accession is beyond doubt."
The eastern region of the erstwhile princely state of Kashmir has also been beset with a boundary dispute. In the late 19th- and early 20th centuries, although some boundary agreements were signed between Great Britain, Afghanistan and Russia over the northern borders of Kashmir, China never accepted these agreements, and the official Chinese position did not change with the communist takeover in 1949. By the mid-1950s the Chinese army had entered the north-east portion of Ladakh. : "By 1956–57 they had completed a military road through the Aksai Chin area to provide better communication between Xinjiang and western Tibet. India's belated discovery of this road led to border clashes between the two countries that culminated in the Sino-Indian war of October 1962." China has occupied Aksai Chin since 1962 and, in addition, an adjoining region, the Trans-Karakoram Tract was ceded by Pakistan to China in 1965.
In 1949, the Indian government obliged Hari Singh to leave Jammu and Kashmir, and yield the government to Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of a popular political party, the National Conference Party. Since then, a bitter enmity has been developed between India and Pakistan and three wars have taken place between them over Kashmir. The growing dispute over Kashmir also lead to the rise of militancy in the state. The year1989 saw the intensification of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir as Mujahadeens from Afghanistan slowly infiltrated the region following the end of the Soviet-Afghan War the same year.
History of Tourism in Kashmir
During the 19th century rule, Kashmir was a popular tourist destination due to its climate. Formerly only 200 passes a year were issued by the government, but now no restriction is placed on visitors. European sportsmen and travellers, in addition to residents of India, traveled there freely. The railway to Rawalpindi, and a road thence to Srinagar made access to the valley easier. When the temperature in Srinagar rises at the beginning of June, the residents would migrate to Gulmarg, which was a fashionable hillstation during British rule. This great influx of visitors resulted in a corresponding diminution of game for the sportsmen. Special game preservation rules have been introduced, and nullahs are let out for stated periods with a restriction on the number of head to be shot. Rawalakot and Bagh are another popular destination.
Historical Demographics of Kashmir
In the 1901 Census of the British Indian Empire, the population of the princely state of Kashmir was 2,905,578. Of these 2,154,695 were Muslims, 689,073 Hindus, 25,828 Sikhs, and 35,047 Buddhists. The Hindus were found mainly in Jammu, where they constituted a little less than 50% of the population. In the Kashmir Valley, the Hindus represented "only 524 in every 10,000 of the population (i.e. 5.24%), and in the frontier wazarats of Ladhakh and Gilgit only 94 out of every 10,000 persons (0.94%)." In the same Census of 1901, in the Kashmir Valley, the total population was recorded to be 1,157,394, of which the Muslim population was 1,083,766, or 93.6% of the population. These percentages have remained fairly stable for the last 100 years. In the 1941 Census of British India, Muslims accounted for 93.6% of the population of the Kashmir Valley and the Hindus constituted 4%. In 2003, the percentage of Muslims in the Kashmir Valley was 95% and those of Hindus 4%; the same year, in Jammu, the percentage of Hindus was 67% and those of Muslims 27%, In the same Census of 1901, four division