- Azad Kashmir
region = Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)
latd = 34.22
longd = 73.28
pop_year = 2008
population = 4,567,982 (estimate)
Pahari Gojri Pashto
density_km2 = 306
area_km2 = 13,297
status = self-governing state under Pakistani control
districts = 8
towns = 19
unions = 182
established = 1948
governor = President Raja Zulqarnain Khan
minister = Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan
legislature = Legislative Assembly
seats = 49
website = http://www.ajk.gov.pk/main/index.html
website_title = Government of Azad Kashmir
The Azad State of Jammu and Kashmir, usually shortened to Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) or, simply, 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 of Jammu and Kashmirto the east (separated from it by the Line of Control), the North-West Frontier Provinceof Pakistan to the west, the Federally Administered Northern Areas(FANA) to the north, and the Punjab Provinceof Pakistan to the south. With its capital at Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir covers an area of 13,297 km² (5,134 mi²) and has an estimated population of about four million. 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 and Jammu, 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, ignoring a United Nations resolution on Kashmir, abandoned its pledge to hold a plebiscite and, in 1956, unilaterally annexed 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 is still referred to by India as part of "Pakistan-occupied Kashmir" (POK) and, conversely, the present Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmiris referred to by Pakistan as "Indian-occupied Kashmir."
Azad Kashmir's financial matters, i.e., budget and tax affairs, are dealt with by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council, instead of 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
British Indiain 1947, the princely states were given the option of joining either India or Pakistan. However, Hari Singh, the maharajaof 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. [http://www.indiatogether.org/peace/kashmir/intro.htm] As the maharaja hesitated, calls for union with Pakistan grew, particularly within Azad Kashmir. That development led to days of civil unrest and demonstrations that the maharaja tried to put down but which, instead, triggered a war between India and Pakistan. Nehru's government knew, although it never publicly admitted it, that there had been a fairly spontaneous revolt in the Jhelum valley and in other parts of what is now Azad Kashmir against the maharaja's purported decision to have his state accede to India.Fact|date=August 2008 That revolt is said to have occurred well before the raiders from the North-West Frontier Province and the Tribal Areas, who were backed by the Pakistani army, entered Kashmiri territory. [ [http://www.southasianmedia.net/magazine/journal/grasping_nettle.htm South Asian Journal ] ] The people of Azad Kashmir are known for their strong martial spirit and have resisted invaders down through the ages, including the Sikhs, the British, and the Dogras. Leaders such as Raja Sultan Khan of Bhimberare etched into the memories of the Azad Kashmiri people, as are the famous rebellions of the Gakkhars of Mirpur and the Mangral Rajputs of Kotli. [http://www.kashmiraffairs.org/interview_krishan%20dev%20sethi.html] The British used the town of Mirpur as a recruiting ground for the British Indian army. [ [http://www.world66.com/asia/southasia/pakistan/azad_kashmir/mirpur/history/prof_suresh_chand_2 Mirpur History - Prof. Suresh Chander ] ]
Azad Kashmir was awash with battle-hardened troops who had returned to their families after serving in the British army during the Second World War. In a series of pitched battles, the Dogra forces were practically wiped out due to the superior quality of the Azad Kashmir forces, and entire districts of Azad Kashmir such as Mirpur, Kotli, and
Muzaffarabadwere freed from Dogra rule. Upon hearing news of the fighting in Azad Kashmir and the plan to take the fight to Srinagar, tribal Pathanfighters from what is now known as the NWFPand FATAcame to help their brethren. Having no need to head into Azad Kashmir, the tribal armies entered the Kashmir valley along with Pakistani forces to oversee operations. Upon their arrival in the valley, they were met by Indian troops. Contrary to the popular belief that once the raiders had arrived, Indian troops were only then flown in, Alastair Lamb, an eminent historian and author of a series of books on Kashmir, has uncovered evidence based on declassified military papers that India had Patalia gunners at the Sringar airport by October 17, 1947, and has scoffed at the Indian apologists who have said that India’s invasion of Kashmir was a triumph of improvisation. Instead, he states that India had troops mobilized for an invasion of Kashmir by October 25th, meaning that the Indian army was in Kashmir in advance of the maharaja's decision. With the Indian army already in Kashmir, it is obvious why the maharaja handed over his state to India. The Indian troops managed to push the irregular forces back but were then engaged by the intruding Pakistani army. Fighting continued, and the front managed to stabilise at points near what is known today as the "Line of Control." However, Pakistani forces held a great deal of the higher ground and key points, and the Indian armed forces were spread dangerously thin and were running short of supplies. The battle of Beri Pattan illustrates just how precarious the position of the Indian armed forces was among a hostile population. [ [http://www.pakdef.info/pakmilitary/army/war/1948war.html Pakistan Military Consortium :: www.PakDef.info ] ]
As that point,
Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India, went to the U.N. for a cease-fire, which was agreed to by Pakistan. There was the promise of a referendum or plebiscite giving the people of Kashmir the right of self-determination. When it signed the ceasefire in 1948, India promised to offer the Kashmiris a plebiscite wherein they could decide whether to join India or Pakistan. In his own words on October 31, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru wired Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan's prime minister, that his promise was "not merely a pledge to your government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world." On November 2nd and 3rd, Nehru used the words "referendum under U.N. auspices." [ [http://www.hindu.com/fline/fl2120/stories/20041008000307600.htm Nehru's legacy to India ] ]
The matter was brought up in the U.N., and resolutions were passed to hold a plebiscite with regard to Kashmir's future. Unfortunately, neither India nor Pakistan has ever undertaken a plebiscite in its respective area of control in Kashmir due to the violation of the second part of the UN resolution. [ [http://www.indianembassy.org/policy/Kashmir/uncip(s1100).htm UNCIP Resolution of August 13, 1948 (S/1100) - Embassy of India, Washington, DC ] ] . 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 [ [http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmogip/ UNMOGIP: United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan ] ] since the 1972
Simla pactwhich 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 U.N.
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 trans-Karakoram 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.
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, instead. The state is administratively divided into two divisions which, in turn, are divided into eight districts.
Azad Kashmir is predominantly
Muslim. The majority of the population is culturally, linguistically, and ethnically related to the people of northern Punjab. The population of Azad Kashmir includes the following tribes:
Urduis the national language of Azad Kashmir but is only spoken by a minority. The dominant language spoken in AJK is Pahari. It is very similar to Pothwariand Hindko.
In the latter part of 2006, billions of dollars for development were mooted by
international aid agenciesfor the reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake-hit zones in Azad Kashmir, though much of those funds were sunsequently lost in bureaucratic channels, leading to delay in help reaching the most needy, and hundreds of people are still living in tents. [ [http://www.dawn.com/2006/10/01/nat9.htm Rs1.25 trillion to be spent in Azad Kashmir: Reconstruction in quake-hit zone - Dawn Pakistan] ] A land-use plan for Muzaffarabadcity was prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Notable Pakistani Kashmiris
*Lord Nazir Ahmed, member of
House of Lords
Karam Hussain, mayor of Kirklees, UK
Ghulam Ahmad, author, educator and philanthropist
Khawaja Zafar Iqbal, journalist
Dr. Ali Adnan Ibrahim, scholar, lawyer and professional
Saira Khan, BBC presenter
Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, sufi saint
Khalid Mahmood, member of parliament, UK
Sheikh Younas Azam, kashmiri journalist (deceased)
Shamas Rehman, activist
Baba Shadi Shaheed, sufi saint
Tassadaq Hussain Khan, former Chief of the Army
Muhammad Aziz Khan, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee, Pakistan Military
Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan, Vice Chief of General Staff
*Sardar Sabir Hussain Sabir, International Award winning Author, poet & prose writer.
*Tasnim Aslam, ambassador of Pakistan to Italy.
*Sardar Masood Khan, ambassador of Pakistan to the United Nations
*General(Retd)Muhammad Rahim Khan, former Chairman
Pakistan International Airlines& Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence
*Major General(Retd)Muhammad Hayat Khan, former President of Azad Jammu & Kashmir
2005 Kashmir earthquake
* [http://www.ajk.gov.pk Government of Azad Kashmir]
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