Here is all you need to know about POJK (Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir)– Areas that Pakistan occupied illegally during 1947, 1965 and 1971
Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) is that part of Jammu and Kashmir, which was illegally occupied by Pakistan during its invasion on the princely state during 1947 and subsequently in 1965 and 1971. These areas are Bhimber, Mirpur, Kotli, Muzaffarabad, Deva Batala, Gilgit, Baltistan, and parts of Poonch that fell to Pakistan.
History of accession of J&K to India
Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state and ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh and it was spread in a geographical area of approximately 2,22,236 sq. km. During 1947, British was ruling India and using two types of administrative arrangements to govern the country viz. ‘British India’ and ‘Princely State’. British India was directly governed by the British Crown whereas the princely states were ruled by the respective rulers under the suzerainty of British crown. At the time of independence of India in 1947, British India was divided on the basis of communal award and a new country Pakistan was carved out of British India. But the rulers of the princely states were given complete freedom to choose the fate of their states and accede either to India or Pakistan.
A common framework, for this purpose, was developed by India in the form of Instrument of Accession (IoA) that has to be signed by the respective rulers and the same has to be signified by the then Governor-General of India Lord Mountbatten. Jammu and Kashmir was the one of those princely states, whose ruler has to make a choice between India and Pakistan, and his decision would be final in the matter of accession. The Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir signed the IoA in favour of India on October 26, 1947 and the then Governor General signified it on the next day. Hence, the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of India.
Pakistan invasion and illegal Occupation on parts of J&K
But before the instrument of accession would have been signed in favour of India, Pakistan invaded Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani mercenaries killed thousands of men, women and children mercilessly. It was the gruesome murder of those innocent people, who could not run away. Thousands of men and children were killed whereas females were raped in this onslaught. Lakhs of people had to flee from their homes to save their own life. As per the eyewitness, in Mirpur itself, out of the total population of 25,000 of the village, around 18,000 people were brutally killed and 3,500 were seriously injured in the carnage of three days i.e. 25, 26 and 27 November, 1947. According to some estimates 70-80% of population was brutally murdered by the Pakistani assassinators in uniform.
The entire preparation was made in Abbottabad and Pakistani army men alongwith 5000 tribals waged the war against the people of POJK led by Maj Gen Akbar Khan, who was identified with the name “Gen Tariq”, of the Pakistan Army. The onslaught on these people was perpetuated by the Pakistani army, who infiltrated in J&K and managed to usurp the major portion of it. The affected areas of J&K were Bhimber, Mirpur, Kotli, Muzaffarabad, Deva Batala, Gilgit, Baltistan, and parts of Poonch that fell to Pakistan and they are now collectively called the POJK. Presently, India has only 1,01,387 sq.km. of land with it and rest of the area is illegally occupied by Pakistan and China. Around 78,114 sq.kms. of Jammu and Kashmir is under illegal occupation of Pakistan
Pakistan divided POJK into two parts
In 1970 Pakistan divided the areas of Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) into two parts viz. Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas). It is essential to note here that only Pakistan calls it AJK but as such Azadi (freedom) is not there and as per international laws also there is no freedom in the region. Gilgit-Baltistan on the other was the integral part of Jammu and Kashmir but Pakistan is making an attempt to show it as a separate region from Jammu and Kashmir; hence using the nomenclature ‘Northern Areas’. These two regions are created only to misguide national and international agencies and diverting the attention from the illegality of the occupation of Pakistan.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir was a self-governing State under the control of Pakistan with a President, Prime Minister and a Legislative Assembly whereas the Northern Areas that include Gilgit and Baltistan regions have been made into an autonomous self-governing body under Pakistan control called Gilgit-Baltistan. Gilgit-Baltistan has a Governor appointed from Islamabad and a Chief Minister. Both the regions are facing enormous hardship and exploitation in the hands of Pakistan. For more than last six decades POJK has borne the brunt of sectarian violence, no development of civic infrastructure and amenities, denial of fundamental rights and oppression by Islamabad based polity. Democratic voices are crushed ruthlessly by Pakistan and political rights are denied to the people of these tow region of Jammu and Kashmir. Regular Shia-Sunni conflicts are also reported from Gilgit-Baltistan and extreme measures are used against Shia community. There is a sustained and systematic campaign for disturbing the demographic order of this region by encouraging large scale migration from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Surprisingly, the gross violation in POJK is never discussed in the national and international arena. Even the UN does not bother to look into the plight of the hapless people from this region.