Pakistan Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) comprises of two areas: the so-called “Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)” and “Gilgit Baltistan (GB)”, which Pakistan had illegally occupied through armed action in 1947. Pakistan has kept the people of this region guessing on their status. As a constitutional entity, the so-called “AJK” is unique. It has been given the trappings of a country, with a President, a Prime Minister and a Legislature of its own.
But the so-called “AJK” is neither a country nor a province. The Karachi Agreement (April 28, 1949) truncated PoJK and brought more than 85% of the land, strategically important for its connectivity with China and control of rivers, under Pakistan’s direct control.
- Pakistan has continued its stranglehold on these occupied territories through a series of administrative and legislative measures, beginning with the bifurcation and annexation of 85% of the territory in 1949.
- From the time of the Karachi Agreement, the so-called “AJK” President and Prime Minister have enjoyed only titular power, that too at the pleasure of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs (later on Ministry of Kashmir and Northern Areas (KANA) and then Ministry of Kashmir and GB).
- The Kashmir Council, dominated by Pakistani federal authorities, is vested with wide-ranging powers, including the authority to appoint and dismiss judges of the superior courts and to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner. The 13th amendment to the ‘Interim Constitution’ of PoJK actually, transferred the Kashmir Council’s powers to the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
- Interim Constitution of PoJK places several restrictions on anyone criticizing the region’s so-called accession to Pakistan, in contravention of Pakistan’s commitments to uphold the rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, assembly and association.
- State Subject Rule was scrapped in the so-called GB in 1974, allowing outsiders to settle, purchase property in ‘GB’. This has systematically altered the demography of this region. Pakistan State agencies and their proxies have also systematically used violence against the population in PoJK. Cases of enforced disappearances, murder, detentions, custodial deaths and police torture of civil rights activists/ representatives of local political parties & journalists are common. There is a standard practice by the security forces to silence voices against the Pakistani government.