The part of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan is kept behind closed doors and have no connection with modern and developed world. The local population several times had raised their voices for mismanagement of resources by Pakistani government. The people living in POK do not have access to modern education and health facilities. People are struggling with problems like poor infrastructure, unemployment and lack of government welfare schemes for common people. Pakistani government have strict control over media and due to lack of leadership in POK, the problems and dissatisfaction of common people are not expressed properly to the Pakistani government.
Pakistan occupied Kashmir suffers from poor infrastructure. Locals blame none other than the Pakistani army or ‘the establishment’ for keeping the region under developed. Pakistan is using POK for anti-India terrorist activities, for disturbing the peace of Jammu and Kashmir administered by India. From that region Pakistan spreads false and fabricated contents against India and Jammu Kashmir. The aim is to keep the issue of Kashmir internationally alive so that Pakistan can gain sympathy in International platforms against India. Pakistan uses local youths of POK for promoting terrorism. We all know that there are multiple terror camps in POK. Islamabad has converted POK as a center of terrorism and extremism but on the other side New Delhi is making Kashmir one of the most developed area through its policies.
Due to strong policies designed by Government of India, now Jammu and Kashmir is attracting investment from different parts of the world. EMAAR Group of United Arab Emirates have shown interest for investment in Jammu and Kashmir. Several other industrial giants like Lulu Group, Jindal, Apollo already have invested in Jammu and Kashmir region. There are vast opportunities in the union territory, that’s why in 2021 it attracted investment of US$ 2.5 Billion.Prime Minister Narendra Modi met delegates from UAE for investment and business opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir. He knows that investment, education and employment are the three pillars which can make the area developed. India will also host upcoming G20 summit in J&K. To attract investment form foreign countries, J&K administration had designed industrial development scheme with an expenditure of 28,400 crore. As per government data last year 2,402-kilometer roads were constructed. National Highway projects worth Rs 11,721 crore will open the way for social and economic development in the region. It will help to enhance tourism opportunities. It was clear that Article 370 was the major reason for underdevelopment of J&K. It was hindering the regions social and economic development. Cross border terrorism was a major problem. But the data of Ministry of Home Affairs shows that the incidences of terrorism have decreased significantly after abrogation of article 370. Government is trying its best to settle down the Kashmiri Pandits back in Kashmir. As per the data 44,167 Kashmiri Hindus had left the valley in 1990 for security reasons. Government of India stated in Rajya Sabha that 3841 Kashmiri migrants have returned to the valley. They also had taken up jobs under Prime Ministers rehabilitation package.
Scenario of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
If we compare then we will see, Pakistan spends only 135 crore rupees per year for education in POK but Government of India is spending 1100 crore rupees for education in J&K. Literacy rate in Gilgit Baltistan is significantly poor, only 14% men and 3.5% women are literate. Although, this rate is 60% in POK. On the other hand, in J&K literacy rate is 67.16%. There are total ten state university and 2 central university with four premier institutions in J&K region. Universities in POK are struggling with poor infrastructure. Like University of Poonch in Rawalakot do not have proper infrastructure and lacks student accommodation facility. There are strong protests against Pakistani government by the people of POK for high inflation, poor education and health facilities. If people raised their voices against the government, Pakistani security and military brutally suppressed those voices. India’s budget for Jammu and Kashmir Union territory is five times higher than POK. Government of India allocated US$ 13.33 billion budget for J&K in this financial year.
POK budget for health in 2019-20 was only US$ 62 Million. India had a budget of US$ 618 Million for health in J&K for the year 2019. If we compare health expenditure then we will find Indian budget for health is nearly 11 times more than that of POK.
There is a massive decline is Shia population in Gilgit Baltistan. There were planned attempts by Pakistani military for changing the demography of Gilgit Baltistan in time of Zia-ul-Haq. There was a sudden influx of outsiders in GB, they are mainly Pakistani Panjabi and people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They settled on the areas of Gilgit Baltistan. For this local Shia people reduced to minority in GB. Shia was in majority and constitutes more than 80% of GB but they had been reduced to only 40%. Jammu and Kashmir region in India, Muslims constitutes 68.31 percent of the total population and Hindus are in minority with 28.43 percent. Other minorities are 1.87% Sikhs, 0.9% Buddhist and 0.28% Christians.
Recently, several protests took place for rising inflation and reduced subsidy on wheat in POK. Gilgit Baltistan lacks proper infrastructure for industry. People there are unemployed and poverty rate is high. Youth of POK leave for gulf countries for blue-collar jobs. Majority of families now became dependent of money comes from foreign land earned by the family members. Pakistan government’s move to remove subsidy from agriculture sector have weakened agrarian ecosystem of entire region.
There is also rising discontentment for CPEC project of China. There were protests in Muzaffarabad and locals organized a torch light rally for proposal of dams, which will be constructed by Chinese companies on Neelam-Jhelum river. Hundreds of people joined the rally from POK with the slogan “Darya Bachao, Muzaffarabad Bachao”. The Chinese companies will construct Azad Pattan and Kohala Hydropower Projects in POK region. The allegation raised by the people of POK is that China is trying to ransack the natural resources of POK and Gilgit Baltistan in the name of CPEC project. There are protests by locals against the CPEC project under Belt and Road Initiative in Gilgit Baltistan. Several student and political organizations had initiated protest and rallies in Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Ghizer. Protesters thinks that the CPEC project under One Belt One Road is a strategy of China to capture areas of POK and Gilgit Baltistan. This project will connect Xinjiang province with Gwadar Port in Balochistan. The legitimate concerns of local people were neglected by both China and Pakistan. People are evicted forcefully from their lands to achieve CPEC objective.
Pakistan have to come out from radical mindset for development of their own country. They have to come out from anti-Hindu and Anti-India mindset. Their own radical mindset is pulling their nation back.