Tale Of Two Kashmir: One Free, One Occupied – OpEd


The State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Illegally Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are two regions with a shared history, but vastly different realities in terms of development. AJK is a self-governing territory within Pakistan, while IIOJK is a region occupied by India and has been subject to significant political unrest and conflict.

In terms of infrastructure, IIOJK has seen significant development, with improved road networks, telecommunication systems, and electricity supplies but primarily to serve the occupational efforts of Indian Army. The region is also home to some of India’s largest hydroelectric power projects, such as the Salal Hydroelectric Power Plant and the Dul Hasti Hydroelectric Power Plant illegally constructed by New Delhi against the latter and spirit of international law.  

On the other hand, AJK is in the process of developing its infrastructure and faces challenges in this regard, however, the political and social stability provides optimism for future development. 

When it comes to education, both regions have made progress, AJK has a more developed system. The region has a higher literacy rate, and its educational institutions offer a wider range of courses and opportunities compared to IIOJK. AJK remains the most literate region of Pakistan. IIOJK has made progress in increasing access to education, particularly in rural areas, but still faces a shortage of trained teachers and limited resources.

Economic development has also been hindered in AJK due to Indian aggression across Line of Control (LoC), its geographic location, lack of resources, and the ongoing perpetual conflict in the region. The region has a small economy that is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism. However, the region’s potential for tourism has been limited due to the conflict, as well as limited infrastructure and facilities. In contrast, IIOJK’s economy has been increasingly deteriorating over the decades. The abolition of Article 370 and 35 A (revocation of statehood) has further destabilized the fickle economic situation in the country.  

Another major factor affecting development in the two regions is political stability. AJK has a higher level of political stability, as it is a self-governing territory within Pakistan, with a relatively stable and peaceful political environment. On the other hand, IOJ&K has been subject to ongoing political unrest, conflict, and human rights violations, which have had a major impact on its development. The Indian government’s continued use of force to suppress dissent in the region has resulted in significant human suffering and has hindered economic and social development.

While both AJK and IOJ&K have faced significant challenges in terms of development, the nature and extent of these challenges differ greatly. AJK has made more progress in terms of infrastructure and education, but this progress has been limited by the ongoing conflict in the region. On the other hand, IIOJK faces challenges related to its political instability, geographic location, lack of resources, and limited access to healthcare and educational facilities. Both regions have much room for improvement and continued investment and support will be necessary to ensure sustainable development in the future.

It’s not appropriate to say that one region is definitively “better” than the other as each region has its own unique challenges and strengths. However, there are some areas where AJK may have advantages over IIOJK including political stability, Lack of military intervention and access to resources. 

AJK is a self-governing territory within Pakistan and has a relatively stable political environment, while IIOJK has faced ongoing political unrest and conflict, which has hindered its development. AJK has more autonomy and is not subject to military intervention in the same way as IIOJK, where the Indian government has used force to suppress dissent, resulting in human rights violations and hindering development. Control of resources in AJK belongs to the people of AJK on the other hand in IIOJK, resources are being exploited by New Delhi’s colonial partners.

It is important to note that both regions face significant challenges and that development in both AJK and IOJ&K is hindered by a range of factors, including limited resources, geographic barriers, and ongoing conflict. Each region has its own strengths and weaknesses, and both would benefit from continued investment and support to ensure sustainable development in the future.

Talha Imran is an independent researcher and Lecturer at National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad.

3 thoughts on “Tale Of Two Kashmir: One Free, One Occupied – OpEd

  • February 17, 2023 at 4:25 am

    really, then why are POK residents raising their voice against Pakistan and wanting to join India?

  • February 17, 2023 at 6:56 am

    Pakistan occupied kashmir is as backward as rest of pakistan and also starving with rest of pakistan which is just taking begging bowl to all vountrues for few alms..people of PoK r fighting for their liberation and merger with India and become united with rest of kashmir which is progressing leaps and bounds along with rest of India..Pqkistan is a perpetual – professional begger..

  • February 17, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    How is author talking about Kashmir which for centuries been part of Indian heritage and culture. Pakistan was only born in 1947. It is yet another in the series of Hate India article from our friends across. India is relevant to the world, not only in its size and girth but by its ancient footprint and what matters to the world. ‘POKs Illegal occupation and accession to  Pakistan is questioned by the people of POK so what is Pakistan talking about? What POK development,Pakistan sold out Gilgit-Baltistan to China through the BRI cum CPEC. Pakistan having failed on all fronts has to keep certain issues boiling like Kashmir to divert the attention of its people from the daily burning issues facing the common people.The world is watching Islamabad’s deepening financial crisis and the Afghanistan situation partially created by it. Need of the hour for Pakistan is to save Pakistan from further division then to think of Kashmir.


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