Monday, 24 February 2020

It’s Time To Bring Back Pok

Updated: March 15, 2014 1:18 pm

I vividly remember that day in school when a simple exercise about map explanation turned out to be a big shocking experience for me. The assignment was to draw the external boundaries of various Indian states and mark important cities therein.

Each student chosen to draw the boundaries of one Indian state would also mark its major cities and explain the state’s historical, geographical and political importance to the whole class.

I was to explain about Jammu and Kashmir.

“This is Jammu Kashmir and this is the state’s capital city Srinagar,” I said pointing my little fingers towards Srinagar on the map.

“…the famous ‘silk route’ passed through this state which served as the world’s major trade route since ancient times. Jammu, Gilgit-Baltistan, Muzaffarabad, Gulmarg, Mirpur are other important cities of this state. The state has famous pilgrimage centres such as the Sharada Peeth, Amarnath Shrine and Mata Vaishno Devi….” I went on with my erudite explanation about the state.

“So, where do you want to go in Jammu and Kashmir?” the teacher asked.

“Hmmm….well, I want to go to Sharada Peeth,” I said after a brief pause.

The teacher smiled and said, “Yes that is a noble thought but you need to have a passport to go there…so go get a passport.”

“Passport? Why do I need a passport to visit an Indian city?” I said in exasperation.

“Well, the Sharada Peeth is part of a large region that is with Pakistan and is now known as Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK)…so you must seek Pakistan’s permission by taking a visa to visit any place in the PoK,” the teacher explained.

When this incident took place I was a student of standard sixth and found it hard to believe and digest that India has not been able to take back its own region from Pakistan.

Much water has flown through the Jhelum and Indus rivers of Jammu and Kashmir since then, but I still find it hard to digest why India has not been able to wrest back its own region—the PoK, from Pakistan.

Ironically, Pakistan that has committed worst forms of human rights violation with the people of Gilgit-Batistan, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur destroyed the centre of learning–Sharada Peeth, and many other parts of PoK celebrates a “solidarity” day for “Kashmiri people” on February 5.

Pakistani politicians, ministers and terrorist leaders take a pledge on this day to provide arms and ammunition to separatists and terrorist outfits operating across Jammu and Kashmir to help them continue their proxy war against the Indian security forces and Indian establishment.

It is rather strange that India’s Ministry of External Affairs fails to take up these issues at the diplomatic level with Pakistan. And this is despite India having a watertight case against Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir.

On February 22, 1994 both houses of the Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) passed a unanimous resolution reaffirming its stand to take back the region of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan.

“On behalf of the People of India…(we) firmly declare that the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means… and demands that Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression and resolves that all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely,” the Parliamentary resolution of February 22, 1994 read in clear terms.

In simple terms, India stands on a very strong wicket on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The only thing required of the incumbent UPA government and its ministers is to show some will power and the nerve to deal with boisterous and unruly Pakistan and we would surely get the entire region of PoK back to India.

By Vivek Sinha

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