Financial strangulation of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
After decades of political protests and last four years of intense social unrest in PoK, caused by a lack of water and electricity and cuts in subsidies, Pakistan is finally set for an authoritarian direct rule over PoK.
Pakistan has become a bankrupt State and an economic slave of China but it is neither loosening it grip nor intends to give AZADI to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
A new sinister plan is now being hatched against the people of PoK by the Pakistan military and civil establishment. It is called the 15th Amendment. According to the 26 pages long document describing the 15th Amendment Pakistan intends to take away PoK’s control over its finances, therefore, reducing it to the status of a province for which consultations are said to have already begun.
The 15th Amendment document was finalised on June 29, 2022, by Pakistan’s Department of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights. At the time a committee was formed to overlook the draft document of the amendment.
On the other day, India is celebrating the fact that after 75 years of uncertainty and being bruised by jihadi terrorism, finally the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is prospering in a conducive, peaceful and stable economic environment under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The G20 delegate meeting on tourism that was held in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu Kashmir, on May 24 is a testimony to the fact that India has helped to elevate the status of UT Jammu and Kashmir among famous global destinations that could benefit from the scenic beauty of the Vale of Kashmir and attract tourists and businesses from all over the world.
While guests were admiring the breathtaking beauty of the Valley and locals were jubilantly playing host to dozens of foreign delegates, back in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) frustrated by the betrayal of fate, poverty, destitute and perpetual unemployment an 18-year-old youth died by suicide.
Suicide among young people has become a common occurrence over the past three years. Most of the time they go unreported due to the taboo of killing oneself that comes with Islam forbidding from taking one’s own life.
Someone who commits suicide is denied the traditional Islamic funeral and is buried quietly. Therefore, in some cases, suicides are treated as murder. A case is registered with the local police station and due to lack of evidence the file is later closed. But at least the deceased gets a decent funeral with three days of morning and recital of the holy book of the Quran.
The 18-year-old youth was buried quietly by his father in the local graveyard in Mang in PoK.
A chilling parallel with the dancing girls of Kashmir and the trumpets that were blown during the reception the G20 delegates were given at the Srinagar airport.
The then Minister of Agriculture Sardar Mir Akbar, Education Minister Divan Chughtai, Minister for Civil Defence Chaudhary Akbar Ibrahim, Finance minister Abdul Majid Khan, Minister for Construction Azhar Sadiq, Law Minster Faheem Akhter Rabbani, Minister for Housing Yasser Sultan, and Secretary to the Government Irshad Qureshi were among the committee members.
According to the draft of the amendment, the words ‘State’ and ‘United Nations’ will be expunged from the 1974 interim constitution of PoK.
Amendment in article number 2 of the draft document says that the word ‘government’ will be replaced with the word ‘joint sitting’.
The Kashmir Council will be re-established with seven members from Pakistan and only six from PoK.
Amendment in article 5 says that the election of the president of PoK will include the Kashmir Council members in the electoral college.
Among others, Pakistan’s defence and foreign ministers will be members of the Kashmir Council which will be presided over by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Laws made by the Kashmir Council will be final and will not be subject to any legal challenge in courts and will not be permitted to be discussed during the PoK legislative assembly sessions.
The prime minister of Pakistan will appoint all judges including both high and supreme courts as well as the election commissioner and the auditor general. The appointments will not be subject to scrutiny or challenge by any court in PoK or by the PoK legislative assembly.
The Kashmir Council will be responsible for tax collection and preparing the annual budget for PoK.
The properties worth more than Rs 80 billion will be transferred under the control of Kashmir Property Council which is already under the control of Pakistan.
The PoK legislative assembly will have no authority or power to control the distribution of power generated by hydropower projects in PoK.
The curriculum for schools, colleges and universities will be set by the Kashmir Council.
Drawing a comparison between PoK and UT Jammu and Kashmir can easily reveal the economic, political and social disparity between the two. One is occupied by Pakistan while the latter is an integral part of the Republic of India.
As a colony of Pakistan, the people of PoK could not expect anything other than the tightening of the grip of oppression whereas as free citizens of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, the hosting of G20 says it all.
As the noose of the 15th amendment tightens around the neck of an already oppressed nation, the question remains how many more of our young people will have to end their lives before the light at the end of the tunnel shows? Only time will tell.