MUZAFFARABAD, Kashmir – In the Pakistan controlled Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the simple fact is that the name of the region – with azad as free – is an explanation that the Kashmiris here enjoy a freedom to their relatives across the border Indian-Pacific region is denied. Part of the disputed territory.
But even in Pakistan-held Kashmir the message has been clear, residents say: No talk of independence is allowed.
How an Indian crackdown on the other side of Kashmir has led to massive unrest and new demands for Kashmir, which is free of India or Pakistan, is driving a parallel security operation in Pakistan, according to local activists and officials.
But New York Times journalists, who have been given less frequent access to Azad Jammu and Kashmir in recent days, found a firmer reaction from Pakistani security to a growing independence movement here.
Fears that India was increasing its control over the shared territory and that Pakistan did little to oppose it as a bargaining ground the boom that India rejected.
The Pakistani raid also has another focus, the locals say: While indignation over India's attempt to end Kashmiri's autonomy has fueled militants over the past month, Pakistani officials fear they will face international sanctions could, if they do not restrain the armed forces groups.
On both sides of the border, Kashmiri's frustration expresses that no one is on their side.
"Both countries have gone to war for Kashmir. But the Kashmiris did not have a voice in any of these disputes, "said Abdul Hakeem Kashmiri, a prominent journalist in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-led Kashmir.
"We love the Pakistani army and the Pakistani people, but we have our own culture. And people know what the unspoken red line is: independence, "Kashmiri said.
Independence demonstrations, which once attracted dozens of demonstrators, are now attracting thousands, residents say. In one case, around 5,000 Kashmiris tried to march to the Indian border in the Poonch district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir this month, local police said. Protesters accused Pakistani security officials as they sang, "We want freedom on this side and we want freedom on the other side" and "Foreign oppressors, leave us alone." This resulted in fights that injured 18 demonstrators and seven Pakistani police officers. The Pakistani media has barely reported on the protests, and the region has seen its cell phone and Internet cut off for a while. A military general dismissed the demonstrators as "Indian agents".
Despite calls from the political leadership of Pakistani Kashmir not to march to the border, the Kashmiris say they intend to move on. On Saturday and early October, they called for massive protests at the Indian border, which are likely to be the largest demonstrations so far.
"The struggle for independence on both sides of the border is suppressed," said Anam Zakaria author of "Between the Great Gap: A Journey to Pakistan-Managed Kashmir." "It's frustrating that they were at the forefront of the conflict and are farmers in this bigger game between India and Pakistan," she said. 19659007] In the past month India deprived Kashmiri of autonomy and increased New Delhi's influence on the territory by imprisoning local politicians and activists and introducing a curfew and communication blockade that had come into the second month.
The protests divert the wrath of the civilian population to the "control line" that de facto divides the border between India and Pakistan, and through valleys with wildflowers and pi cuts Ne trees, in the middle of rivers and through whole cities.
Sheep graze across the heavily mined border. Shepherds accidentally cross it without paying attention to its contours, to be shot at or arrested by Indian or Pakistani soldiers.
The line marks the point at which the Native Armed Forces fought Pashtun tribal fighters in 1947, who had attracted Pakistan from its border area with Afghanistan – the beginning of Pakistan's longstanding strategy of using militant proxies to weaken its neighbors.
Originally, the check-line was to be temporary, with plans for a referendum that would allow Kashmiris to join India or Pakistan. This vote never came to fruition, and now, after decades of struggle, many Kashmiris fear that the temporary border will become a hard border that divides the territory permanently.
"The Kashmiris are trying to take their fate into their own hands. We recognize that we can only rely on ourselves, "said Haris Qadeer, a young Kashmiri who joined the protests and closed his newspaper in Muzaffarabad in 2017 for his independence.
"The Line of Control Is What Separates Us Turns us into refugees in our own country," said Qadeer.
Police deployed this month against protesters was a "preventive measure," Azad Jammu and Kashmir president Masood Khan said that the police response is in the opposite direction to that of the Indian forces on the other side of the line He was reluctant to say that they are temporarily opening fire on demonstrators trying to cross the border, resulting in serious injuries.
"There is a high degree of tolerance for dissent. Azad Kashmir and Indian-occupied Kashmir have an overwhelmingly pro-Pakistani atmosphere.
However, Kashmir nationalists are banned from the government. Elected officials such as Mr. Khan must sign a statement before they can run for office, stating that they "believe in Pakistan's ideology" and in Kashmir's final accession to becoming a formal part of that country.
Some say Pakistan's answer The reason for this is also the fear that the militants of the Pakistani security forces, which had once been mobilized against India in Kashmir, are once again on their way, as Pakistan is threatened with international sanctions, if it does not act against terrorist groups.
Kashmiri Militant said he was angry at what he saw as the hypocritical betrayal of Pakistani officials who had recently closed the border after pushing various militants to cross them in the 1990s.
The militant who spoke out of fear on the condition of anonymity According to the Pakistani military, the case in Kashmir had been "polluted" by reprisals when it came to fighting various terrorist groups in Pakistan India, including Lashkar e-Taiba, which was involved in subsequent attacks on the Indian Parliament in 2001 and Mumbai in 2008.
"We were freedom fighters made up of Kashmir. But then Pakistan has pushed groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba into our movement. People began to confuse our struggle for freedom with the desire for terrorism, "said the former militant.
Under strong international pressure to sever links with militants, Pakistan is pushing the jihadists who once found themselves in Muzaffarabad, a In Muzaffarabad, the local office of Hizbul Mujahedeen, one of the leading factions of the deadly uprising in the 1990s Years ago, Kashmir, which was detained in India, was closed by officials since May.
19659002] "Jihad was once a way of life," said Manzoor Gilani, former chief judge of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Now, not all of Tom, Dick and Harry can stand up and say that they will seek jihad, "Mr. Gilani added." The jihadists are now called terrorists, once serving the interests of Pakistan, but now it's Pakistan
But as India unilaterally progresses to get a grip on Kashmir, some residents say Pakistan has chosen the worst time to relocate.
Abdul Rashid Turabi "The former head of Jamaat-e-Islami, believed to be the political arm of the militant Hisbul Mujahedeen, insisted that his group still hoped for peace." That and the dialogue are the priorities, "he said in an interview
But he added that there is a shortage of time for a diplomatic solution to criticism, and many are unwilling to hold back.
"N Arendra Modi is driving people to jihad, not to me, "he said, referring to India's prime minister.
Other residents were less restrained.
"The only solution is the war," said Muhammad Arshad Abbasi, a shopkeeper in Chakothi of the last frontier cities in front of the control line. "It has been 70 years, and what has the conversation with India brought? There is no other way than Jihad. "