Date :15-Jan-2023
STORIES are emerging from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) of increasing numbers of people taking to streets in an organised or unorganised manner seeking freedom from Pakistan. Armed with posters and placards, protesters march in streets shouting slogans against the oppressive regime and asking Pakistan to vacate the illegally occupied land. ‘We would be better off in India than in Pakistan’, speakers assert addressing rallies of freedom-seekers -- as per the reports filtering out of PoK.
Increasing cost of living due to high inflation and unavailability of essential goods is being described as one of the reasons of anti-Pakistan protests in increasing numbers every passing day. The protesters allege that the Pakistani rulers are intentionally giving them step-motherly treatment on every possible count. Though there is Government in PoK, there is nothing in the name of governance, to say the least. Similar is the condition in Gilgit-Baltistan where Pakistan Army is known to be heaping atrocities on common people for no reasons.
The overall sentiment in these areas is clear in favour of India with common people grieving the fact they are subjected to much harassment due to their being under Pakistani control. As a result, an organised movement is raising its head in the PoK to press for return to India in whatever manner possible. The leaders of this movement insist that their area is being used by Pakistan for locating terror launch-pads from where terrorists are released into India to create trouble in every possible manner.
Leaders of this movement residing in other countries -- especially in Europe -- have begun seeking global attention to the plight of common people in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. The crux of their allegations is that Pakistan Army is the main perpetrator of trouble and that Pakistani politicians have no sense of commitment or concern for the welfare of people in PoK. They accuse Pakistani rulers of siphoning off money from PoK to Pakistan and letting the common people there suffer from lack of funds to run the administration or secure essential services and goods.
The picture, thus, in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan is almost similar to what is available in Pakistan -- chaotic and full of despair. The only difference is that in PoK, the public mood favours return to India in any manner, while in Pakistan, common people seem to have no option. Of course, the Pakistani rulers leave no option for the people in PoK to return to India. And that is the reason a movement has been flourishing there seeking freedom from Pakistan.
In Balochistan, the anti-Pakistan picture has more fierce elements that include use of terror as a tactic to harass the rulers. The public meetings and rallies for freedom are known to display posters of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi among other world leaders, thus expecting them to lend help to their cause of freedom. That is also the reason Balti Pakistan Army is far more oppressive in Balochistan than in PoK. The freedom movement in Balochistan is far more and better organised than it is in PoK, with good political clout and funding internationally.
All these freedom-seekers expect India to make specific and well-directed moves to help their struggle. Except for a few statements of sympathy, India is not offering any inkling about what it may do in time. Officially, however, India is quiet, possibly waiting for a bigger ground-swell of public sentiment in those regions.
Of course, about PoK, India’s political and military leadership has already stated that the day may not be far when India takes back illegally occupied parts of Kashmir from Pakistani control. But those assertions have little to do with the respective freedom movements in those regions. None the less, all these freedom movements serve the larger Indian purpose, all right. And the other purpose they serve is that Pakistan gets increasingly weakened.