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'Life in PoK is worse than death'

By Sumir Kaul in Muzzafarabad
December 10, 2004 14:58 IST
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Despite assurances that it will not allow terrorists to use its territory, Pakistan continues to maintain militant camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan, said Shazia Ghulam Din, daughter-in-law of Jammu and Kashmir National Liberation Front founder Maqbool Bhatt.

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"The Pakistani establishment has merged several of these camps and moved them away in the periphery of Muzaffarabad and other areas in PoK," she told PTI during a visit of Indian journalists to PoK.

Shazia's husband, Showkat Bhat, who heads the All Parties National Alliance in PoK, and other leaders of this group were kept away from the Indian scribes because of their open opposition to Pakistan's policies in PoK.

"Had you people been allowed to move without any hindrance, you could have spotted some of the camps, though some of them have been shifted to Gilgit and Baltistan areas and no Kashmiri or ordinary Pakistani has the right to visit
these places," said Shazia, who had to struggle to enter the hotel where Indian scribes were lodged.

She said the presence of foreign mercenaries in PoK has created major social problems for the locals and the world community will come to know about the real situation once the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service is launched.

The Kashmiri culture and secular ethos have suffered "constant degradation" because of these foreign mercenaries, Shazia said.

She said "life in PoK is worse than death and there is continued repression of people living here. We are hounded by agency people [ISI], especially as we have a consistent stand of independent Kashmir."

The JKNLF leader criticised the Amanullah Khan-led Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front for "sabotaging the cause of freedom of Kashmir and for dancing to the tune of their masters either in Islamabad or New Delhi."

Shazia, who was in India earlier this year, said even if there is an anti-New Delhi group in Kashmir, its voice is not throttled by the police or security agencies as it is in PoK.

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Sumir Kaul in Muzzafarabad
Source: PTI© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.