Azad Kashmir Travel Guide

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Sharda ( Kel )

Sharda ( Kel )

Tahir Sami

The State of Azad Kashmir Jammu and Kashmir ( Urdu : اسلامی جمھوریۃ آزاد کشمیر ), usually shortened to Azad Kashmir (literally 'free Kashmir'), is part of the Pakistani -administered section of the Kashmir region , along with the Northern Areas ; its official name is Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It covers an area of 13,297 km² (5,134 mi² ), with its capital at Muzaffarabad , and has an estimated population of almost 4 million.

Azad Kashmir has been considered politically, constitutionally and geographically as part of a separate state, i.e. Jammu & Kashmir. This state is disputed territory, and has been controlled by both Pakistan and India since their independence, 14 / 15 August 1947 respectively. Azad Kashmir is under the indirect control of Pakistan. Its defence, foreign policy and currency are under the direct control of Pakistan.

Consequently, financial matters, i.e. budget and tax affairs, have been dealt with by the Azad Jammu & Kashmir Council, instead of the Central Board of Revenue. Azad Jammu & Kashmir Council is a supreme body consisting of 11 members, 6 from the Government of Azad Jummu & Kashmir, and 5 from the Government of Pakistan.
Also its chairman / chief executive is always the President of Pakistan. Hence, the rest of members are Azad Kashmir's own Prime Minister and President and some ministers, (also note that Azad Kashmir has its own president , prime minister and legislative assembly, also supreme-court and high-court & other departments). The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) is responsible for the tax affairs of the rest of Pakistani territory, i.e. all four provinces and the capital, Islamabad.

After the partition of India in 1947, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir (see Kashmir region ) wanted to maintain the status quo. The only way to achieve this was to remain an independent state. But both India and Pakistan wanted to claim the state of Jammu and Kashmir. As both countries prepared to intervene, an invasion by tribesmen from NWFP occurred. Fearing the might of Pakistani Forces, the Hindu Maharaja sought military help from India and in turn decided to accede to India . India accepted this and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 was fought to send Pakistani forces back.

However, the outcome of the war was not decisive, and a ceasefire was called in 1948. The dispute has not yet been solved and Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan along the Ceasefire Line or the Line of Control ever since.

The Western portion of Kashmir was subsequently divided into the following provinces/regions by Pakistan:-

Pakistan Administered Kashmir - The narrow Southern part - 250 miles (400 km) in length with the width varying from 10 to 40 miles (15 to 65 km), 5,135 mi² (13,300 km²) Northern Areas - A much larger area, 27,991 mi² (72,496 km²), incorporated into Pakistan and administered as a de facto dependency Trans-Karakoram Tract - A small region at the Northern frontier of Gilgit-Baltistan agency, ceded to the People's Republic of China by Pakistan in 1963. Pakistan Administered Kashmir is nominally autonomous , with its own elected President , Prime Minister , Legislature, and High Court. The state is divided into two administrative divisions which in turn are composed of eight districts.

Raja zulqarnain Khan is president of azad Kashmir and Sardar Yaqoob Khan is Prime minister.

Ghulam Ullah Kyani is wel known columnist of Kashmir.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: shahid.tanha@yahoo.com

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July 24, 2007 change by tanha (2 points)

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