Environmental Degradation In Occupied Jammu & Kashmir

The government of Pakistan has failed to pay any heed whatsoever to the environmental degradation in its administered part of Jammu Kashmir also known as Azad State of Jammu Kashmir, writes Jamil Maqsood for EU Today.

Interestingly this region was divided in the wake of a tribal invasion by Pakistan in 1947. The much bigger chunk of the land Gilgit- Baltistan was segregated from this part in 1949, under the Karachi Agreement this has been widely condemned by pro-freedom political parties  in the region.

The story hasn’t ended yet. Both the regions have been illegally held by Pakistan since the United Nations Security Council has passed resolutions asking Pakistan to comply with it. Even the stipulations agreed at the Truce Agreement were violated. There is a widely held view that Pakistan has taken a complete advantage of the Cold War era politics, creating proxies and using them against their neighbours.

Today when the Cold War is over and a new phase of the economic fronts are one Pakistan is nowhere except offering its land to the People’s Republic of China. In this regard both countries have strategised their mutual interest to plunder natural resource of the state of Jammu Kashmir under illegal administration of Pakistan as per UNCIP (United Nations Commission for India Pakistan), recommendations.  

Pakistan has signed a billion dollar China-Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC), project to muster its geo- strategic interests with China. Under that project the Chinese military has also arrived in Gilgit- Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir (Azad Kashmir). We have been demanding since many years that until final settlement of Jammu Kashmir conflict Pakistan can’t extract minerals and other sub- soil resources. And if she will do so it would be for the development of the local people and the region.  Unfortunately Pakistan has acted contrary to its commitment with the people of Jammu Kashmir and also with the world community.

After a forced occupation of one third of the state area today millions of people in Muzaffarabad, Neelam and other areas have been deprived of their fundamental need like water by diverting Neelam and Jhelum rivers for the energy production and to meet the energy crisis of Pakistan.  The irony of the situation is that no province in Pakistan was ready to allocate its land for the purpose of such energy projects. The most controversial Kala Bagh dam was forcefully rejected by the organs of Pakistani state.

In this wake the civil society, lawyers association, trade unions and political parties in the so called capital county of Pakistani administered Jammu Kashmir staged a peaceful sit in demonstration to record their demands but despite meeting those demands the government forces have inflicted crackdown on peaceful endeavour of the local people. The leading figures were arrested, threatened and harassed to abandon their demands which are just, legal, moral and political correct and constitutionally lawful as they revolve around the life and livelihood of the entire region. Those policies to divert both regions have catastrophic consequences on the region in the years to come.

The demands are as followed:

  1. It’s in humane act to change the natural flow of the rivers.
  2. Kohala Hydro power project is unacceptable in shape of a tunnel. Diverting  river is illegal.
  3. The government of Pakistan should enter into legal agreements on energy projects with the government of So called Azad Kashmir alias Azad Kashmir.
  4. Corruption must be unearthed in these mega construction projects.
  5. The recommendations made by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), made on -2011-2014 must be implemented.
  6. Water bodies should be constructed from Nauseri to Chathar Klass.
  7. At least sixteen (16), sewerage   plants must be installed on river Neelam.
  8. A water supply scheme should be installed from Nauseri to Muzaffarabad
  9. A solid waste management project should be installed to recycle  dirt of the city.
  10. Plantation must be encouraged at both sides of the river Neelam.
  11. The participation of people of Azad Jammu Kashmir in to energy projects certainly taken into account and seriously considered.
  12. Sixty (60) % water must be left flowing into river Neelam.
  13. District Muzaffarabad must be provided free electricity.

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Jamil Maqsood

Jamil Maqsood

Jamil Maqsood is a Brussels based Human Rights Activist and a political lobbyist at the European Parliament. He is working on various fronts to promote and protect socio- Economic Rights including the right to the development and protection of the environment in Pakistan and its Administered parts of Jammu Kashmir, also known as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan. 

He highlights human rights situation at the United Nations Human Rights Council since -2010, and is also a representative of the International Human Rights Council, an accredited NGO with the European Parliament.

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