Imagining Kashmir: Emplotment and Colonialism

By Patrick Colm Hogan | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction
1. Currently, Kashmir is divided into a Pakistan-administered region and an India-administered region. Discussions of the Kashmir issue almost entirely ignore Pakistani Kashmir. Unfortunately, the present study will continue that trend. There are strong nationalist feelings in Pakistani Kashmir, with a 2009 poll revealing that 44 percent of Pakistani Kashmiris support in dependence; though that is below the 50 percent who favor union with Pakistan, it is not greatly so (see Bradnock 15, 17). However, conditions in Pakistani Kashmir have not given rise to a militant movement, international danger, or—it seems—a significant tradition of popular or elite narrative (though there has been some limited activism; see Puri 96–99).
2. In contrast, Pakistan does appear to have exploited Pakistani Kashmir, at least to some degree. Specifically, it has drawn electricity from its Kashmir dam to supply some 65 percent of the country’s electricity (Behera 189). At the same time, Pakistan has ignored the needs of Kashmiris themselves and has been even less democratic in Pakistani Kashmir than India has been in Indian Kashmir (see Behera 184–89). In connection with this, it is important to note that Pakistan has behaved as a prototypical colonial power in Kashmir in other ways, also. For example, it has engaged in oppression. A 2006 Human Rights Watch report (“With Friends”) states that “though ‘Azad’ means ‘free,’ the residents of Azad Kashmir are anything but. Azad Kashmir is a land of strict curbs on political pluralism, freedom of expression, and freedom of association; a muzzled press; banned books; arbitrary arrest and detention and torture at the hands of the Pakistani military and the police; and discrimination against refugees from Jammu and Kashmir state” (6–7; see also Puri’s chapter, “How Azad Is Azad Kashmir?,” 33–55).
3. On the other hand, these benefits have been reduced by the corruption of the ruling elite in Kashmir. On corruption in Kashmiri government, see Habibullah 46–49.

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