I visited Azad Kashmir. The drive to Azad Kashmir reminded me of the Jammu Srinagar National Highway in the Indian Administered Kashmir. Greenery all around me. Crisp, cool and fresh air all the way to Azad Kashmir.
On reaching Muzaffarabad, I was shocked, I had hoped to see rubble but I just saw cracked buildings. It was later I learnt that some places in the city had not been effected much. Rest of the Muzaffarabad was a tented city.
People call Azad Kashmir, Azab (torture, pain) Kashmir and Muzzafarabad, Musafir (traveller, a person in journey) abad (city) or a travellers city as people from all over the world can be seen in Muzaffarabad.
How Azad is Azad Kashmir? How Azad (free) are the refugees from Indian Administered Kashmir numbering 30,000 is the question that has bothered me the most since I returned from Azad Kashmir.
After the earthquake, the residents of Azad Kashmir have become refugees and the people from Indian Administered Kashmir have become refugees in exile.
I talked with a Kashmiri refugee putting up in a tented accommodation in non-human conditions. I asked him why he had migrated from Indian Administered Kashmir. Presuming I was a Pakistani he talked non-stop about the atrocities of the army, the torture, the terrible Sikh rule (I presume he used the word Sikh so that I (he thought I was a Pakistani) would identify the atrocities of Sikhs, he bore, with the massacre of 1947 partition ) and so on. While bidding him good bye, my friend talked to me in Kashmiri. This gentleman's tone changed as soon as he heard me talking in Kashmiri. Immediately he started boasting in Kashmiri the wonderful life he had lived in Kashmir. He went on to say that the amount of food Kashmiris throw after having a meal is as grand as the meal the prime minister in Azad Kashmir takes.
This is Azad Kashmir!