The purpose of starting this thread to serve as a repository for all news and discussion on Pakistan Occpied Kashmir (POK) - the part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir that is in illegal occupation by Pakistan.
This area includes some 5800 Sq Km area of Raksam and the Shaksgam valley that Pakistan illegally ceded to China in 1963. This area is also known as the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
Pakistan arbitraliy divides this area into:
1. Northern Areas (Historically known as Balwaristan): Comprising the distircts of Gilgit and Balistan. Gilgit is the capital of this area.
2. "Azad" Kashmir ("Free" Kashmir): the remaining part including 10 districts divided in three divisions with Muzzafrabad as its capital.
In contrast to the colorful naming of the region by pakistan as being "Free", in the last 63 years of its creation, Pakistan has not held even one election in these areas.
With regards to the districts of Gilgit and Balistan, there is a secessionist movement in the area under the name of the "Balwaristan National Front" which seeks independence for that area from Pakistan.
In August 2009 (29 August 2009), Pakistani cabinet (Note: Not the Parliament) passed the "Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009" which was then signed by President Zardari to allegedly give the area a legislative assembly and make it a state of Pakistan. A few weeks later, in September 2009, Pakistan awarded several contracts to China to relating to infrastructure and mining projects in this area.
Over the last few years, there have been reports of tunneling work being done by chinese engineers in parts of the region. India is reported to be keenly watching these developments.
Recently this area was in the news because of reports of the presence of some 7000-11,000 Chinese soldiers in this area, presumably to protect the various mining projects that china is undertaking, and which are causing conflict with the local population. But the influx of such a large body of soldiers is being viewed with suspicion, as in this article by Selig Harrison where he suspects that the Chinese intentions go beyond developing infrastructure and access to the gulf.China's Discreet Hold on Pakistan's Northern Borderlands
But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.
Mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations where Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Himalayas through Gilgit. But they could also be used for missile storage sites.
Coupled with its support for the Taliban, Islamabad’s collusion in facilitating China’s access to the Gulf makes clear that Pakistan is not a U.S. “ally.”
I'll cross post some of my posts and I will request everyone to kindly post all relevent news and analysis here.