Line of Control: Facts and Figures
The Line of Control is a 450-mile line that serves as a de facto military controlled boundary between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The area under Indian control is called Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan controls areas known as Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir(AJK). While most international agencies refer to the area under Pakistan control as Pakistan Administered Kashmir, India calls it the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK, Pakistan Administered Kashmir):
The disputed region between Pakistan and India bordering Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Cooridor of Afghanistan to the north west, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of People’s Republic of China to the north and Jammu and Kashmir to the East. A part of this region was ceded to China and the remaining was constituted into Gilgit-Balistan and Azad Kashmir controlled by Pakistan. India refers to this region as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Most international agencies refer to this as the Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
This area is about 13,000 sq kms with a population of 30 lakh people. Although Pakistan maintains that Azad Kashmir is an ‘autonomous’ regions, it play a direct role in the politics of the region. Pakistan maintains that elections are regularly held in the 49-seat Legislative Assembly of PoK since 1974, and a Prime Minister governs the region. However, critics feel that the political titles are misleading as candidates are required to sign an affidavit of allegiance to Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan.
History of the Line of Control:
Originally designated as the Ceasefire line by the UN, the de facto line came to be known as the LoC after India and Pakistan signed the Simla Agreement in 1972. The agreement came close on heels of the 1971 Indo-Pak wars which led to the formation of Bangladesh and laid down the principles that should govern the future relationships between the nations and asked the two countries to ‘settle their differences through peaceful bilateral talks’.
The then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, and President of Pakistan, Z.A. Bhutto signed the Simla Agreement on Bilateral Relations on July 2, 1072.
A clause from the Agreement states: In Jammu and Kashmir, the line of control resulting from the ceasefire of December 17, 1971, shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognised position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or the use of force in violation of this line.
Ceasefire violations by Pakistan till date:
• July 31: Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) on a forward Indian post in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.
• July 15 and 16: Six Indian posts along the LoC were targeted with mortar, rockets and small arms fire in Poonch sector on the intervening night of July 15 and 16. There was also a ceasefire violation along the International Border in RS Pura sub-sector's Kharkhola and Bodla border outposts on July 15.
• July 9: Pakistani Rangers fired along the International Border on Khawara Border Out Post in Mawa belt of Samba district.
• July 7: Firing incident at Chak Pagwari BOP in Pargwal in Jammu.
• July 6: Pakistani troops fired at Pindi, Mala Bela and Chak Phagwari border outpost in which a BSF jawan was killed and a villager injured.
• July 5: Firing at the Chak Pagwari BOP in which BSF trooper Sultan Ali was killed. Firing was reported at forward positions along the LoC in Krishna Ghati area of Poonch sector.