AJK’s transportation system

Dawn has reported today on 19 June 2015 that, at least seven people, including a woman, were killed and 11 others wounded when a passenger bus plunged into a ditch in Rawalakot district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Traffic accidents are very common in Azad Kashmir due to its mountainous area poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving but there is no record available with any of the departments of AJK government of people being killed in road accidents in Azad Kashmir on monthly or annually bases. Which shows fundamental and structural faults in AJK’s administration. There is no bureau of statistics and minister of transport is perhaps without ministry of transport. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) says more than 9,000 road accidents are reported to the police every year since 2011, killing over 4,500 people on average in Pakistan but PBS has no record of accidents in Azad Kashmir.

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At least seven people, including a woman, were killed and 11 others wounded

Just to get an idea of accident if you google “accident in Azad Kashmir”, you will find more than forty thousand results in just a half second and search will literally show you results for every month from June to May of this year and backwards with at least one accident in each month of every year and in some cases more than one, two and even three accidents in just one month in one of the ten districts of Azad Kashmir. So the question is, how long bad roads and underdeveloped transportation system of AJK will kill Kashmiris on everyday bases?

Yasir Naveed, who lost his uncle, in this accident says, this is a nightmare for us. My uncle, Muhammad Sarwar was returning after forty year’s hardships of work in Saudi Arabia to live rest of his life with his family in Azad Kashmir. He says, 11 years before we lost our two other uncles on same spot near Goyee Nala in a similar accident. Another affected person talked about this accident and told that his four neighbors and relatives died in today and among them Zubair was one who got married just weeks ago.

It is important to note that this is third fatal accident which was reported by any online source in this month but number does not restrict to it. According to tribune at least one person died and three others were injured in separate road accidents on 9th June. Before that at least two persons were killed and three others injured in a road accident on 1st June. In May along with other four women were among five members of a family who were killed in a road accident in Mirpur district. And according to this same newspaper in the first three weeks of January alone of this year, more than 15 people lost their lives in road accidents in Muzaffarabad and Kotli districts of AJK.

It is worth noting that road tax in AJK is collected by Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council instead of AJK government which is often considered as supreme institution of AJK but headed by Pakistani president, often criticized as parallel government and takes biggest share of AJK budget. So is Pakistan simply escaping from the responsibility of building roads and improving AJK’s transportation system by installing there a puppet government with no rights and resources? As it has escaped and has forgotten its promise of building a railway station in Azad Kashmir in 1967 at the time of construction of Mangla Dam.

Writer is pursuing his Mphil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.org and works with Institute for Social and Economic Justice (ISEJ). He can be reached at

@imrankhushaal
imrankhushaalraja@gmail.com
http://www.kashmirica.org

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