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This article was originally submitted by Sadia Farrukh
“We love our isolation and do not like the noise of the big cities”, says Amjad Mehmood, a tourist guide and a native of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). He also worked as an Assistant Logistics Manager in the Greenstar Social Marketing Pakistan Limited.
Despite, living in these mountainous regions is difficult as compared to the life of metropolis because access over basic needs is not easy under reach, one has to work hard and travel long for the desired thing, but the people of AJK are well satisfied and happy with their lives.
They are bold and fortune definitely favours the same. “We are azad (liberal/free) in its true sense here”, told Mehmood. “People of AJK are calm, patient and very loving as it seems that the weather of this place reflects in them”, he further added.
AJK is liberated, secured and peaceful, regardless of the fact that it is a part of Pakistan. The more tremendous the place is, the more its people are great at heart too.
After visiting AJK and encountering with their people you get to know that natives there don’t get aggressive easily; they are very kind and hard-working. Especially in the capital, Muzaffarabad, the literacy rate is higher than it is in Pakistan.
They are seemed to be well aware of the right-doings and the wrong-doings; at least, they are trying to bring this awareness in their common practice. There is no common fear factor as one faces in the cities of Pakistan.
“We can safely sleep at our homes even if our doors are kept open; our children and women are secure here. The crime rate is very low here, especially street crime; because I feel that the awareness and education of masses help not to increase it in any way,” said Muhammad Siddique Rathor; a businessman by profession, owns a number of guest houses for the tourism in Muzaffarabad, Kuttan and Sharda, AJK.
AJK’s economy can be called developed which largely depends on its agriculture and the remittances sent each year by members of the large Kashmiri diaspora, best known by the British Mirpuri community.
The Kashmiris in the United Kingdom have contributed greatly to the development of Azad Kashmir through these remittances. And also by developing different tourists spots to spread tourism help increase their economy too since the past few years.
The approach of the common people of AJK over education
Literacy rate of Muzaffarabad is not only said higher but it is literally being observed; that almost every child is having an education there and almost every woman is qualified more than their men. The best thing of its people is that their men are very supportive of their women in providing higher education to them.
“Women are the role models for the upcoming generation and to be educated more than men in every aspect to bringing up better humans”, said Mehmood.
“Women can work freely here, especially in the capital, there are many opportunities for them. Plus there is not any family restriction, even a married woman can work too without any hassle”, told Rathor.
“We are settled here since ages, even our ancestors also belong to AJK, yet if I recall, there is no one in my family or friends I can say that does not willing for our women to study. In fact, we want them to be literate enough to face the world”, he further added.
Every child is going to the school when you pass by the streets at school hours you could hardly see any child roaming around.
It is not that education is free there, but it is the priority there. We actually need to work for the betterment of this nation, for our children, for our future generation.
“Education is seemed to be mandatory in AJK, therefore, the quality should be improved especially at the higher level,” says Surayya Khanum; Deputy Secretary, Muzaffarabad, AJK. “I believe that women are studying more till the higher levels and educating their children too by all means; and that might be the source of our liberal society, she added.”
The reason for the sensibility and calmness of their people must be due to their understanding of the importance of education, Khanum accepted.
“Being a woman, I can say that our men do not create problems for working women, rather support them. I am an example to others, I am married and have a family, but still, I have approached to this higher level; and it can’t be done without a good support system for which I am grateful.”
‘Educating women is educating the society and this is what the nation definitely needs’, she added.
Normally, we only discuss on different platforms about the significance of education, but implementation is way behind those discussions. AJK is our part but its people and their approach are very different from the rest of the country; they value human life, unlike us.
They are good at learning from their experiences and teach peace to their children. Forgive and forget is their best policy and which can be the best reason for the rise of any nation.
“The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.”