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Kashmiri Displacement and the Impact on Kashmiriyat

Title:Kashmiri Displacement and the Impact on Kashmiriyat
Authors:Patricia Ellis and Zafar Khan
Publication:Contemporary South Asia / Routledge
Enumeration:Vol. 12, No. 4 , pp.523 - 538 / December 2003
Abstract:Since 1947, the continuing dispute over Kashmir has seen large-scale permanent as well as temporary displacements of sections of the Kashmiri population. The majority of those affected by these events have been Muslims who have sought sanctuary in Azad Kashmir and, subsequently, in Pakistan. These waves of forced migration and the associated hard ships, however, have not appeared in international or regional refugee statistics. This paper details the displacement events and statistics, and explores refugee discourse to locate the reasons behind the non-appearance of these refugees on regional and international agendas. The authors then focus on the ways in which the presence of the Kashmiri refugees, particularly in Azad Kashmir, has contributed to the development of a Kashmiri conscious ness, or Kashmiriyat, within Kashmiri communities in Azad Kashmir and the Kashmiri diaspora. The work presented here is based on documentary analysis, discussions with Kashmiris living in the diaspora, and observations from earlier fieldwork carried out in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan on Kashmiri identity formation. Personal knowledge of political structures, events and activities within Azad Kashmir, and in the Kashmiri Diaspora located in Europe and America also has been drawn upon. The paper spans the period from Partition in 1947 until May 2003 when the Azad Kashmir prime minister proposed consideration of a permanent division of Kashmir with the Chenab Line formula.

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