“The town is almost empty, those can afford have already been fled away and the rest are just waiting for another attempt to burn the rest of the houses,” an elderly man told me while I was looking for my story. “The next town was full of life and that was called ‘Upper Bugna’ in the ’80s but then Indian army reached here, and people left their houses, animals, gardens, trees with full of fruits including apple, grapes, apricots, walnut and others, and so we are supposed to do in the coming days”
“We are the victim of an unknown war, we have to leave our houses for no reason but because we are Kashmiri, and the fear of death is our destiny”. A young college boy told me. He was sitting next to the house Indian Army has recently put on fire by shelling. The situation is not much normal as one can think, living in the supposed peaceful city of Pakistan.
On December 17, the Indian army opened fire on the town adjacent to LoC in Neelum Valley Athmuqam Sector. The cannonballs put the houses of the Bugna Town on fire instantly and within no time the houses were almost burnt. One day before a teen died on the spot where another succumbed to death in the Jura Sector of Neelum Valley.
About 144 KM narrow belt of Neelum Valley can be divided into two parts upper valley and lower valley. The whole valley lied on the Line of Control (Cease-Fire Line). From 1989 to 2003, the valley sacrificed many men, education, economy, culture, and development for no cause. When the ceasefire line happens in 2003, the people of the valley got a chance to reconstruct their burnt houses, shops, offices, education becomes an essential part of everyone’s life, businesses perish, and the people who had been migrated during these years came back home. The peace on LoC last almost ten years till 2013 and then firing on LoC resumed.
The construction of Neelum Valley road paved the way for tourism and as a result, around ten billion people visited Neelum valley for the last ten years. The valley becomes one of the essential destinations for every tourist in Pakistan. In 2018 heavy shelling across the LoC pushed the tourism back and 2019 vanished it. You cannot see even a single wonderer in the town.
“We have pet animals, cows, goats, hens, etc and we cannot leave them behind. Where we should go to? This is our home; the entire village is empty and the idea of leaving these houses and meadows wrenches our hearts” Zainab Bibi is in her 60’s now. Tears appeared in her eyes while staring at me. Her house is not more than 100 feet away from the so-called LoC. She has been lost one son and many family members in this undeclared war.
Most of the towns near LoC are empty now. “We have found only six houses with families in the Sharda Town,” a social worker told me. Almost, 40 Percent are assumed to have been left the valley. “There is uncertainty, people are leaving daily, the ratio increase in the day after firing. The rumours on social media and from some national figures also frightening people, so they rush to leave the valley. People have an investment in millions but all in vain”. Hayat Awan, a local Journalist told Kashmiriat.
There is no hope for peace along with LoC. Pakistan’s foreign office statements about the instalment of heavy ammunition on LoC, cutting down of fencing and threats of limited war from India compelled people living in the region to lose remaining hope and migrate. Certainly, they don’t have any other option.
69 People died, 279 get wounded and 83 houses and shops completely depraved on LoC by Cross LoC firing in Pakistan Administrated Jammu Kashmir in 2019. There is not statics about the livestock and business loss during the year.