Across the Line of Control

Inside Pakistan-Administered Kashmir

April 2012 9781849041737 144pp


The Kashmir issue has been a subject of international attention ever since the subcontinent was partitioned in1947. The clash between India and Pakistan over the coveted territory led to the emergence of Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered areas. While the social and political conditions in the former have been widely discussed, even among Kashmir experts there is little knowledge of Pakistan-administered Jammu & Kashmir (PAJK), particularly its political, cultural and social aspects.

Luv Puri analyses the crucial pre-independence social and political processes which resulted in polarisation within the state and the violence that wracked the region during Partition. He tracks the effect of those events on Pakistan’s Punjab province and the ensuing impact on Pakistan’s position on the Jammu & Kashmir issue, and the many transformations in the pro-independence struggle from its inception to the present day.


‘… nuanced [and] evocative … [Puri’s] work, based, on rare opportunities (for an Indian national) to travel in the region, traverses its historical experience. [He] patiently takes us through the region’s colonial experience; the ugly communal fissures which exploded during partition; the complex politics which have seen new castes and social forces compete for influence there. … Put simply, Puri teaches us that in Jammu and Kashmir, we confront not one unfolding historical crisis but several—each of which needs careful and patient political engagement.’— Praveen Swami, The Book Review

‘I was struck by the close parallels between the arbitrary and counterproductive ways in which the treatment of Azad Kashmir by the Pakistan government mirrors Delhi’s own treatment of the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir. Puri nicely depicts, among other things, the contribution of the Mirpur diaspora to the JKLF, and the pathos of divided families.’ — Ramachandra Guha, author India After Gandhi: the History of the World’s Largest Democracy

‘Much research and writing on the Pakistan-administered section of Jammu and Kashmir is either hortatory or polemical. Luv Puri’s book, Across the Line of Control: Inside Pakistan-Administered Jammu and Kashmir is a welcome departure from such accounts. It is carefully researched, cogently argued and historically sound. Journalists, policy analysts and scholars interested in the contemporary politics of this ill-understood region will find this work to be a most useful primer of the subject.’ — Sumit Ganguly, Ranbindranath Tagore Professor of Indian Cultures and Civilizations, Indiana University

‘A timely work given both contemporary political developments in the Kashmir region and the paucity of literature on Azad Kashmir itself. The volume usefully provides an up-to-date analysis of the region along with material on its Muslim diaspora community which forms a significant element of the ‘Pakistani’ diaspora in Britain. All of these subjects have been relatively under-researched with more emphasis usually being placed on the Kashmir Valley and its inhabitants. This book thus seeks to explain the history of Azad Kashmir since 1947 and to reveal its relations both with the wider Kashmir dispute and the Pakistan state. This understanding is grounded in an analysis which draws on both documentary evidence and personal testimony.’ — Ian Talbot, author, Pakistan: A Modern History

‘A useful and handy contribution to the exiguous literature on a region of the world that has been mostly neglected in the scholarship of the Indo-Pakistani rivalry.’ — Sumit Ganguly, H-Diplo


Luv Puri is a Fulbright scholar at New York University. He was a correspondent with the The Hindu for several years and has contributed to various media publications and academic journals. In 2006 he was one of the prizewinners of the European Commission Award for Human Rights and Democracy. His special fields of interest include the situation of South Asian Muslims, the Kashmir conflict and Pakistan.

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