Despite the harsh climatic conditions of Neelum Valley, especially in winters, our soldiers perform their duties with immense zeal and zest, not worrying about the discomfort or medical conditions that might occur because of the freezing cold.
Neelum Valley, the earthly heaven, is enriched with mesmerizing scenery, running waters and wonderful mountains where one can enjoy colors of springs in the scorching summer months of the year and experience heavy snow in winters. This heaven simply bewitches the spectators with its ravishing beauty.
The valley wears a blanket of snow for five to six months. Like every year, Neelum Valley with all its fountains, springs and waterfalls received its first snowfall of the season on October 20, 2022. Mild spells of snowfall started in the mountains which made the weather very cold in the upper parts of the valley. It means winter with snow starts here from the month of October and lasts till March-April. The valley observes below 0°C temperature in most of the winter season. Life in the chilly winter months becomes very challenging for its residents and people who are serving there.
In this harsh period of the year, when even the natives of Neelum Valley reduce their outdoor activities and try to stay inside their cozy homes, Pakistan Army performs its duties with the same zeal and zest. For every Kashmiri, Pakistan Army is the guarantor of their security and safety. Their love for Pakistan Army is innate and pure. Our soldiers are not supernatural creatures, they too have families, social setup and other life matters. Yet the way they have prioritized the motherland’s love and the courage they show in patriotism must be written in gold. They are our true warriors. These men are standing firm and facing all the challenges, and no matter how harsh the weather turns, no matter how many troubles they face, they have committed themselves to their beloved motherland, Pakistan.
Winter in the valley brings tough challenges for our warriors who neither step back from their duties, nor reduce any activity. They know that every household of Kashmir is living in peace and comfort because of them providing security against the threats. Before ceasefire on the Line of Control (LOC), our soldiers had to deal with the enemy along with other challenges, and now when there is peace in the valley, they are still fighting with other challenges such as harsh weather conditions. These soldiers are our living legends. In the winter months, they face a lot of difficulties. There is the issue of network; the soldiers lose contact with the rest of the world. “My father got very sick and spent a week on the deathbed last year in December,” said a soldier, “There was heavy snowfall here in Neelum Valley and we were totally out of contact with others. When I came to know, I couldn’t go there due to my duty, landsliding and snowfall, and he was buried in tons of soil after waiting a lot for me. But I know my father wouldn’t be disappointed in me as I was taking care of my motherland over here.” Salute to this great son of the soil.
When I asked an officer what challenges do these warriors face here, he said, “First of all, we are cut off from the other parts of the world. We remain unaware of our families’ wellbeing. We can’t reach them in thick or thin. Life limits us to a certain portion of the land in chilly winter where temperature remains less than 0°C. The incidence ratio of landsliding increases in snowfall. We face low physical and mental health. There is loneliness here and it’s really very challenging to bear its psychological effects. We survive with very limited facilities and try our best to adjust well with the least use of resources. We get two heli sorties a week for Neelum Valley, but it is always uncertain due to snowfall and harsh weather conditions. There are always ‘no movement’ orders in this situation and even after getting leave, we can’t go back to our families. In January 2021, one of our soldiers kept waiting for the heli sortie as his mother’s funeral was to be held in Punjab, but he couldn’t reach due to the snowstorm,” yet, he smiled and continued, “We are here to defend our country and our people. We know that the natives of Kashmir live in peace and sleep well as they know we are here for them”. One really feels speechless at this height of care and patriotism.
An army doctor said, “We were stuck in our setup last year due to heavy snow. We ran out of vegetables and fruits and when someone visited the hospital and gave us potatoes, we were so excited to see potatoes after two months”.
According to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Muzaffararabad’s records, the weather conditions are pretty tough. They take a toll on the physical and mental health of the troops. The harsh cold weather induces frostbite, chilblains and hypothermia. Frostbites is the most common issue faced by the soldiers which sometimes leads to amputation of toes and fingers. Cold weather is also a risk factor for Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST) and heart attack. CMH had a few deaths of young soldiers due to cardiac arrest in the last two years. High altitude also may cause cerebral (brain) and/or pulmonary (lung) edema that are life threatening conditions. The affected troops are often brought to the hospital where they get an immediate treatment, but one thing must be appreciated–their courage and stamina to return to the post after being in a hospital.
One can’t imagine to have even a sigh of relief in these trying circumstances, but salute to our warriors who are giving their best in such unfavorable living conditions. Hats off to our supermen who leave their families, comfort and ease for the sake of the beloved land. Every native of Kashmir has immense love and respect for Pakistan Army as we know that we are living here peacefully because our warriors are here to protect us, to save us from the unforeseen. We are enjoying freedom because they are giving their blood to make our roots strong. Hats off to these warriors!
Pakistan Army zindabad, Pakistan paindabad!
Kashmir is Alive
The havoc wreaked by India’s indiscriminate firing on the civilian population living along the Line of Control in Azad Jammu and Kashmir has destroyed countless families over the years, yet the resilience of Kashmiris remains unmatched.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir, located in the northern part of Pakistan is known for its stunning natural beauty, including lush green valleys, snow-capped mountains, and sparkling rivers and lakes.
One of the most striking features of Azad Kashmir is the Neelum Valley, a picturesque region located in the heart of the area. The valley is home to a number of small villages and towns, each nestled amidst the lush greenery of the surrounding mountains. The Neelum River, which runs through the valley, adds to the beauty of the region with its crystal-clear water and stunning waterfalls. This river plays the role of Line of Control (LOC) in most parts of the valley. Pakistan and India had in November 2003 agreed to a ceasefire along the LOC and Working Boundary. The agreement held for a few years, but regular violations have occurred since 2008. A sharp spike in the truce breaches has, meanwhile, been witnessed since 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in India. Before the agreement of February 24, 2021, in 2019 and 2020, Indian troops committed over 3,000 ceasefire violations in which 28 people were martyred. Pakistani DGMO, Major General Nauman Zakaria and his Indian counterpart, Lieutenant General Paramjit Sangha met in February 2021 and announced that there won’t be any further ceasefire violation in Azad Kashmir. Before this announcement, this paradise on earth has faced a lot of pain because of Indian Army’s violations. These mountains have absorbed the cries of innocent villagers who became victims of the brutal firing of Indian Army. Every place, every village has numerious stories.
A sharp spike in the truce breaches has, meanwhile, been witnessed since 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in India. Before the agreement of February 24, 2021, in 2019 and 2020 Indian troops committed over 3,000 ceasefire violations in which 28 people were martyred.
Pervaizan Bibi from Chakothi is one of the victims of Indian Army’s brutal shelling. She has lost her dear ones in 2016. She considers the year of 2016 a year of bloodshed, which has taken away her mother, father and younger brother. In the blink of an eye, her entire family was scattered into pieces. She is living with her uncle’s family now and spending every day with great dismay and grief.
There are stories of helplessness, grief and intense pain. One can’t look into the empty eyes of the mother who had lost her 10 years old son in September, 2016 in Battal Sector. She shared her grief by saying, “Umer, my son, was playing on terrace in the evening when he was hit by a sporadic bullet fired by the Indian Border Security Force. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but couldn’t survive. I can’t forget that murderous evening which has snatched my life from me.”
Athmuqam, Neelum village, Hawalili, Hajira, Taobut, Nakial, Chakothi, Jhanjaa, Seribandala, Teetwal, Chalyana, Laiswa bypass and its nearby villages remained the victim of cruelty of Indian Army’s intense firing and ceasefire violations. Fatehpur village still has wounds on it in the form of Nazia and Noman’s deaths. Shakil, Nazia’s Husband narrated the story, “Nazia was busy in house chores in the courtyard and my son was playing when suddenly a shell from Indian Army landed there and took their lives. When I reached home, my whole world had been demolished by these satans”
In Jhangaat village, the widow of Mohammad Aslam is spending her days and nights grieving her husband who had left her and her five children due to the blind shelling by Indian Army on one fateful day. He was a teacher who left his home and while going towards his school, became the victim of the savagery of Indian Army.
Along the Laiswa Bypass, there are many villages and small towns along the road.
In March, 2019, due to Indian army’s firing on a civilian bus at Neelam Valley in the morning, many innocent passengers were killed. Amina, the widow of Ahmed, who was a passenger of that poor bus said, “Ahmed left home that morning in a hurry to reach to his workplace. We had gotten married five months earlier. I kept waiting for him, but he never reached back home. 2019 has snatched colors from my life and made it barren and fragile.”
In another incident, a motorcyclist died due to the sudden shelling by Indian troops in Keran, Neelum Valley. He was one and only son of his parents who still wait for a miracle which could bring their young son back. It seems as if the autumn would reside in their home forever.
In March, 2019, due to Indian army’s firing on a civilian bus at Neelam Valley in the morning, many innocent passengers were killed.
Mohammad Aslam’s family is currently living in Muzaffarabad after the barbarism of Indian troops on November 13, 2020 when Indian Army carried out heavy artillery firing in the entire Neelum Valley in Azad Kashmir. Many houses of the local Kashmiris were completely burnt in Tehjiyaan village. His home was among them too. That strong young man burst into tears while sharing his story, “The coward Indian Army threw shells on our village Tehjiyyan and my house along with livestock was burning before my eyes. Fire has destroyed everything; it has rather swallowed our happiness as well. We have left behind our forefathers’ graves there.” Then he added with hope in his words, “Now the situation is getting better. Our army has brought peace in the entire valley. I have visited my village recently and want to shift back.”
The whole valley still has the deep wounds of bloodshed due to the cruelty of Indian army; however, the agreement of February 24, 2021 has brought peace and prosperity in the valley. The natives of Azad Jammu and Kashmir are living peacefully now and the credit goes to the untiring efforts of Pakistan Army which has given them true colors of life. The care and sincerity of Pakistan Army for the Kashmiris is priceless.
On February 5 every year, people in Azad Jammu and Kashmir show their care and affection with the natives of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). They come out on roads, forming human chains by joining their hands in solidarity. They are grateful to Pakistan Army which has made their lives entirely different than the unfortunate natives living across the LOC.
Pakistan Army zindabad
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