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Published in the 16-31 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

J&K freer than PoK: US thinktank

Washington: A survey conducted by US-based thinktank, Freedom House has found that Jammu & Kashmir has a greater degree of freedom than Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). PoK has been classified as "not free" and J&K as "partially free". The annual ranking of Freedom House is based on political rights and civil liberties given by the countries to its people.

India is the only country in the South Asia which has been classified "free" with a ranking of 2.5 and Pakistan with a ranking of 5.5 is considered "not free". Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal all rate better than Pakistan with their "partially free" status .

Among "disputed" territories only northern Turkish Cyprus is rated "free". J&K, Nagorno-Karabakh (disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan) is rated partially free. PoK, Tibet, Israeli-occupied territories, Palestinian-occupied territories, Chechnya and Kosovo have been considered "not free". 

The survey said that 89 countries are "free" and their 2.8 billion inhabitants enjoyed broad range of political rights. Fifty-four countries have been ranked "partially free" representing 1.2 billion people. Political rights and civil liberties are limited in the countries in which corruption is prevalent or ethnic or religious strife is the norm. 

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