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For thousands of years countless lives have been lost in battles over disputed territories While the primary tangible point of contention in most border disputes is an easily identifiable piece of land on a map such disputes are often far more complex than what can be measured in square miles Often times cultural tradition ethnic heritage and religious beliefs become dimensions that make such conflicts far more complicated than can be resolved by a simple treaty creating a new border This is the case in the Jammu and Kashmir region located between northwestern India and northeastern PakistanPrior to 1947 the region comprising Pakistan India and Kashmir was known as British India and was a colony of the British Empire consisting of hundreds of small states each of which was controlled by a local leader know as a maharajah When the British left the region in 1947 it was up to the individual states to determine which of the two new independent countries they wished to join Those countries with Muslim majorities opted to become part of Pakistan while those Hindu majorities chose to become part of the new India While for the most part this system worked out well two areas complicated the transition One problem came from the geographic divide between two culturally distinct pockets of Muslims in British India The country we now know as Pakistan was the region known as West Pakistan when colonial powers left in 1947 However the region of Bengali also possessed a heavy Muslim majority but was separated from West Pakistan by Hindu controlled parts of India This region which became East Pakistan affiliated itself with West Pakistan by religion and constitution but not by cultural heritage Much like Alaska is part of the United States but divided from the rest of the nation by Canada East Pakistan found itself surrounded by India but constitutionally united with West Pakistan In Kashmir another difficult situation would present itself While
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