KARACHI Six-foot tall and slim Muhammad Khalid, 30, was born in Kashmir but has spent the most of the years of his life in Karachi. On Kashmir Day, when rallies have been arranged to express solidarity with Kashmiris, Khalid is not too impressed. As a Kashmiri, I want freedom. But what is the cost of this freedom? he asks. Khalid thinks that Kashmiris on both sides of the border would be willing to join hands for independence but the rulers of India and Pakistan are not willing to allow this. This day is not for me, he says. It is for the rulers and not for the Kashmiris. Khalid is one of about 200,000 Kashmiris living in Karachi, a number that several organisations, such as his, have estimated. The grouped communities mostly live in Kashmir Colony, Mahmoodabad, Akhtar Colony, Golden Town, Manzoor Colony, Golimar, Rizvia Colony, Baldia and Shershah Colony. They are for the most part a politically aware group and several organisations represent them such as the All Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference, Anjuman Ittehad Bratheri Kashmir, Jamaat-e-Islami Azad Kashmir and Pakistan Peoples Party Azad Kashmir. According to a few people The Nation spoke to, independence was what they wanted the most. For example, Jannat Hussain a noted left wing Kashmiri activist, who came to Karachi 20 years ago, said that he has observed that Kashmirirs want to be on their own as there is widespread dissatisfaction amongst different ethnic groups in Pakistan. According to Jannat, the only interest of India and Pakistan was in the disputed lands strategic location. People on both sides of Kashmir are agreed in their demand for independence as since Partition, the ruling class on both sides of the border has been unable to tackle their problems. Abdul Majeed a vegetable seller said, I do not know, and I dont want to know anything about Kashmir Day, Abdul Majeed has been doing business in Karachi for the last ten years. I have no idea what this is all about. Nobody has done anything to help Kashmir or Kashmiris in the past. Over the decades, the strife has naturally taken its toll. For the people who have come to Karachi in search of a stable life, it is still hard to forget the state of affairs back home. Manzoor Colony resident Akhtar Meer said that he felt that 33 per cent of the population was suffering from psychiatric problems in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). India has killed thousands Kahsmiris in this region, he said by way of explanation. On a slightly different note, the All Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conferences senior vice president Rasheed Dar told that the people of Kashmir have been living in Karachi like brothers but they belong to different political parties and have differing views on the future of Kashmir.