MUZAFFARABAD: Representatives of post-1989 migrants from India-held Kashmir have called upon the prime ministers and parliamentary leaders of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to “substantially increase their monthly subsistence allowance to help them make both ends meet”.
The demand, through different letters, was publicly endorsed on Wednesday by Syed Salahuddin, the head of an alliance of indigenous Kashmiris outfits struggling to overthrow Indian occupation.
According to official records, 7,855 families comprising 43,037 persons are registered with the AJK rehabilitation department as refugees from across the divide.
Of them, 3,101 families, comprising 17,340 persons, are living in 11 camps in Muzaffarabad and Jhelum valley districts, 1,159 families, comprising 6,766 persons, in five camps in Bagh district and 814 families, comprising 4,556 persons, in two camps in Kotli district.
Apart from them, 2,781 families, comprising 14,375 persons, are living out of camps in different towns.
The government provides a monthly subsistence allowance of Rs2,000 to each of them. Additionally, a monthly stipend ranging from Rs100 to Rs300 is given to students from nursery to university level.
However, according to Uzair Ahmed Ghazali and other representatives of refugees, they were finding it extremely difficult to make both ends meet in this paltry allowance.
“Some three decades ago, we left our homes and hearths in occupied Kashmir due to savagery of the Indian army and have been living ever since in makeshift camps in miserable conditions,” said Mr Ghazali.
Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022