Migrants from Indian-occupied Kashmir reject resettlement plan in AJK

Published March 30, 2024
A participant speaks at a gathering of post 1989 migrants from India occupied Jammu and Kashmir in Muzaffarabad on Friday. — Photo by author
A participant speaks at a gathering of post 1989 migrants from India occupied Jammu and Kashmir in Muzaffarabad on Friday. — Photo by author

MUZAFFARABAD: The leadership of the post-1989 migrants from India occupied Jammu and Kashmir dismissed on Friday the proposed “vague and controversial” plan for their resettlement in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Pakistan, making it clear that any strategy worked out without consulting them would be unacceptable to them.

The declaration was made at a meeting of the representatives of post-1989 refugees living either in the state-managed camps or in rented houses in AJK and in some cities of Pakistan.

“The [AJK] government and all other relevant authorities should take immediate notice of the exploitative approach of the AJK Rehabilitation Department towards the refugees and immediately rectify decisions made with regard to the most important task of their resettlement without taking them into confidence,” was the consensus at the meeting, according to Uzair Ahmed Ghazali, who was chosen as emir of the post-1989 refugees.

“The AJK government should prevent the department from imposing any such decision on the migrants that runs the risk of triggering despair and distrust among them, “ he added.

According to him, the participants of the meeting expressed regrets over the problems faced by the refugees including the non-issuance of “domicile certificates” by the governments of the base camp of freedom movement – a reference to AJK.

”On the one hand, Narendra Modi is trying to erase the Muslim identity of the occupied part of state by illegally issuing domicile certificates to hundreds of thousands of Indian citizens under a colonial plan, on the other hand, 8,000 families of post-1989 refugees are being continuously deprived of domicile certificates in the liberated territory,” he said.

Mr Ghazali maintained that over the past 35 years the refugees living in different camps had been unable to get ownership rights of two and three marla plots in their possession, which also spoke volumes about the incompetence and carelessness of the rehabilitation department.

He said it had been decided at the meeting that the refugee leadership would soon call on the top authorities of AJK and Pakistan to present them their charter of demand for the dignified resettlement of 44,000 post-1989 migrants.

He said the consensus of the meeting was that the AJK government should do legislation and allocate a substantial amount in its annual budget for the resettlement project.

He said one each seat for migrants from occupied valley and occupied Jammu should be reserved for the post-1989 refugees to give them representation in the AJK legislative assembly. Apart from that, implementation of 1-6pc quota in government jobs in AJK should also be ensured, he added.

Earlier, addressing the meeting, participants condemned the worst colonial tactics by India to strengthen its illegal occupation of their motherland.

They vowed to continue to play their role on every front for the liberation of the occupied territory “alongside their two active forums - the United Jihad Council and the All-Party Hurriyat Conference.”

They paid homage to all the martyrs of the Kashmir freedom movement and to those who had been imprisoned in different Indian jails.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2024

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