Islamabad asked to provide free admissions to all affected Kashmiri students across the divide

By: Tariq Naqash

MUZAFFARABAD: A senior public office holder in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Wednesday called upon the federal government to provide free admissions and accommodation facilities in universities and professional colleges across the country to the Kashmiri students who were allegedly being booked under concocted charges and suspended from studies in India.

For the past one week, visuals pouring in through social media have shown Kashmiri students, businessmen and visitors being thrashed and humiliated and their belongings vandalised by unruly mobs in different parts of India with police watching as silent spectators in most of the cases.

Commenting on the situation during a visit to the Central Press Club Muzaffarabad, Chaudhry Tariq Farooq, senior minister in the AJK cabinet, said Pakistan had nothing to do with Pulwama attack and it was carried out by a local Kashmiri boy against a bloodthirsty [paramilitary] force that had been killing, injuring, blinding and molesting innocent Kashmiris with impunity for long.

He maintained that while the Indian government was blaming Pakistan to cover up its failures in held Kashmir, unruly mobs were take revenge of attack on defenceless Kashmiri students and traders in India under the nose of the authorities.

“Reports and visuals of assaults on Kashmiri students and traders in different parts of India by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) backed activists are heart-wrenching and warrant for an immediate response on our part,” he said.
Farooq, who is also senior vice president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in AJK, pointed out that the Hindu zealots were inflicting harm on Kashmiris just because of their unwavering attachment with Pakistan and their refusal to chat anti-Pakistan slogans.

This, he emphatically said, had multiplied the obligations of Pakistan government to do something “concrete” to alleviate their sufferings.

He was of the view that an all party conference on this situation under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan could help find out at least some measures to provide much required relief to the suffering Kashmiris.
Continuing, he said since an organised sinister campaign had simultaneously been initiated by India’s ruling BJP and its affiliates to play havoc with the economy of the held Valley, Pakistan should also establish an ‘endowment fund’ for the affected Kashmiri families living across the divide.

“Islamabad should seek assistance for the fund from brotherly countries and Kashmiri and Pakistani diaspora,” he said, adding, mechanisms to extend compensation to the affected families could be worked out in the meantime.
He stressed that Prime Minister Khan should pay a visit Muzaffarabad at the earliest in order to convey to the whole world his serious concern about the situation across the divide.

Farooq alleged that the foundation of BJP was laid on the proposition that India belonged to the Hindus alone, which was why the party and its affiliates had let loose their cadres on all minorities in general and Muslims in particular.

Terming premier Khan’s response to India in his yesterday’s speech as “commendable, responsible and comprehensible,” he advised New Delhi to benefit from his offer in the interest of the whole [South Asian] region.
According to him, Simla agreement stood in the way of Kashmiris whenever they tried to raise Kashmir issue on their own.

“While India has withdrawn MFN status from Pakistan and there are voices in India regarding revocation of Indus basin treaty, Pakistan should also get rid of Simla Accord which has turned the international Kashmir issue into a bilateral dispute,” he said.

He agreed to a questioner that India could trigger a “limited war” along the LoC for domestic consumption ahead of elections. However, he added that the valiant Pakistani troops, wholeheartedly backed by equally brave Kashmiri people, were fully prepared to thwart her nefarious designs.

He told that the AJK chief secretary had lately held series of meetings with district administration officials to sensitize them on their role in the event of escalations along the LoC.

“Some of the issues at LoC are relevant to the federal government and I am sure about their settlement at the earliest. The defence related institutions are also playing a special role in this regard,” he said.

Appreciating the “responsibility and unity” shown by political and religious leadership across Pakistan in the wake of India’s threatening postures, he said: “The onus is on the prime minister to create an atmosphere of national solidarity. He should come out of the peculiar environment prevailing in the country and take the initiative.”

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