ISLAMABAD: In a major diplomatic push, Pakistan has decided to approach international humanitarian organisations to help evacuate the Kashmiris critically wounded by Indian security forces in the disputed Himalayan region and need treatment abroad.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the Foreign Office on Saturday to ask Pakistan’s diplomatic missions abroad to approach the United Nations and all renowned international humanitarian organisations to provide medical assistance to Kashmiris.
A close aide to the prime minister told The Express Tribune that Pakistan would also request international humanitarian groups to evacuate all those who could not be treated at hospitals in Indian-controlled Kashmir. “We will request them to shift to best hospitals available anywhere in the world all those who cannot be treated locally. The government of Pakistan will bear all the expenses incurred on their treatment,” the official said.
More than 68 Kashmiris have been killed and thousands others injured by Indian forces in the attempt to quell an uprising triggered by the killing of popular Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani by police last month.
The Indian forces have been using pellet guns against unarmed civilians which has resulted in the loss of eyesight of scores of Kashmiris.
“It is purely on a humanitarian basis. Given the nature of injuries treatment for many would not possible in India or Pakistan. For treatment of such injuries the Pakistan government will bear all the expenses, be it available in London or anywhere in the world,” the official added.
Following PM Nawaz’s directives, adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz wrote a letter to the president of the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, on Friday, requesting him to immediately provide medical assistance to the injured Kashmiris. In his letter, Aziz raised alarm over the worsening medical emergency in Indian Kashmir as fresh protests in the valley left at least four more dead and more than 100 injured.
The Foreign Office said in a statement issued on Friday that Aziz has written a letter to the MSF president, highlighting the ‘state of medical emergency’ in the disputed region due to “atrocious Indian brutalities” against “unarmed and defenceless civilians”.
The adviser requested the organisation to immediately provide medical assistance to thousands of injured Kashmiris. He also underscored the need for eye surgeons to immediately tend to the wounded.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2016.