The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Tuesday constituted a three-member committee headed by the chief secretary of Azad Kashmir Ilm Din Balu to address the issues of 1989 Kashmiri refuges settled in AJK.
According to the sources, the AJK government has taken the Kashmiri refugees Monday sit-in and rally in front of Central Press Club seriously and formed a body on the special instructions of Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majid to straighten out their demands including the handing out of National Identity Cards (NICs) to the Kashmiri refugees who migrated from Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in early 1990s.
The sources further stated that Balu has moved a summary to the prime minister’s secretariat for the endorsement to implement six per cent quota of Kashmiri refugees in government jobs in AJK.
The committee also discussed the issue of monthly stipends (Gozara Allowance) and suggested the AJK government to write a letter to the federal government for the delivery of NICs and raise in the monthly stipend as both subjects are under the ambit of the central government.
The three-member body asked the AJK rehabilitation to speed-up work on the Kuwait funded under-construction five hundred houses in Thota Satellite Town. The committee also discussed the residential issues of other refugees settled in different districts of AJK, sources stated.
Refugees had staged a sit-in on Monday, protesting against the delay in the issuance of NICs. They had also demanded a raise in the monthly stipend and the implementation of six per cent government jobs quota of refugees in the State of AJK.
Hundreds of protesters gathered from different refugee camps in Kashmir and chanted slogans.
The protestors rallied in front of the central press club and also blocked the Rawalpindi-Muzaffarabad road, halting all vehicular traffic for several hours.
He said more than 35,000 Kashmiri refugees are homeless and thousands are without NICs. Without these crucial things how are we expected to live a decent life, he asked.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2013.