West Pakistan Refugees issued Identity Certificates: Govt says

Western Pakistani Refugees
Western Pakistani Refugees (KL file Image)

KL News Network

JAMMU

Discounting the “false and contrived impression” being created regarding the change of status of the West Pakistan Refugees (WPR), the Government on Thursday made it clear that such reports are deliberately being circulated to destabilize the situation and hit the political and economic interests of the people.

“It seems an orchestrated and misleading campaign has been launched to create an impression that the Government is changing the status of the WPR and they are being provided domicile certificates,” Education Minister, Naeem Akhtar, who is also the spokesman for the government, said.

Akhtar said the refugees who settled in Jammu and Kashmir, in the aftermath of the partition of the subcontinent, include those from PoK and West Pakistan. “While the refugees from PoK have the status of the permanent residents of the State, those from West Pakistan are not entitled to permanent residence as they are not the domiciles of J&K,” Akhter said. “Given their present status, the West Pakistan Refugees are entitled to vote in the Parliament elections, but can’t exercise their franchise in the state assembly polls.”

Akhter said as the West Pakistan Refugees can’t apply for any job within the State, because of being non-state subjects, to facilitate them to get jobs in paramilitary forces and other central government establishments, the Government has issued them Identity Certificates which is in the same format as exists in the voter list for the Parliamentary polls. “Issuance of Identity Certificates does in no way change the status of the West Pakistan Refugees and they continue to be the non-state subjects,” he said.

Minsiter of education, Naeem Akhtar

Akhtar said, unfortunately, earlier this year also controversies were stirred and public passions raised deliberately on tenuous issues like Pandit Colonies and Ex-Servicemen Colonies which ended up with a long spell of disorder and violence in Kashmir resulting in loss of so many precious lives, injuries, destruction of public and private properties, breakdown of academic system, torching of schools, ruining of economy and complete halting of developmental process.

“Now when the situation has started improving in Kashmir with academic, tourism, developmental and economic activities slowly picking up again, unfortunately speculative reports are being passed around about the change of status of the WPR to create confusion and once again fuel disquiet,” Akhter said and urged the people to not to give credence to such unsubstantiated and disingenuous reports.

Meanwhile, BJP General Secretary (organization), Ashok Koul has also said there is no such proposal of issuing domicile certificates to the West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs).

“Some people are creating unnecessary fuss over nothing. The WPRs are not be given any domicile certificates, but they are being issued identification certificates,” he was quoted saying by a local news gatherer, KNS. He clarified that the WPRs are applying for jobs in para-military forces, since they have been living here for decades now, so they need a certificate for it.

“The concerned tehsildars will be issuing identification certificates to them after proper identification by concerned Numberdars. There is no case of domicile certificates. How can they be given domicile certificates when they aren’t the State subjects of this State,” Koul said.

 

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