World is flat, even Brexit has impact on Kashmir

SRINAGAR: The world has gone so closer to the textbook “village” status that almost every incident across the world has a local impact. With the UK finally out of the European Union, the Brexit has an impact on Kashmir, the ‘other Kashmir’ literally.

Mirpur’s landmark main chowk

With the tumbling down of the sterling rates, the average incomes of the families living in PaK’s “Little London” the Mirpur have gone down, respected Pakistan newspaper The Nation reported.

“With few jobs and little industry, the residents of Pakistan’s “Little England” overwhelmingly rely on family members based in the country for their economic livelihood,” the newspaper reported. “But decades after the first wave of migration, the fraying of filial ties between the communities along with economic woes following the Brexit vote have raised concerns that the once-plentiful funds may dry up for good.”

Quoting a resident Javed Mushtaw, the newspaper said that his family was getting money every month and after the Brexit, they get once in two months. “The value of the pound has decreased and that creates problems for us,” Mushtaq told the newspaper. “Our life is not as easy as before.”

After Britain’s decision to leave the EU, sterling has tumbled, sending inflation surging and raising the cost of living, while uncertainty over the post-Brexit outlook has fuelled concerns about the country’s economy. “And with Kashmir lacking any major resources while unemployment soars, the prospects in Mirpur are dim,” the newspaper said.

“There is no large land holding, no industrial base, we are not on a good route,” a businessman and local official Choudhery Muhammad Saeed told the newspaper. His estimates suggest about $200 million in remittances are sent back to Mirpur a year.

The first and largest wave of migration to the UK began in the 1950s when the inhabitants of Mirpur were displaced by the construction of a dam that engulfed large swathes of the town. In Britain, more than a million residents are of Pakistani origin with the majority believed to be from Mirpur — where they have long built family homes and spent holidays, according to the newspaper.

Remittances have nosedived by almost 10 percent since the June 2016 referendum; the newspaper quoted the Central Bank of Pakistan officials saying. “This decline, after years of steady growth, has worried authorities as an increase in imports and repatriations of profits by foreign companies have jeopardized the country’s foreign exchange reserves,” the newspaper said.

 

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