Burney raises issue of repatriation of Pak women stranded in J&K with Masood Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Leading Pakistani human and civil rights activist and former caretaker federal minister, Ansar Burney has sought Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President’s help to bring back Pakistani women stranded in Jammu & Kashmir after the termination of their marriages.

Ansar Burney called on AJK President at Kashmir House Islamabad on Saturday and raised the issue of 300 to 350 women married to former Kashmiri refugees who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and taken shelter in AJK in different times during the past 28 years.

The issue came to fore two months back when a Muzaffarabad woman now in Srinagar who had married to a former Kashmiri fighter uploaded a video message on social media wherein she alleged that neither did the authorities in J&K issue her a permanent residence certificate nor did they allow her to return to Pakistan to reunite with her family.

It is said that more than 400 Pakistani women went to J&Kwith their Kashmiri husbands under this policy and later they were denied citizenship rights and also barred from returning to the homes of their parents.  

Most of these women originally hailing from AJK and other parts of Pakistan went to J&K with their spouses after they got assurance from Umar Abdullah government under its 2010 Rehabilitation Policy for “former refugees and their families”.

 “Some of these women have been waiting for repatriation for the past 16 years. They are living a miserable life as they are neither given citizenship rights nor have they been provided with a passport or any other documents to come back to AJK and reunite with their parents, Burney told the AJK President.

Mr Barni, while referring to his recent visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, also brought in the notice of AJK President that there is no Gynecologist in District Headquarter Hospital Authmaqam leaving the women of the area to face serious health-related problems, especially during intense weather conditions when roads are blocked.

He also highlighted inadequately accommodation for prisoners and need of construction of bunkers along with the houses of the civilian population living along the Line of Control to take shelter during Indian firing.

President Masood told Ansar Burney that issue of stranded women in J&K has already been raised with Indian government at the diplomatic level and expressed hope that it would be resolved soon. The issue of Gynecologist has been resolved in most remote areas like Leepa and urgent measures are being taken to address health-related problems in other areas located along the Line of Control.

 He said the government has also decided to allocate separate funds for infrastructure development and provision of basic amenities to the people living along LoC. About the construction of bunkers, the President said that the construction work has already completed in Leepa Valley, it was underway in Cherrikot area of LoC and same would be done in Neelum Valley on a priority basis.

The AJK cabinet, he said, has also approved the legislative proposal for enhancement of compensation money for the victims of Indian firing from Rs. 250000 to one million with significant enhancement of compensation money for those injured due to Indian shelling.

 Mr. Barni appreciated the role of President and the AJK government for the provision of necessary facilities to vulnerable people living along LoC and also commended the efforts of state government for the measures being taken by it for protection of lives and properties of the civil population at LoC.