The West Pakistani Refugees
By Masood Ali Mir
03 February, 2015
The year of 1947 was a year of joy for those who aspired a long for the independent nations of their own in the region of South Asia. It was this year India got its independence from the British yoke. But it was the partition which accompanied the much cherished independence. The partition was not only a division of land and property but the division of history, culture, language, customs, tradition, rituals, religions and above all the division of hearts, minds and common brotherhood.
The Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947 accepted the Two Nation Theory and favoured the partition of the British India on Communal lines which latter on led the worst kind of riots in the human history in which millions of people got killed on the two sides of that line which the colonial powers created under the grab of divided and rule politics and the religious bigots of the illiterate and undemocratic masses of South Asia followed.
When the British India got divided , the two newly Independent Nations got the population of minorities too in their geographical regions but the majority community behaved in an ill way and the minorities faced the worst kind of treatment. The Hindu majority lashed a reign of terror on the Muslim minority in India and the Muslim majority followed the same way with the Hindu minority in Pakistan. History has never seen such a maltreatment with the minorities as the majority communities followed in Indian and Pakistan in the post- independence era of 1947 .
This reign of terror led the chaos and confusion within the minorities and forced them to migrate to those areas where they were in majority. Hence many lakhs of Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan and Hindus from Pakistan to India. Both the newly independent nations India and Pakistan tried a lot to accommodate these refugees and tried everything to give them equal status and full citizenship rights that is why these people are progressing well and has made to the top like Parvaiz Musharaf , Javaid Maidad etc. in Pakistan and Manmohan Singhh, Lal Krishan Advani etc. in India
A big portion of these refugees in 1947 migrated to the Jammu region of the Jammu and Kashmir state from the Western Pakistan ( As per the Partition Plan Pakistan was created on the Eastern and western side of India but later on the Eastern Pakistan turned to be Bangladesh in 1971 and noe there is only one Pakistan) . As per unofficial records the number of these refugees is over 17 lakh that is why this region ( Jammu) has off late earned the distinction of being called as Refugee Capital of Asia.
Although these refugees have been give equal status and full citizenship rights in the rest of India by the Indian constitution but in Jammu and Kashmir these refugees could not get the same status and rights given the complex and conflict nature of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Union. The Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir do not recognize them and their descendants as ‘state subjects’ or permanent residents of the state till date .These Refugees cannot buy and own properties in the state as per the Article 370. The eligible voters among them figure in the voter list for Lokh Sabha but for the state of Jammu & Kashmir they are not voters. They cannot vote or contest Panchayat and state assembly elections.
It is said that these people were deliberately moved, motivated and guided to settle in Jammu with the sole aim to change the demographic nature of Jammu and Kashmir in order to have a safe say for India at the international level for the future of this state and to get a chance and favour in the process of promised plebiscite by the United Nation’s .
Since independence these people and this issue has been mostly used as an election promise only and never any effort has been made to settle it in any practical way. Mostly it used to be just in the manifesto of Bhartiya Janta Party along with its Hindutav allies. Recently the Joint Parliamentary Committee in its report recommended for the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly to have a look for the settlement of this issue and it was proposed to give them the equal status with that of the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and now the senior leader of new BJP fiancé and darling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) too is advocating it.
The issue has created a hue and cry in the state politics of Jammu and Kashmir. It has divided the mainstream political leadership on opposite sides. The Jammu based leadership is mostly supporting it and the Kashmir based mostly the National Conference is against it all open. The separatists are all against to the very basis of this thought. Recently the senior PDP leader Muzzaffar Hussain Baigh has to face the high tune criticism when he favoured for these people in a statement. He was disowned even by his own party on this issue.
In Kashmir Valley the issue is not being viewed as an issue of that kind in which it has been propagated by Muzzaffar Baigh ( Humanitarian) but a Political issue with the far sighted repercussions. It is being viewed as the first step to change the basic demography of state and to re-colour it. The people argue that When those people who are the real residents of the state ( Those who migrated to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in 1947 when a reign of terror was used against them in the Jammu and when they were killed, torched, raped and forced to leave their ancestral homes by those who came from Pakistan and those who claim and demand the permanent resident status today) even when the state assembly has passed a resolution in their favour are not given the equal rights, how come these people may get.
The people are of the view that if the current BJP along with the new green partner and any one is the real well-wisher of these people let them plan a permanent separate land for them in anywhere in India be it Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh , Uttar Pradesh or the Modi ji’s Gujarat in the same lines as is being proposed for Kashmiri migrants who are living in other parts of India since 1989. They argue that when those people who are living in Kashmir Valley and are the permanent citizens and residents of the state are not allowed to buy the land and property of those people who migrated from the valley in 1989 due to the eruption of militancy how come a non- resident of the state be given the ownership rights. Let the environment of peace harmony may not be disrupted in the state by the petty political issues and dirty politics.
Masood Ali Mir is freelance writer from Kashmir and can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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