Pakistan refugees not given domicile certificates: J&K government

Jammu, Dec 22 (IANS) After an uproar by separatists and the opposition, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday clarified that refugees who migrated here from Pakistan since after Independence were not given domicile certificates but only identity cards.

These refugees, mostly Hindus who migrated into the state during and after the 1947, 1965 and 1971 wars, have no citizenship rights in the state. They can vote in parliamentary elections but have no right to vote in the assembly polls. They cannot apply for jobs with the state government because of they are not permanent residents, according to the state’s statutory provisions.

Government spokesperson Naeem Akhtar in a statement dismissed the “false and contrived impression” that these refugees from west Pakistan were being made permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The government made it clear that such reports are deliberately being circulated to destabilize the situation and hit the political and economic interests of the people,” Akhtar said.

Both separatists and mainstream politicians had criticised the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state for giving domicile certificates to the refugees from west Pakistan.

Refugees from Pakistan-administered Kashmir also have settled in Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of the Partition of the subcontinental India.

“While the refugees from PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) 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 Jammu and Kashmir,” Akhtar said.

He said identity certificates in the same format as in the voter list for the parliamentary polls were being given to west Pakistan refugees to enable them to apply for jobs in paramilitary forces and other central government establishments.

“Issuance of identity certificates does in no way change the status of the refugees and they continue to be the non-state subjects,” he said.

–IANS

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