NEW DELHI: The centre is all set to announce a Rs 2000 crore package for the displaced people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as part of its initiative to reach out to the people in the Gilgit-Baltistan region and corner Pakistan. The Jammu and Kashmir government has already identified 36,348 families for distribution of the package under which each family will get around Rs 5.5 lakh.
The government’s package comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi tough diplomatic posture against the Pakistan. During Independence Day speech, the prime minister had sought to reach out to the people of PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan, highlight the alleged atrocities committed by Pakistan against the people in these regions.
The Union Home Ministry is expected to place package details before the Union Cabinet for approval soon. “We hope that within a month, the package will get approval from the Union Cabinet and the funds could be distributed among the beneficiaries,” the official said.
The official further stated that the refugees from West Pakistan, mostly from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, have settled in different areas of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts but they are not permanent residents of the state in terms of Jammu and Kashmir Constitution.
Some of the families were displaced during partition in 1947, and others during the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. The displaced people can cast their votes in Lok Sabha polls but not in the elections to Jammu and Kashmir assembly.
Jammu and Kashmir Sharanarthi Action Committee, an organisation representing the displaced people of the PoK, has been maintaining that the package should not be seen as final settlement as Rs 9,200 crore was required to settle all of them.
Last year, the Centre had approved certain concessions for the refugees from West Pakistan settled in Jammu and Kashmir after considering the problems being faced by them. The concessions include special recruitment drives for induction into paramilitary forces, equal employment opportunities in the state, admission for the children of refugees in Kendriya Vidyalayas, among others.
In its latest diplomatic gambit, the government has said that PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan are part of Jammu and Kashmir. There have been reports that government is planning to invite the diaspora from PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan for the next Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas to be held in Bengaluru.