Amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overtures to people of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, the government is all set to announce a Rs 2,000 crore package for displaced people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir living in the country. The Home Ministry is expected to place the details of the package before the Union Cabinet for approval soon, a senior official said.
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. “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 refugees from West Pakistan, mostly from PoK, got settled in different areas of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts. However, 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 (JKSAC), 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. The Modi government had in January 2015 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. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had for the first time talked about the plight of people of PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan at an all-party meeting convened to discuss the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir on August 12. Three days later, while addressing the nation on Independence Day, he again referred to the three regions under the control of Pakistan. 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.