We have Tibetians living in Srinagar. They have been given voting rights by National Conference founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah."
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday said the issue of settlement of West Pakistan Refugees “should be treated on humanitarian grounds” and the “ill-fated people must get citizenship and voting rights to live a normal life.”
BJP’s national executive member and the MLA-elect DrNirmal Singh said the West Pakistan refugees “have been living under miserable conditions for the past many decades and need to be rehabilitated.”
“We have Tibetians living in Srinagar. They have been given voting rights by National Conference founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah,” he said. “So I think on humanitarian grounds, the West Pakistan refugees must get their rights in the form of proper citizenship. Once they will have the citizenship, they would automatically be entitled to vote.”
Singh said the settlement of West Pakistan refugees won’t change the demography of the State. “Some people are wrongly linking this issue with the demography of JK, which is not the case. The BJP’s policy is clear that these people must get their identity,” he said.
BJP’s State General Secretary (Organisation) Ashok Koul said some people in JK are deliberately making the settlement of West Pakistan refugees a political issue to suit their political interests.
“This has nothing to do with demography of the State. Some parties have been advocating that people of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) should be allowed to travel to this side on visas. If that is not going to change the demography, how can settlement of some 60,000 people who have been suffering since past several decades, affect the State’s demography?” Koul asked.
Asked about reports that the issue may become a hurdle in government formation, Koul said they would “take the PDP on board before taking a final call on the issue.”