PaK minister castigates India for blocking international aid

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Muzaffarabad: Pakistan administered Kashmir’s minister for finance, planning and development, Chaudhry Latif Akbar, has deplored New Delhi’s denial to the UN and other international aid agencies to carry out rescue and relief related activities in the flood affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir, and has asked Islamabad to raise the issue at international level.
“Reports reaching here from across the Line of Control (LoC) reveal a sorry state of affairs. Hundreds of thousands of people are still marooned, but the Indian government is callously overlooking their plight,” he said at a press conference here on Sunday.
“Pakistan is an important party to the Kashmir dispute and (therefore) it cannot and should not stay oblivious to the plight of the Kashmiris. The Foreign Office must come up with a strong worded call to India to let the world community succour the stranded Kashmiris,” he said.
Akbar, who is also secretary general of the ruling Peoples Party in PaK, said the grievous and alarming situation in the flood-affected Jammu and Kashmir warranted for immediate remedial measures, and a little delay could give birth to another tragedy.
He lamented that while the Indian government had itself failed to provide requisite assistance to the marooned Kashmiris, it had rubbed salt into their wounds by denying UN’s offer to help in rescue and relief efforts.
He recalled that when the massive earthquake struck PaK in October 2005, not only Islamabad threw the region open to international aid agencies but people from length and breadth of Pakistan also flocked to the quake hit areas with mounds of relief goods.
“Contrarily, we have not witnessed any such gesture on the part of Indian government and people in Jammu and Kashmir. Does this not show that who feels our pain and who takes it uncaringly?”
He however paid rich tributes to the Kashmiri youth for their exceptional courage, resilience, valour and helpfulness in the face of the worst ever disaster in a century.
“They way Kashmiri youth helped out stranded people without any resources serves as a desirable model for others,” he said.
He asserted that the PaK government earnestly wanted to help out the victims of worst ever floods on the other side of the divide, notwithstanding huge infrastructure loss and around 70 casualties in its own area.
“However, so far we have not been able to find any channels to extend that help,” he said.
The PaK minister suggested that the LoC crossing points should be used for transportation of relief goods instead of trade goods until the life returned to routine on the other side. Civil society activities as well as journalists from here should be allowed to go across to carry out and cover relief and rescue activities, he added.

Author Author
Tariq Naqash

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