MIRPUR - Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry has said that the government was paying special attention to the speedy development  and uplift of the Neelum Valley. He was talking to Member Legislative Assembly and Parliamentary Secretary for Zakat and Ushr Pir Muhammad Mazhar Saeed Shah who called on him on Saturday. Speaking on the occasion, Barrister Chaudhary while referring to massive tourism potential and natural resources in the Neelum valley said besides capitalizing these resources the government was keen to improve the standard and quality of life and provide better facilities to the people of the valley. He said that steps were being taken to promote tourism and protect the natural environment by protecting forests in the area. On this occasion, Pir Muhammad Mazhar Saeed Shah briefed the AJK President about the problems being faced by the people in the Neelum Valley. The AJK President assured the visiting MLA that the govt would leave no stone unturned in resolving the problems of Neelum Valley.

 

On this occasion, Member Legislative Assembly and Parliamentary Secretary for Zakat and Ushar Pir Muhammad Mazhar Saeed Shah invited the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to visit the Neelum Valley, which the President of the State accepted and said that he will soon visit the Neelum Valley in detail.

Meanwhile, Kashmiris across the political lines have categorically rejected “sinister” Indian design of giving unlawful voting rights to 2.5 million non-Kashmiris, to change electorate composition, impose fascist Hindu rule and marginalize the Muslim majority. Kashmiris in the Indian occupied valley term the Indian move as yet another onslaught on demography following revocation of Article 370 and 35-A of Indian constitution on August 05, 2019.

The fascist regime changed Kashmir’s age-old domicile law and issued unlawful domiciles to hundreds of thousands non-Kashmiris. It also redrew electoral maps and increased assembly seats in the Hindu-majority Jammu by six from 37 to 43 and Muslim-majority Kashmir by just one from 46 to 47.

The well calculated measure was aimed at tilting the balance of power in favour of a particular party. The Modi regime also introduced or modified hundreds of laws to grab land and deprive native people of their basic rights.

These steps of providing voting rights to non-Kashmiris has been rejected by all Kashmiris irrespective of their political affiliation, ethnocentric inclination and regional bonding, and have been termed as “colonial measures,” former puppet Chief Minister of IIOJK and head of pro-Indian Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti, termed the move as “last nail in the coffin of electoral democracy” in the region.“They want to fraudulently bring 2.5 million voters and install some fascist rulers. They want to make demographic changes,” Mufti said while relating the process with German Nazi’s and Israeli policies.

 

The PDP also took out a protest march in Srinagar on Friday against the decision. Party spokesperson Suhail Bukhari told reporters the move was aimed at “electoral demographic change being forced by the BJP” through inclusion of “imported voters”. “Is the BJP so insecure about support from genuine voters of (Jammu and Kashmir) that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats? None of these things will help the BJP when the people of J&K are given a chance to exercise their franchise,” tweeted another former puppet Chief Minister of IIOJK, Omar Abdullah.

 

It is pertinent to mention that IIOJK is without so-called elected government since 2018 and is being ruled directly by New Delhi through a selected administrator. All Parties Hurriyat Conference Vice Chairman, Shabbir Ahmad Shah in his message from Tihar Jail termed the measure as yet another attempt for political dis-empowerment and marginalization of the indigenous Muslim majority of the territory.

 

Senior IIOJK Congress leader, Prof Saifuddin Soz urged people of Kashmir to come forward for a decisive battle against brazenly undemocratic and unconstitutional step while National Conference Additional General Secretary Sheikh Mustafa Kamal said the decision was a mockery of participatory democracy in the territory. A Kashmiri political analyst, who refused to be identified fearing reprisals, told Al Jazeera the decision to bring in more voters has “shaken the Kashmiris and the next move could be to ask them to leave their homes”. “It will ensure complete dis-empowerment of the Muslim community. Already through many laws, they have been turned into a political minority,” said the analyst.

 

Mohamad Junaid, who teaches anthropology at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the United States, told Al Jazeera the government’s “eventual goal is forced demographic change, dispossession of Kashmiris and the erasure of Kashmiri as a political identity”.

 

Pakistan termed the measure as a clear manifestation of the treacherous Indian design to influence the outcome of ‘so-called’ elections in the IIOJK. Foreign Office spokesman reiterated Pakistan’s complete rejection of India’s entire litany of steps aimed at turning the Muslim majority in IIOJK into a minority.

 

Meanwhile, Secretary-General’s Deputy Spokesman Farhan Aziz Haq in his press briefing in New York said the matter about permitting temporary residents in the Muslim-majority IIOJK to register as voters would “need to be studied”. But, he added, “The basic principle that we followed is that for any disputes, it’s important to make sure that all of the communities feel being fairly treated and fairly represented.”