Healthcare, education, and corruption in Pakistani administered areas of Kashmir, by Jamil Maqsood

Healthcare, education, and corruption in Pakistani administered areas of Kashmir, by Jamil Maqsood

“A July 14th conference in the European Parliament provided a wonderful opportunity to express our concerns with regard to the emerging political and security situation in Afghanistan and its global and regional impact. I would say that in an integrated world any such event will affect the respective people and the region and can be detrimentally impactful to the entire globe in many ways.

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“Afghanistan as a buffer and landlocked country has been a playground for great games. Because of its geo- strategic importance I can say the people of that country have been the victim of geography. As a neighbour Pakistan has been keeping an eye , and the idea of its strategic depth led the Pakistani deep state to find a way to interfere in a sovereign country. Long before the arrival of the Soviet forces in Afghanistan the military of Pakistan has started its interventions in Kabul’s affairs. After the arrival of the Soviets into Afghanistan turned the table of geo- strategic confrontation between East and Western blocs in other meanings, the Cold War between the members of NATO member states and Soviet Union.

“India remains non aligned and formed its Non Aligned Movement. That movement has gained overwhelming support of the countries with nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’ members and 55% of the world population. Pakistan’s partnership with CETO, CENTO and Baghdad pact has created a permanent hostility between Pakistan & India and has also jeopardised peace and stability in Afghanistan. The politics of the pro- soviet and pro- US blocs also effected integrity of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of tribal attack on 22nd of October 1947. Undoubtedly that attack was orchestrated by the Pakistani military at the behest of outgoing British political and military establishment.

“After the failure of Operation Gulmarg in 1947 Operation Gibraltar was launched by Pakistan resulting in the 1965 war between Pakistan and India. The story does’nt stop here. Pakistan once again initiated the deadliest proxy war in Jammu & Kashmir under Indian administration in 1986-87 with a covert operation known as Operation Topac.

“That proxy war consumed hundreds of innocent people irrespective of their caste and creed. The only aim of the state of Pakistan being to to inflict a “blood game” on the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

“Pakistan has imposed constitutional restraints on both the regions occupied by it in 1947-1949 respectively. Under article (7 ) sub article (3), in the interim constitution of so called AJK reads, and I quote . “No person or political Party in Azad Jammu Kashmir shall be permitted to propagate against, or take part in activities prejudicial or detrimental to, the ideology of the state’s accession to Pakistan,” whereas the article 257, of the constitution of Pakistan states that “When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.”

“Islamabad enjoys complete hegemony over both regions and the natural resources have been looted, plundered and exploited day in and day out. The people in Hunza valley that is adjacent to Chinese border are protesting against violations of state subject rule and allotments of mines to non locals and depriving local population of having benefit of all that natural wealth including tourism and tourist places.”

The appalling healthcare situation in so-called Jammu Kashmir

“There are 10 districts in Jammu Kashmir and 189 union councils divided into 3 Divisions. As per information available from the region, the total number of doctors is 1066, of which 60 are health managers, 300 specialists, 79 dental surgeons and 704 medical officers. Approximately 2790 hospital beds are available and only one bed is available for 1523 people in one of the regions. Regional healthcare is conducted according the medical code of the Pakistani military, and imported modern technology purchased in the name of our people finds its way into military hospitals in Pakistan.”

Total inadequacy of the education system

“The convention of the rights of the child emphasise the right of every child to an education, and requires the state to provide free and compulsory basic education under article 28: it is government’s responsibility to ensure that education should facilitate development of a child’s ability within the community and the child’s parents cultural identity.

“Article 29 of the human rights convention covers the rights of the child. It confirms obligations in both national governments and international community to promote cooperation, and ensure that the rights of children are met in accordance with the world conference sponsored by UNDP -UNESCO-UNICEF and the World Bank on education for all, presenting a global collective approach to education focusing on basic education quality, focussing special attention on the world’s poorest citizens.

“The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that emerged from the United Nations millennium declaration in 2000 are possibly the most politically important deal ever made for International development but unfortunately our children and our population is far from harnessing this international cooperation and international conventions and development.

“According to the Alif Ailaan organization, 43% children are out of the school in primary education. The same organization has noted that AJK ranks the lowest among all territories and provinces in terms of school facilities and conditions across Pakistan: 40% of schools are without a building; nine out of 10 schools function without electricity; 4 out of 5 schools do not have boundary walls; 3 out of 4 schools have no drinking water; 3 out of 4 schools do not have a toilet; 3 out of 5 schools function in an “unsatisfactory condition”; and 19% of schools operate with a single room.”

Primary infrastructure: a litany of corruption and failure

“The current situation of the primary infrastructure is no different from years ago: in fact a complete failure may be observed at grass roots level.

“Road contracts are being awarded on the basis of political affiliations and to those who have no skills or have no knowledge of roads construction. The construction of roads and school infrastructure is used as bribe and to support like minded people in both peripheries. The situation in so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan reflect each other. The people in both peripheries are protesting for their basic and fundamental rights from Pakistan. The local authorities intend to curb freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and freedom of speech of the people by launching high treason cases against general masses and particularly the nationalists elements who are the instrumental and driving forces for peaceful demands.

“Journalists in Pakistani administered regions do not have the freedom to publish reports on social, economical or political conditions or to publish any editorials on prevailing situation. The dissenting voices aren’t given appropriate place in the media publication. There is no indigenous electronic media and people relay on Pakistani news channels. The journalists who stood for press and media freedom have been intimidated by the government authorities and secret agencies of Pakistan.

“I would quote an example of a union council Thub in District Bagh one of my friends has submitted the following information that this council represents a population of 40,000 people. For the entire population there is no doctor or Gynaecologist available. The educational institutions are lacking from teaching staff. The government schoolteachers have further deputed some educated male/ females on contract and the local education department don’t pay any heed despite several complaints in this regard.

“An organised timber mafia is smuggling forest woods and the forest department is watching as silent spectator. There is no water supply scheme for the entire population. This is only a tip of the iceberg when it comes to development, health facilities ill practices in governance in Pakistani administered Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan. The people of Pakistani peripheries need urgent attention. It is also important to press Pakistan to comply with the recommendations made by the European Parliament on 24th of May- 2007. It is also noted that since Pakistan is enjoying GSP+ status although it has failed to meet the criteria and commitments made under said agreement.

“The successive Governments of Pakistan have failed to ensure the fundamental rights of the people, to repeal all such clauses that curb freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and speech. The calling of nationalist political leaders and activists “Indian Agents” by the so- called Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (which is unrecognised entity), has created wide spread anxiety and anger among the masses and particularly in the diaspora community: issuance of the notifications by Deputy Commissioners of various districts to impose restrictions on social media has been condemned by all the dissenting voices of the region.”

Next steps

“I would to help the the European Parliament to form a fact finding mission to visit the region to visualise the entire situation. The United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) also extend its cooperation if any such fact finding mission is established to visit both regions under administration of Pakistan for the last 75 years.

“I have also been informed that Mr. Dr Faheem has been arrested by the local police in my own village as he was instrumental in recent public protests against long term load-shedding and non availability of electricity and other essentials for the community. I strongly condemn his detention and call on the Government of Pakistan to immediately release him and the FIRs lodged against peaceful protesters must be withdrawn and revoked unconditionally.

“I also demand that the three-year old Arslaan, who has been missing since 14th June from Dhok Mitha – adjacent to Quaid- e- Azam University in Islamabad – must be found: local police must take all necessary measures in this regard.”

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