ISLAMABAD - Renowned Human Rights activist Ansar Burney sought Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) president’s help to bring back Pakistani women stranded in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) after the termination of their marriages.

Burney called on AJK President Sardar Masood Khan here at Kashmir House on Saturday and raised the issue of around 300 to 350 women married to former IOK refugees who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and taken shelter in AJK in different times during the past 28 years, said a press release.

He said the matter took place two months back when a Muzaffarabad’s woman now in Srinagar, who was married to a Kashmiri hailing from IOK, uploaded a video message on social media, wherein she alleged that neither did the authorities in IOK issued her a permanent residence certificate nor did they allow her to return to Pakistan to reunite with her family.

“It is said that more than 400 Pakistani women went to IOK with their Kashmiri husbands and later they were denied citizenship rights and also barred from returning to their ancestral homes,” Burney said.

Most of these women, he said originally hailing from AJK and other parts of Pakistan went to IOK with their spouses after they got assurance from Umar Abdullah government under its 2010 Rehabilitation Policy for “former refugees and their families”.

Burney also brought into notice of President Masood Khan that there was no gynecologist in District Headquarters Hospital Authmaqam leaving the women of that area to face serious health-related problems, especially during intense weather conditions when roads were blocked.

He also highlighted inadequate accommodation for prisoners and need for constructing bunkers along with the houses of the civilian population living along the LoC to take shelter during Indian forces’ firing.

President Masood told Ansar Burney that issue of stranded women in IOK had already been raised with Indian government at the diplomatic level and expressed hope that it would be resolved soon. The issue of Gynecologist had been resolved in most remote areas like Leepa and urgent measures were being taken to address health-related problems in other areas located along the LoC.

He said the government had also decided to allocate separate funds for infrastructure development and provision of basic amenities to the people living along LoC.

About the construction of bunkers, the president said the construction work had already been completed in Leepa Valley, it was underway in Cherrikot area of LoC and same would be done in Neelum Valley on priority basis.

The AJK cabinet, he said, had also approved the legislative proposal for enhancement of compensation money for the victims of Indian firing from Rs 2,50,000 to Rs one million with significant enhancement of compensation money for those injured due to Indian shelling.

Burney appreciated the role of President and the AJK government for the provision of necessary facilities to vulnerable people living along LoC and also commended the efforts of the state government’s efforts for protecting lives and properties of the civil population at LoC.