By Shabbir Hussain
ISLAMABAD, Mar 20 (APP): A high-level social media task force of international standard is all the more imperative to counter the growing Indian propaganda against Pakistan and Kashmir by exposing digitally its armed forces’ ongoing atrocities in the IIOJK.
The whole world was witnessing the worst human rights situation, particularly in the Indian Illegal Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK), specifically unabated crimes against children and women, but the Indian social media was portraying the country’s soft image, Kashmir Forum Berlin (Germany) Chairman Tariq Mehmood Awan said in an exclusive Interview with APP on Sunday.
Taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the fascist Indian government under the leadership of Narendra Modi had put its Hindu resettlement plan on fast-track to bring demographic changes in the IIOJK, possibly for turning the public opinion or world attention in its favour.
Tariq Mahmood said Narendra Modi’s government was only promoting the Hindutva ideology through its extremist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was inspired from the Nazi regime of Germany.
It was under the influence of RRS, he said, that India had eliminated the special status of IIOJK by revoking articles 35-A and 370 of its constitution on August 5, 2019 that barred non-Kashmiris to purchase a piece of land in the valley.
The August 5 move was followed by a strict curfew and complete communication blackout, compounded with the coronavirus lockdown, increased the difficulties of the incarcerated Kashmiris manifolds, he added.
The Indian initiative of raising the strength of its army to 900,000 in the valley received worldwide condemnation, Tariq Mahmood said.
As regards the brisk implementation of the BJP government’s Hindu resettlement plan, he said India also introduced a new domicile act in the IIOJK and reportedly issued over 500,000 to non-Kashmiris for gaining a majority in the plebiscite, which was long due in line with the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
He said it was an attempt to muzzle the freedom voices in the IIOJK. India also amended the Public Safety Act depriving the Kahsmiri people of their fundamental rights by allowing the armed forces to jail the freedom leaders outside Kashmir.
The Indian authorities, he said, had also recently locked the offices of Kashmir News Service (KNS) and English daily ‘The Kashmir Times’ in Srinagar, which was an attempt to divert the world attention from its brutalities on innocent and unarmed Kashmiris, struggling for liberation.
Tariq Mahmood said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government under the leadership Prime Minister Imran Khan had played a very significant role in highlighting the Kashmir issue at international forums, besides exposing the dark face of India to the world and showing its ongoing atrocities and cruelties in the IIOJK.
PM Imran Khan and his team had imbued a new life into the Kashmir issue by effectively raising it at all world forums, including the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) sessions, he added.
All the friendly countries were briefed about the aggression of Indian occupation forces on women and children in the IIOJK, which was one of the targeted steps being taken by the PTI government to rally world support for the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle, Tariq Mahmood said.
Making the world realize the Indian move to transform the Muslim dominant state into to a Hindu majority one to impose its Hindutva ideology was remarkable achievement of Imran Khan’s government, he stressed.
Tariq Mahmood said the overseas Pakistanis were playing a vital role in the country’s development and economic stabilization through huge remittances, and it was equally imperative for the government to introduce welfare policies for them.
The expatriates wanted to be part of the national tax system by declaring all their asserts and resources, if government facilitated them through a one-window operation regarding property tax on all properties falling within its jurisdiction, he added.
Eulogizing the performance of present government, Tariq Mahmood said increase in the foreign remittances manifested that the overseas Pakistanis had increased trust in transparency of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership. The acknowledgment of the expatriates’ contribution to the national economy by the prime minister was very encouraging, he added.
Tariq Mahood appreciated the PTI government’s initiatives for the welfare of overseas Pakistanis. The Pakistan Citizen Portal one of the major steps of the incumbent government for providing a good platform to the expats where they could register their problems for redressal. Registration of over three million complaints in two years showed the portal’s effectiveness, he said, urging the people to use the forum for their empowerment as well as officers’ accountability.
He quoted the prime minister’s remarks about the Citizen Portal: “I (PM) want more people to use it (Citizen Portal). We will strengthen it further for it being the best method to register citizens’ complaints. As prime minister, it is also easy for me to know which minister or department is working well and which bureaucrat is performing bad.”
Tariq Mahmood said the Pakistan Citizen Portal had proved to be very handy as
all the matters related to Foreign Affairs and other ministries highlighted on it could be sorted out very smoothly while sitting abroad, which was an impossible task in the past.
Overseas Pakistanis Commission
The Kashmir Forum chairman said the government was taking serious steps for the facilitation of expatriates such as setting up dedicated commissions in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on the pattern of Punjab to ensure swift redressal of their complaints.
He appreciating the performance of Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission and Special Assistant to the PM Zulfikar Bukhari in resolving the problems being faced by the expatriates at home.
Tariq Mahmood underlined the need for establishing fast-track courts for addressing the cases of overseas diaspora .
He said the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and passport officials were providing better facilities to the overseas Pakistanis. However, there was still room to improve them, particularly biometric and registration system, and steps in that regard should be taken on urgent basis, he added.
Roshan Digital Accounts
Tariq Mahmood Awan his gratitude to the government for opening of the State Bank’s Roshan Digital Accounts for the Pakistani diaspora abroad, which had integrated them with the country’s banking system.
The remittance of $500 million through the Roshan Digital Accounts in just five months showed that the overseas Pakistanis had strongly responded to the government’s initiative as it provided an easy way to them to send money to their families, he added.
He said it was a major initiative of the government to provide banking facilities for millions of non-resident Pakistanis (NRPs) seeking to undertake banking, payments and investment activities in Pakistan.
The Kashmir Forum chairman emphasized that the overseas Pakistanis were the most valuable asset of the country, and provision of all possible facilities to them and their families should the top priority of the government.
He urged the government to bring reforms in their tax laws based upon the recommendations and feedback from the diaspora, particularly for the non-resident Pakistanis maintaining Roshan Digital Accounts (RDAs) to make the taxation regime simple, convenient and hassle-free.
The amendments were imperative to simplify the tax laws which would help attract huge number of new tax-payers in the system, which would enhance the revenue, he added.