Senior PDP leader Muzzaffar Hussain Baig has stirred a hornet’s nest in Kashmir valley by suggesting that a middle path be adopted on the issue of West Pakistan refugees who have been living in the state for the last sixty years but have been denied the state citizenship. The suggestion by Baig to treat this issue as humanitarian, and to resolve this crisis keeping in mind the tenets of Islam has ruffled many feathers in Kashmir Valley, particularly those who have a communal, separatist, and pro-Pakistan mindset, and does not want peace in the state. Baig has even invoked the teachings of holy Quran to make his point, and said that the refugees have been living here for the last half century, and should be treated as fellow citizens. Despite a barrage of attacks on the PDP leader, he has stood his ground, and on Sunday also said that he had not specified the parameters of solution to this problem but only indicated how it could be resolved. It is not a political problem, and the question which is underlying is whether these people can be granted permanent citizenship under the Constitution of the state, he asserted.
Baig also said that at present the constitution of the state does not have any provision to grant citizenship. He also went on to say that the issue of migrants could be understood in the context of how Islam treats the migrants, and the Hindus could also have their own point of view on this issue. “Is there anything wrong in suggesting that Muslims should follow the tenants of their faith in finding a solution to this humanitarian problem? Finally I indicated that if refugees from Pakistan who are already enjoying the citizenship of India, are to be given status of permanent residency of the State, then wouldn’t it be possible for Bangladeshi refugees in India to claim similar status where-ever they are presently settled in India. Am I wrong in pointing out this crucial issue for the consideration of Government of India?”