Kashmiris want India border opened for flood relief

2014-09-22 22:28
An aerial view of the flooded area of Peer Kot in Jhang, in central Punjab province. (Arif Ali, AFP)

An aerial view of the flooded area of Peer Kot in Jhang, in central Punjab province. (Arif Ali, AFP)

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Muzaffarabad - Pakistan-controlled Kashmir's parliament on Monday called upon India to open the de facto border separating the two sides of the disputed territory to allow rescue officials to reach residents hit by devastating floods.

Monsoon-induced flooding has wreaked havoc on both sides of the Himalayan region, which is divided between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

Its effects have been particularly devastating in Srinagar, the capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir where thousands of people lost their homes and were stranded for weeks without aid.

The floods, which hit on 7 September, also caused devastating economic losses running into billions of dollars to the area's famed carpet exporters, with separatists heavily criticising New Delhi's response.

The government of Pakistan's Azad Jammu Kashmir issued a resolution calling for the United Nations to intervene, which was passed by the parliament of the nominally autonomous territory.

"The government of Pakistan should contact the United Nations and government of India to open the ceasefire line to supply the relief goods to the flood victims for their rehabilitation," the re solution by the 49-member house said.

"India has left helpless Kashmiris alone. Hundreds of dead bodies are lying unattended and thousands of people are missing, there is no arrangement for edibles.

"So this meeting [calls on] the UN to send international agencies to the Indian-held Kashmir to help the victims," it said.

Separately, the union representing traders involved in business across the border also demanded the opening of the Line of Control (LoC) which splits the region in two.

"The United Nations should open the LoC for the relief activities to enable us to go and help the flood victims," Gohar Kashmiri, president of the Intra-Kashmir traders union, told a press conference.

Since 1989 fighting between Indian forces and rebels seeking independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan has killed tens of thousands, mostly civilians.

Read more on:    india  |  pakistan  |  natural disasters

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