ISLAMABAD: Representatives of Pakistani medics on Thursday requested the Indian High Commission to give them access to occupied Kashmir with medicines on humanitarian grounds.
“I met the Indian High Commission’s First Secretary (Economics and Commerce) Ashish Sharma and handed him an application to issue visas to 21 doctors who want to go to occupied Kashmir so that medical treatment would be provided to Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, etc, who have been deprived of medical facilities due to over a month-long curfew in the occupied valley,” Vice Chancellor of University of Health Sciences (UHS) Prof Dr Javed Akram said while talking to Dawn.
On Aug 30, the UHS and Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine (PSIM) had signed a declaration that a multidisciplinary team of doctors would be sent to the occupied valley to provide medical treatment to Kashmiris. It was also decided that the team would take the medicines along with it.
Speaking about his meeting with Mr Sharma, Dr Akram said that he had to discuss a number of issues related to mutual cooperation in the health sector.
“I also took up the issue of the miseries of people of occupied Kashmir and requested Mr Sharma to play his role in getting visa for a team of 21 doctors led by me. I also told him that we are ready to go without cell phone, watches and even can go barefooted, ” he said.
“Initially Mr Sharma said that there was no humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir and the situation was under control. However, I replied that, in that case, we should be allowed to go there and after returning we will hold a press conference to inform the public that the situation in occupied Kashmir was normal,” he said.
“However, the diplomat said that it was not possible to provide a safe corridor. I told him that we are willing to go there at our own risk and will give in writing that we will be responsible in case of any incident or casualty of our team members. Mr Sharma was initially hesitant to receive the letter, but finally he received it. We requested him to take up the issue with his government and allow us to enter occupied Kashmir through the Line of Control. Moreover, I told him that, in case of refusal, we will try to go there without visa,” he said.
According to the letter, addressed to the deputy high commissioner of India and available with Dawn, the doctors were concerned about the public health and healthcare situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Published in ThePublic, September 6th, 2019