INDIA BLOCKING KASHMIRI ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION : Students are harassed, ridiculed by agencies when they tried to obtain an NOC to study in Pakistan.

After curtailing basic freedoms, India's appetite for violating Kashmiri rights has not been satisfied yet as it is now actively depriving the youth of occupied Jammu and Kashmir of higher education opportunities in Pakistan.

The Narandra Modi led Indian government has trampled upon every right of the Kashmiris ever since the abolition of Article 37, back in August 2019, in violation of bilateral agreements with Pakistan and the latest addition is creating unnavigable hurdles for students trying to further their education in.a country where they feel safer and secure.

Student Asadullah Mir, who is a student from Srinagar and declined to give his real name, said that he wanted to go to Lahore to pursue an education in medicine.

'' I applied for admission online to a well known medical university in Lahore and was accepted,'' he informed correspondent Asif Mahmood.

However, the road blocks came when the Indian Home Ministry refused to issue a no objection certificate [ NOC ] to apply for a Pakistani visa. However, Mir is not alone in this ordeal.

''' Three of my friends were issued visas by the Pakistani High Commission a few weeks ago, but the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has now declined to give them an NOC for traveling to Pakistan,'' he despondently narrated about their plight.

Mir, who thought that the NOC rejection was the end of it, received a rude when investigative agencies started harassing him.

'' People from various agencies started badgering me with questions like why do you want to go to Pakistan for an education?'' Mir said.

The appeal to study in Pakistan is aided by the rising anti-Muslim sentiment in India which is down to Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] aims of turning secular India into a Hindutva state.

Student Abdullah, from Srinagar, currently in Pakistan, while talking to The Express Tribune about the pull of Kashmiri students seeking an education in Pakistan, said that being Muslim played a huge role in the decision.

''Pakistan being an Islamic country, the environment of educational institutions here is very different from India.,'' he said.

When asked about what students have to go through to come to Pakistan, he stated : ''Students are intimidated and ridiculed in different ways. They have to wait for hours outside offices just to get permission to come to Pakistan.''

Abdullah added that the ridicule had increased to such an extent that now the dream of Kashmiri youth to study in Pakistan was dying.

Ravi Nitish, the convener of  Aghaz Dosti, a nongovernmental organization [NGO] promoting friendship between Pakistan and India, said, ''If Kashmiri students are being barred from going to Pakistan for education it is depressing, it should not happen.''

Referring to the plight of the Kashmiri students, Nitish said that they should have the right to go get an education wherever they want.

He was of the view that since Kashmir was the leading cause of tension between the two countries, investigative agencies keep looking for a reason to ban movement.

Nitish further opined that if there is an agreement between the two countries to issue visas for trade, religious tourism, and medical treatment, then instead of stopping Kashmiri students, Pakistan and India should also issue visas to each other for educational purposes.

''The major universities of the two countries should reach an agreement, and if the government think this could lead to a security issue, it should be done at the government level,'' he suggested in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune.    

The World Students Society thanks author Asif Mahmood, The Express Tribune.


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