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COVID-19: PoK residents face discrimination, 'not part of' Imran Khan's cash programme

News Agencies | Updated on: 14 April 2020, 23:00 IST
PoK Imran Khan

People in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) are facing discrimination at the time of COVID-19 outbreak as they are being denied benefits under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme launched by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan government launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme under which Rs. 12,000 grant is to be provided to around 12 million families across the country including those from PoK.

But like all other schemes announced by Pakistan in the past, this too has excluded an already discriminated and deprived PoK populace of the benefits, as the residents have received nothing but despair after standing in long queues for hours outside the designated banks.

A local woman said, "Our house caught fire and everything got burnt. Even our daughter faced severe injuries. Today we have nothing with us, not even food and we are getting no help. Our daughter got treated in Rawalpindi but now we don't have money to continue with her treatment. We came to know that we will be getting money (under Ehsaas Programme) but we are getting nothing."

At present when the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll over the entire world and stepping out of homes can put lives to huge risk, these people of PoK are covering long distances to avail the benefits of the scheme. But on reaching the designated place they are being told that they are not part of the scheme even though they meet the eligibility criteria.

A resident of Muzaffarabad said, "We heard that Rs 12,000 grant is being given to the people but here we came to know that we have no right to this money."

Pakistan has always been indifferent to people of PoK and even at this time when they are suffering from COVID-19, the government is neither providing them essential food items nor giving them any sort of financial assistance, pushing the lives of beleaguered people into complete darkness.

Forty-three corona positive cases have been found in PoK amid poor testing facilities in the occupied region.


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First published: 14 April 2020, 23:00 IST