Kashmir state govt sets up reconstruction agency
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: The state government in Held Kashmir has set up an economic reconstruction agency (ERA) on the pattern of Bosnia, Afghanistan, Congo and other war ravaged nations to take up the reconstruction of social and economic infrastructure.
A state government spokesman said the agency would seek funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Bank for the Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). He said the contributions to the “reconstruction fund” would be earmarked for ‘specific’ programmes or activities.
The United Nations have three criteria to claim reconstruction funds for war ravaged nations from the international donor agencies. The criteria are: a. 20,000 human deaths as a direct or indirect result of war or civil disturbance since 1970; b. 100,000 people had left the country as refugees by the end of 1994; c. 1,000,000 people internally displaced, by the end of 1994.
According to Mr Jonathan Haughton, the author of ‘The Reconstruction of War-Torn Economies’, the purpose of these necessarily arbitrary criteria is to identify countries where there was serious turmoil. Officials in Srinagar believe that Kashmir fits the criteria to claim international funding.
The ERA has evoked sharp reaction from the pro-freedom front that has called it an attempt “to bleed people with intriguing economics”.
Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Gilani said the decision was politically motivated and smacked of a conspiracy. Drawing parallels between the situation in Kashmir and that in Bosnia and Afghanistan, Kashmir’s economic adviser Haseeb Drabu said a that “war time economy formula should be employed to undertake the reconstruction process in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir”.
Mr Gilani said, “Those who killed us with bullets are now preparing to bleed us with intriguing economics. Ultimately the funds they seek from global donor agencies will leave Kashmiris paupers, as they will be asked to bear the brunt in the shape of additional taxes, thereby benefiting the murderers.” The held state government has no locus standi to ask for international funds, he said. “In Bosnia and Afghanistan the aid agencies ventured into reconstruction only after the aggression was over. As for Kashmir the situation is entirely the opposite,” Mr Gilani said. He also cautioned people against, as ‘the conspiracy’ and urged intellectuals to do their moral duty by the nation.