Nearly 354 Kashmiri students stranded in India for over six months permitted to travel to Pakistan
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Synopsis

“We approached Indian and Pakistani authorities and urged them to allow our travel before the start of the semester,” a third-year student of Rawalpindi Medical University from southern Kashmir told ET over the phone. “There are about 354 students who have been permitted to travel. Any delay would have resulted in the waste of a full academic year.”

AFP
The students will reach Attari by road and from there they are likely to be provided transport for their colleges and institutes, said officials.

New Delhi: Nearly 354 Kashmiri students who were stranded in India for over six months were permitted to travel to Pakistan via Wagah border on Thursday, after consultations between the foreign and internal ministries of the two countries, said officials.

The academic session for these students, who are pursuing medical, engineering and computer sciences in Pakistan, is likely to commence from September 14-15, they said.

“We approached Indian and Pakistani authorities and urged them to allow our travel before the start of the semester,” a third-year student of Rawalpindi Medical University from southern Kashmir told ET over the phone. “There are about 354 students who have been permitted to travel. Any delay would have resulted in the waste of a full academic year.”

The 2o-year-old, who did not wish to be identified, said he had come to India in March this year.

In an order issued on September 8, Pakistan’s ministry of interior said, “It is requested that 354 Indian nationals may be allowed to enter into Pakistan, subject to valid visa and passport through Wagah border on September 10, 2020 following necessary health protocols and screening.”

The students will reach Attari by road and from there they are likely to be provided transport for their colleges and institutes, said officials.

The development comes in the wake of a recent public notice by the Medical Council of India (MCI) declaring that the degrees awarded by medical colleges in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh (PoJKL) will not be recognised by India. Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the territory. Therefore, any medical institution in PoJKL requires permission and recognition under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, according to the MCI.

Such permission has not been granted to any medical college in PoJKL. Therefore, any qualification obtained from medical colleges within these illegally occupied areas of India shall not entitle a person for grant of registration under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 to practice modern medicine in India. Bilateral relations between the two neighbours have been tense since India scaled down diplomatic ties with Pakistan in June this year and announced reduction in staff by 50 per cent at the Indian mission.

The move to downgrade diplomatic ties followed repeated concerns India had raised about espionage activities of officials in the high commission at New Delhi. On May 31, two officials were declared persona non grata after they were caught spying in the capital. Soon after the two were deported, two officials at the Indian high commission in Islamabad were harassed and abducted at gunpoint.

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