Ilyas Chattha, Southampton University
Differential Treatment: Kashmiri Refugees’ Experience of Rehabilitation and Punjab-Centre Relations, 1947-1961
Despite the growing concerns of the ‘new history’ of Partition of India and its aftermath, until recently it has been dominated by the 1947 Punjab experience of migration and rehabilitation. This has been to the detriment of other regions such as Jammu which experienced a similar pattern of disruption, one that was equally profound. The differential treatment of the Kashmiri refugees questions the standard view that within the Punjab resettlement was smooth processes. The paper seeks, firstly to illustrate differential experiences of refugees by contrasting the patterns of resettlement and rights to resources abandoned by the Hindus and Sikhs of the Western Punjab. It then goes on to reveal the Centre-Punjab tensions arising from the province’s priority of the Punjabi refugees’ rehabilitation over the non-Punjabis and the extent to which priorities changed over the period. The tensions which marked the Centre government of Pakistan’s policies regarding the ‘first preference’ of rehabilitation of the 1947 Kashmiri refugees will be at the heart of this paper, examining what the state definition of refugee meant for individuals attempting to become Pakistani citizens.