The following is a letter written to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) yesterday morning according to the timeline cited and as requested by Mahmood Ahmed Musafir.
Later, in what is perhaps an un-connected event and what emerged as 22 days of ignoring his presence, the State of Pakistan seemed to have suddenly sprung into action this evening when their Federal Police appeared to launch an 'offensive' at 7:30 (pm).
It seemed as if they were on the verge of arresting Mahmood.
An altercation between journalists of AJK and the police ensued. It is reported that the latter were brusque in their approach but gradually matters returned to calm ..............as we post this blog...there are still 40 odd federal policeman watching over Mahmood, his tent and presumably dozens of other protesters from all over Pakistan:
Assessing/Determining the refugee status of a citizen of AJK (More commonly described as Pakistani-administered Kashmir) in Pakistan
04:17 (0 minutes ago)
Ms. Ruven Menikdiwela
The UNHCR Representative in Pakistan
No.2 Diplomatic Enclave, QUAID-E-AZAM, University Road, Sector G-4, Islamabad, Pakistan
With respect to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which we understand asserts the right of everyone to seek and enjoy
asylum, we wish to put forward the case of our citizen (of AJK or Azad Jammu & Kashmir), namely Mahmood Ahmed Musafir for possible 'refugee status' assessment by your esteemed organisation.
Having read through all concerned notes on your work it is difficult to ascertain whether or not Mahmood Ahmed Musafir qualifies for assistance, given the very unusual nature of his predicament.
We'll just try and provide a brief synopsis of why Mahmood wishes to attain refugee status and travel to any one of the following countries:
1) United Kingdom
Mahmood Ahmed Musafir has been a dedicated activist in AJK for the past 34 years. Apart from working for the fundamental rights of the citizens of this territory described as AJK (which happens to be a constitutional enigma amongst other descriptions - it is neither legally a part of Pakistan or an independent territory but it is controlled/administered in toto by Pakistan) Mahmood also wishes to work on alternative energy (in particular wind and mechanical). However, despite annual events in public interest from walking/marching/demonstrating/conducting hunger strikes to try and persuade the local government in AJK to heed to his demands in public interest, he has been unsuccessful.
His demands break down into the most basic of needs such as roofs and sanitary facilities for government schools in AJK and an appeal for clean drinking water. Incidentally, his home district of Kotli is where water related diseases in the local population are most severe (compared to the rest of AJK).
This year on the 27th of February, he began a walk for almost 400 kilometres from Bhimber (in the South of AJK) to Muzaffarabad (the capital of the territory in the North of AJK) with 3 donkeys and a camel in tow (to highlight the point that if humans cannot legislate on their affairs, then perhaps animals could provide guidance). These animals and the wheel-cart they were pushing had a list of 32 demands in public interest. The local government of AJK did not provide the required attention to his demands and dismissed them with 4 common objections/excuses:
1) We are already working on these issues.
2) We do not have the necessary legislative/administrative/executive power to deliver to the public. Those powers lie with Pakistan.
3) We do not have the budget/finance to deliver.
4) Why are you so concerned? This is not your business.
Even before sitting down to talk with him, the AJK Government had undertaken many underhand tactics to try and prevent him from reaching the discussion table.
Mahmood Ahmed Musafir then felt compelled to begin an indefinite hunger strike outside Islamabad Press Club in Pakistan's capital on May the 14th.
To date his hunger strike continues and the Federation of Pakistan which should be answerable to his plight has yet to pay him a visit.
He just wants to serve humanity and delving in alternative energy could help his country alleviate at least some of the problems it is confronted with.
Mahmood is of the opinion that any one of the five countries listed above may assist him with the right environment to develop these technologies which he has spent much of his life devoted to developing.
Can the UNHCR help?
Tanveer Ahmed (on behalf of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir)
Founder - AJK Public Agency