India will not recognise degrees awarded by medical colleges in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the Medical Council of India has declared in a public notice, a move designed to firmly, even if partially, block Prime Minister Imran Khan’s scholarship scheme for1,600 students from Kashmirisevery year.
The MCI announcement comes months after the Jammu and Kashmir high court asked the MCI and external affairs ministry to review its stand to see if students who study medicine in these territories could be allowed to practice.
The trigger for the court’s December 2019 order was a petition from a young Kashmiri woman who had studied medicine in PoK but was disallowed from sitting for the exam meant for people who studied abroad. This exercise was still in motion when the Pakistan government, in February, announced the scheme to extend generous scholarships for 1,600 Kashmiri students.
Security agencies red-flagged the Imran Khan government’s outreach to Kashmiri students soon after. Pakistan had been offering cheaper education options to Kashmiri students for years, mostly on the recommendation ofKashmiri separatist leaders.There had been several instances where Kashmiris had gone to Pakistan and its occupied territories through legal channels to study but returned via the Line of Control after being trained at terror camps.
Those who did stick to studies returned more radicalised than they were when they left, said a counter-terror operative.
Monday’s MCI order deals with one part of what security agencies described as a big challenge.
“This is to inform all concerned that entire territories of UT of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh are an integral part of India. Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the territory. Accordingly, any medical institution in Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir,