Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday reiterated that his government would fully extend all possible support to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir for attaining fast track progress and prosperity.
Presiding over the 49th Session of AJK Council as its Chairman here, the Prime Minister emphasized that the AJK government should also ensure complete transparency and accountability in execution of public welfare projects.
He said his government and cabinet has already announced zero-tolerance for the corruption which like cancer had eroded the society and vowed to hold accountable anyone found indulged in it.
The similar reflection should also be seen here in the AJK, where the people may realize that their hard earn money is being judiciously and justly spent on their welfare,” he added.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked Prime Minister of AJK Chaudhry Abdul Majeed to identify the cost effective hydro projects in Kashmir, and told that Government of Pakistan will provide all assistance in realizing these projects. He stressed the enhancement of tax net and ensure good governance for the larger interests of the people.
I have personal interest in Kashmirand the people of Pakistan have the same desire that their Kashmirbrethren should reap benefits of progress and prosperity. For this purpose, I have visited Muzaffarabad,” he maintained.
The Prime Minister observed that expansion of road networks in the AJK was critical to its prosperity and removal of backwardness. When there are road networks, the transportation would increase which would boost its economic activities and further enhance the educational pursuits, he said, adding that the AJK has much better literacy rate than other parts of Pakistan.
The Prime Minister further suggested that exploitation of tourism potential could also supplement AJK government’s income and the lot of the people. This can be achieved only if a good road network is available, PM added. PM said that in order to give the economic benefits to AJK, AJK could be linked to the Economic trade corridor through a link road. PM added that the new airport project at Rawat would also benefit Kashmirpeople. He informed that a land has been identified and it would lead to Zero Point Islamabad through 10-lane Motorway for providing easy access to the people, enabling them to reap the fruits of the government’s public-friendly policies in the shortest possible time.
The Prime Minister said that they intended to run a rail service up to Muzaffarabad which was very much part of the Rawat airport project. He said the government of Pakistanwas fully prepared to help out the AJK government to deal with its financial and economic issues, irrespective of who was at the helm of affairs.
About Kashmirissue, the Prime Minister said that he had always considered it as his prime responsibility that it should be resolve in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people and UN resolutions.
He said that he had raised the issue at all fora, adding that he had raised the issue with US President Barack Obama during his recent visit asking him to play his role in resolution of the issue.
“During my previous tenure, I had also spoken to former US president Bill Clinton on resolution of Kashmirissue,” he added.
About Pak-Indo relations, the Prime Minister categorically reiterated that it was India which indulged in the arms race, ‘we were drawn into arms race by India,” he added.
“If we had a choice, we could have diverted these expenditures to the social sector uplift and eradication of poverty,” he emphasized.
PM Nawaz Sharif expressed his satisfaction that the situation on LoC has improved.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the roads projects which were initiated during his previous tenure in AJK including Taobut to Sharda in Neelum valley which could be further expanded to the Northern Areas.
He observed that if a network of small hydro projects could be initiated, the whole of AJK and Pakistanwould get benefits from the production of clean energy, opening further vistas of prosperity.
Lauding services of the Kashmirpeople on both sides of the LoC in various fields, the Prime Minister said that they have excelled in fields like medical and science and brought laurels for their homeland.
During the meeting, President AJK Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan and Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed lauded the policies of the Government of Pakistan. Expressing their gratitude to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for courageously raising the Kashmirissue during his recent address at the UN, said that the Kashmiri people had been greatly satisfied to hear such bold and vigour stance.
The AJK Prime Minister especially appreciated the Prime Minister’s policy of political reconciliation in the country. “By allowing various parties to run affairs of the government in the provinces and AJK manifest the political farsightedness of the Prime Minister of Pakistan which is good omen for the democracy in the country,” he added.
Lending his full support to the government’s decision of holding talks with Taliban and ending terrorism in the country, AJK Prime Minister said that would completely back such initiatives.
He sought Federation’s help for materializing about 15,000 MW potential of hydro- power projects in the AJK to end energy woes. He also requested the Prime Minister of Pakistan for financial support in making IPPs functional with estimated capacity of generating 3000 MW in AJK.
Later Fiscal budget for the AJK Council with total outlay of Rs14.48 billion was laid down before the AJK Council, for approval. Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Barjees Tahir presented the salient features of the AJK Council budget, saying that they would cut down 30 per cent of non-development projects.
He also informed the meeting that they had not enlisted new development projects in the fiscal budget 2013-14 rather the previous pending projects would be accomplished first.
He said that the hydro projects with potential of generating 11,000 MW of electricity had been identified which could produce less expensive power by 2019.
The Minister also praised the Prime Minister for raising the support money to the martyred of LoC which had been raised to Rs3 lac per head.
Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Marvi Memon, Minister of State for Khurram Dastagir Khan, members of AJK Council and other high officials of AJK government attended the meeting.