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Nawaz assures all-out support for AJK uplift

04 December, 2013

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MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Tuesday reiterated that his government would extend all possible support to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) for attaining fast track progress and prosperity.

Presiding over the 49th Session of AJK Council as its chairman, the prime minister emphasised that the AJK government should also ensure complete transparency and accountability in execution of public welfare projects. He said his government and cabinet had already announced zero-tolerance against corruption, which like cancer had eroded society. He vowed to hold accountable anyone found indulged in it.

"The similar reflection should also be seen here in the AJK, where the people may realise that their hard earned money is being judiciously and justly spent on their welfare," he added. Nawaz Sharif asked AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed to identify the cost-effective hydro projects in Kashmir and assured that the government of Pakistan would provide all assistance for their realisation. He stressed enhancement of tax net and good governance for the larger interest of the people.

"I have personal interest in Kashmir and the people of Pakistan have the same desire that their Kashmiri brethren should reap benefits of progress and prosperity. For this purpose, I have visited Muzaffarabad," he maintained. Prime Minister Nawaz observed that the expansion of road networks in the AJK was critical to its prosperity and removal of backwardness. "When there are road networks, transportation would increase, which would boost economic activities and further enhance the educational pursuits," he said, adding that the AJK had much better literacy rate than other parts of Pakistan.

The prime minister suggested that exploitation of tourism potential could also supplement the AJK government's income. "This can be achieved only if a good road network is available," the prime minister added. He said in order to give economic benefits to AJK, the region could be linked to the Economic Trade Corridor through a link road. He added that the new airport project at Rawat would also benefit Kashmiri people.

Land had been identified and it would lead to Zero Point Islamabad through a 10-lane motorway for providing easy access to the people, enabling them to reap the fruits of government's public-friendly policies in the shortest possible time. The prime minister said they intended to run a rail service up to Muzaffarabad, which was very much part of the Rawat airport project. He said the government was 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 the Kashmir issue, Nawaz said he had always considered it as his prime responsibility and that it should be resolved in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people and UN resolutions. He said he had raised the issue at all fora. 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 the resolution of Kashmir issue," he added.

About Pak-India 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 emphasised.


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