Prime Minister AJK aghast over federal govt’s indifference towards Azad Kashmir: Says AJK govt running out of money to run the system

Muzaffarabad (PID, AJK ) While highlighting the financial crises faced by his government, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan has regrettably noted that after imposing budgetary cuts last year the federal government has now withheld the allocated share of funds for the current fiscal year.

The AJK premier expressed these views while speaking at a dinner hosted by him in honour of a delegation composed of senior journalists, anchor persons, electronic, print and digital media representatives from Lahore here today. Government Ministers Abdul Majid Khan, Chaudhry Ali Shan Soni, Sardar Mir Akbar Khan, Chaudhry Muhammad Rashid, Chaudhry Akbar Ibrahim, Dr. Nisar Ansar Abdali, Chaudhry Azhar Sadiq, Sardar Faheem Akhtar Rabbani, Assistant Minister for Information Chaudhry Muhammad Rafiq Nayar, senior journalist Nasrullah Malik and others were present on the occasion.

Terming the withholding of funds by the federal government as an attempt to push his government against the wall, the PM said that the government was standing at the brink of financial crises of a serious nature. “At present we (govt of AJK) do not have enough money to pay salary and pension to employees next month”, he said.

He said that both Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan were given a variable grant because they were not part of the NFC award. According to the financial agreement the AJK’s share in the variable grant, he said, was 3.6 percent.
Speaking on the occasion the PM said, “During the last financial year, we were given 49 billion rupees while this year we were supposed to get 75 billion rupees, but despite the sudden increase in the rate of inflation, the federal government agreed to give only 59 billion rupees through a letter but did not provide these funds”.

The PM said that instead of pushing us against the wall the federal government must realize its responsibility vis-à-vis the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and play its due role in the progress and prosperity of the people in this highly sensitive region.

Regarding the no-confidence motions, the PM said that these rumours were just a figment of imagination. “Those who talk about a no-confidence move have no idea of our strength”, he said.

“The PTI does not have any forward block in Azad Kashmir”, he said adding that those who were daydreaming about bringing no-confidence motion should take care of their own house as 6 members of the opposition were in touch with the PTI.

He said that the opposition wanted to escape from the local elections by spreading lies on social media.

Talking to the delegation, Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan said, “We are Pakistanis and have unwavering faith in the state of Pakistan”. He said that the relationship between AJK and Pakistan cannot be weakened because of any political government.

Referring to the coalition government’s apathy towards Azad Kashmir, the PM said Shahbaz Sharif has not visited the region after assuming the post of Prime Minister.

Hailing the party chairman Imran Khan’s vision of a prosperous and self-sufficient Azad Kashmir, he said, the former premier not only provided full funds but also increased the development budget in Azad Kashmir despite the fact that there was PML-N government in the region.

Regarding his government’s pro-people initiatives, the PM said that the government has taken a number of initiatives to improve the lives of common people in the region.

“We established the Rehmat Ul lil alamin authority in Azad Kashmir, and improved the health care system by making young doctors permanent”, he said. Regarding the permanent settlement of post 90s Kashmiri migrants the Prime Minister said that his government was starting a project to build 1300 houses for refugees.

“IT Parks are going to be built to eliminate unemployment in Azad Kashmir, in which private companies will also be included”, he said, adding that steps were being taken to improve health facilities and improve service delivery in the state-owned hospitals.

In response to a question, Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan said that there was a need to promote industry in Azad Kashmir. “The government is ready to send its labour to Karachi, Faisalabad and other major industrial cities for training so that they can play their role in the industrial development of Azad Kashmir”, the PM said.
In response to another question, the Prime Minister said that the government of Azad Kashmir cannot play a direct role on the international level with reference to the Kashmir issue.

He said that the AJK government raised its voice at every available forum against unjust sentencing of prominent Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik.

“The government is well aware of its responsibilities regarding the Kashmir Freedom Movement and will not leave its Kashmiri brothers alone at any stage”, he said, adding that the national media must play its due role to highlight the violations of human rights in Occupied Kashmir and the problems of the Azad Kashmir government.