MUZAFFARABAD: (Parliament Times) The Azad Jammu and Kashmir President (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan has said that there is a huge difference between the situations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the liberated part of the Kashmir that also draws a clear distinction between freedom and subjugation.
“The people of Azad Kashmir (Free Kashmir) have all the basic rights and civil liberties, the army does not patrol in the streets of cities and towns, the citizens are not arrested, detained or abducted against their will and made enforcably disappeared, while the situation in occupied part of the state is vice-versa, of which the whole world is fully aware”.
He expressed these views while talking to a delegation led by Amanda Davis, Acting High Commissioner of Australia to Pakistan that called on him at Awan-i-Sadr.
The President said that the inhuman and barbaric atrocities of the Indian occupation forces in occupied territory, the gross violations of human rights and the indiscriminate firing from across the LoC on the citizens of Azad Kashmir living along the Line of Control is cause of the biggest concern for both government and the people of the liberated territory.
AJK President told Australian diplomats that the Indian Army had violated the ceasefire 2400 times since the beginning of this year, inflicting casualties on the civilian population of Azad Kashmir and causing heavy damage to civilian property.
The majority of those killed and injured by Indian firing are women and children, the President said and asserted that targeting non combatant civilian without any provocation is crime and a clear violation of international law, he added.
Khansaid that the second major challenge facing the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir is to take care of the refugees who have been forced to take shelter in AJK due to the atrocities of the Indian army. AJK government, he said, provides these refugees residential facilities, food and catering their need of education and health in collaboration with Pakistan government.
Apprising the delegation about AJK government and its priorities, President said that apart from highlighting the plight and suffering of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the AJK government is focusing very diligently on good governance and economic development, especially in the areas of road infrastructure, hydropower generation, quality education, wider access to health facilities, promotion of tourism, and development of industrial, agricultural and telecommunications sectors.
The President told the delegation that AJK was far ahead of all other provinces and regions of Pakistan in terms of literacy rate. With eighty-five percent literacy, gender equality and women’s equal social and economic rights, the region, although small in size, has big potential to become prosperous and developed entity.
“There are more women than men in our institutions of higher learning and professional institutions of education, which proves that there is no gender inequality in the state and that women have equal opportunities to achieve progress.
Commenting on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Sardar Masood Khan said that it would bring immense benefits to the people of AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. The main artery of this project will pass through Gilgit-Baltistan while under this project several energy projects in Azad Kashmir are being executed or will be started in near future.
The establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and construction of Mansehra, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, and Mangla expressway will connect most of areas of Azad Kashmir with the CPEC route that will bring about a major and significant change in the lives of the people here.