Local Bodies elections to be held in AJK within next 06 months: AJK President

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Jurisdiction of NAB likely to be extended to AJK soon: Sultan talks to media

Altaf Hamid Rao;

MIRPUR ,(Parliament Times): Azad Jammu Kashmir State President Barrister Sultan Mahmud Chaudhry here Tuesday said that he had strictly advised the AJK government to ensure holding of the local bodies elections in Azad Jammu Kashmir within next six (6) months in all respect in order the ensure the transfer of power to the masses at grass root level in the State as categorically declared in the manifesto of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (AJK).Sultan was talking to local journalists at the side line of the reception hosted in his honour by the local PTI stalwart Waheed Pothi at Pothi village near here on the eve of his first visit to his hometown of Mirpur after taking over the office of the President of Azad Jammu Kashmir State. The AJK President was flanked by Mr. Akhter Rabbani, AJK minister for law, parliamentary affairs and information during his visit.Barrister Sultan continued that the PTI’s manifesto already clearly spoke of holding of the civic polls within next three months after coming into power in the State. He added that during recent meeting with the AJK Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan Niazi, he recommended to the Prime Minister for holding the local bodies elections in the State within next 06 months – so that local problems of the masses could be solved through their local elected representatives close to their door steps. Barrister Sultan revealed that the idea of extending the jurisdiction of National Accountability Bureau of Pakistan (NAB) to Azad Jammu Kashmir was under serious consideration of the PTI’s popularly elected government of AJK. He observed that AJK Accountability (Ehtesab) Bureau was latterly made ineffective and powerless through defusing the Ehtasab Act by the immediate-past PML-N led AJK government of PM Farooq Haider to hoodwink the ill-deeds and massive corruption during their 05-year term in power. “The coming accountability process would be naked and no corrupt would be left unpunished – as manifested in the categorical commitment of the PTI to the masses”, he added. Referring to his priorities being President of Azad Jammu Kashmir, Barrister Sultan Mahmood said that highlighting the urgent need of immediate settlement of Kashmir issue according to the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, at international level would be at the top of his priorities. He said at the first of his integrated plan to raise Kashmir issue the world over, he would visit to London. Geneva, Norway, Brussels and other countries to apprise the comity of nations of the gravity of the situation in South Asia following inordinate delay in peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue – the major bone of contention between India and Pakistan – the arch rival neighbors of nuclear capabilities, he added.

Referring to the recent developments in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces facing convincing defeat in over 20-years long war on the soil, the AJK President said that it was an unequivocal massage to India that New Delhi could not maintain its unlawful occupation over the Indian Illegally held Jammu Kashmir State at the might of her military power for further long time. “Rather India should move for ensuring early peaceful settlement of the much-delayed issue according to the wishes of the people of the internationally-acknowledged disputed Himalayan Jammu Kashmir State under the spirit of the international norms and commitments especially the UN resolutions”, Sultan emphasized. Underling his other priorities, Barrister Sultan said that right of vote of the overseas Kashmiris and increase in the reserved seats for women in AJK Legislative Assembly would be ensured in all respect – even if the due legislation by the AJK State Legislative Assembly would be required to be made to resolve both of the issues. He underlined that even opposition had no any objection over both of the above issues – since the opposition was already being consulted with to invite their view point for implementation on both of the proposals through due legislation in the State Assembly, he added. Referring to other identical local issues, the AJK President said that since the allocated funds of Rs .200 million, meant for supply of sui natural gas in rest of Mirpur city had lapsed following the lack of interest by the immediate past PML [N] – led AJK government, the newly-emerged PTI-led government would allocate special funds in the coming AJK budget for supply of the natural gas in this lake city of Mirpur Azad Jammu Kashmir. The President said that he had directed Chief Secretary of AJK to review and implement upon the demand of compensation to the addition al families of the Mangla Dam Raising Project Affectees. Barrister Sultan disclosed that since Mirpur-Muzaffarabad motorway and Mirpur Special Economic Zone (SEZ) projects have been added in the gigantic CPEC project, the two mega projects will bring about socio economic uplift, progress and prosperity in Azad Jammu Kashmir resolving the major issue of unemployment among the education youth class besides the industrialization of the State’s fast emerging Mirpur division, he added. The President lamented that following the ill-policies of the outgoing and previous governments, the industrial sector in Azad Jammu Kashmir had reached at the verge of destruction. “It could be assessed through the fact the number of small and major industrial units in Mirpur old and new industrial estates have reduced to 50 from the previous 500 number of units established during his government in the State in past. Barrister Sultan said that since he also hold the office of the Chancellor all the public-sector universities in Azad Jammu Kashmir, he would focus to ensure the improvement of quality of education harmonious to the need of the modern age. The AJK President revealed that he had summoned the conference of all the Vice Chancellors of the state-run universities operating in Azad Jammu Kashmir.