Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said Pakistan will continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir for their right to self-determination. Addressing the members of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council here, the Prime Minister said Pakistan has always highlighted the Kashmir issue at international fora consistently sought its just resolution.
Sharif said he has always supported the cause of Kashmiris. In this regard, he recalled his bilateral talks with the then Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in Lahore in 1999, where he categorically discussed with him the issue of Kashmir. According to him, unequivocal support to Kashmiris’ right to self-determination is a part of the manifesto of Pakistan Muslim League (N). He recalled the famour quote of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that “Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan”.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan expresses solidarity with Kashmiris on February 5 and October 27 every year and believes that Kashmiri people are being denied of their rights. Sharif said Pakistan has strongly rejected India’s propaganda of harbouring terrorists and said Pakistan itself is suffering the brunt of terrorism with a major loss of civilians and militarymen.
The Prime Minister regretted that India had suspended the foreign-secretary level talks with Pakistan and is not reciprocating positively to Pakistan’s efforts for a lasting peace in the region. He said the government has decided to hold consultations with Kashmiri leaders before resuming talks with India. He expressed concern over the apathy of the United Nations and international community on the issue. He said economic prosperity is linked to peace and Pakistan believes that the issue of Kashmir should be resolved through dialogue in accordance with the resolutions of UN Security Council.
He mentioned the recent aggression of India at the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. He said that the entire Pakistani nation, politicians and army have shown unity over the issue. Prime Minister Sharif said the government of Pakistan has provided massive development funds to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Despite financial constraints, he said his government is working on 12 energy projects including over 969 mega watt Neelum-Jhelum project and Raj Thani project of 100 MW at Pooch river in Kotli district. He said a long-term roadmap has been prepared in communication, energy, tourism and agriculture sectors to be materialised in 20 years in AJK.
He said Gulpur project at Poonch river and 147 MW Patrand project at Kunhar river are under way. He said the feasibility of Islamabad-Muzaffarabad railway track will be finalised by December and the project will be completed in two years. Earlier, Chief Secretary AJK briefed the Prime Minister about the development projects in AJK. It was informed that the recent heavy rains damaged 28,000 buildings. The meeting was also updated about the rehabilitation and reconstruction phases after the 2005 earthquake.