Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) former prime minister Sardar Attiq Ahmad Khan has said that making Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) the fifth province of Pakistan will dent the Kashmir cause.
While addressing a central convention of the AJK Muslim Conference (AJKMC) here at Khurshid Hassan Stadium, he said that the G-B should not be given the fifth province status till the final settlement of the Kashmir dispute under United Nations resolutions.
Khan said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and other national leaders have been saying at international forums that the Kashmir dispute ought to be settled as per the UN resolutions and “when we talk about these resolutions and the Kashmir dispute it means that all units of the State of Jammu and Kashmir including the G-B”.
“Bifurcating G-B should be considered a division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir which would not be allowed to happen,” Khan said .
“We salute Prime Minister Nawaz and the army chief for taking a bold stance on the Kashmir issue and it reflected the wishes of Kashmiris,” he said.
While hitting out at the federal government and the Ministry for Kashmir Affairs and G-B, the former premier said that both were using resources to win loyalties of sitting members of the AJK Legislative Assembly and other political parties ahead of the AJK elections scheduled in June 2016. He warned that the elements who were working to weaken the Muslim Conference will face dire consequences.
Khan also called for handing over of AJK education and health departments to the army saying “in civilian setup, these departments fail to deliver”.
While talking about the next general elections, he demanded that the AJK government should appoint a full-time Chief Election Commissioner and update the electoral list with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority ahead of the polls.
He also demanded that the AJK government make it mandatory to display picture of the late Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan in government offices to pay tribute to his matchless services to the AJK and the Kashmir cause.
While paying rich tribute to Kashmiris in Indian administered Kashmir, he said that “the people of Srinagar were fighting the war of Pakistan”.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2015.