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Saturday Oct 08, 2011

Pak to stand by Kashmiris in all difficulties: PM

MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Saturday said the Pakistan government would stand by Kashmiris in every challenge and would take all steps for their development and progress.

He was addressing at the inaugural ceremony of Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq Shaheed Medical College here, which he named after a great Kashmiri leader in recognition of his untiring efforts for the freedom of Kashmir.The Rs 361.5 million medical college has been built with the assistance of Turkish government and Chairman Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA).

The Prime Minister, who arrived here on a day-long visit to commemorate sixth anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake in 2005 that killed 73,000 people and rendered million, inaugurated a series of development projects as part of the ongoing reconstruction phase.

He directed to implement the project of constructing Muzaffarabad-Kohala-Lower-Topa Road. He announced 2,000 new jobs in AJK Police Department for an improved security system for AJK people.

He also announced the establishment of an IT university in Rawalakot.Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said he had come to join the people of AJK on the day that was a painful remembrance of the tragic incident of earthquake.

He said it was a national tragedy that severely impacted the minds and social lives of people. He said the Government of Pakistan had never confronted such a massive catastrophe, however with international and local assistance, the challenge was overcome amicably.

He lauded the services of ERRA and SERRA - AJK’s State Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority, for their exemplary work.

Gilani mentioned that as immediate steps after the earthquake, about 1,16,000 people were given shelter in 125 camps, and added that all internally displaced people had now been honourably shifted to their homes.

He said Rs 49 billion had been disbursed for the reconstruction of 13,14000 houses in AJK. A total of Rs 39.32 billion had so far been given to the affected people.

He said ninety-nine percent construction work in rural areas had been completed, while in urban areas the portfolio of housing cash grant, had been completed in 2008.

He said the entire operation of relief and rehabilitation received an international acclaim.
He said for the deceased and injured, about Rs five billion had been disbursed as compensation.

In lieu of livelihood cash grant, he said Rs 2.64 billion had been paid while the homeless had been given Rs 740 million for purchasing 5-marla land.

He said collectively, Rs 58 billion had been given to the affected people of AJK.
Gilani said still much was needed to be done in terms of reconstruction, requring Rs 125 billion for work ranging from primary schools to mega projects.

He said out of 7790 projects, ERRA had completed 3752 projects while 2613 were ongoing.

He mentioned today’s inauguration of Government Boys Pilot High School at a cost of Rs 145 million.

He said with Turkish assistance, a District Headquarters Hospital complex had been built with Rs 2.93 billion. He thanked Turkey and United emirates for the reconstruction of 250-bed each hospital in Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot with Rs five billion.

Gilani expressed gratitude for the assistance by Saudi Arab for providing Rs three billion for DHQ complex and rs seven billion for AJK university’s Rawalakot and Muzaffarabad campuses.

He said with Saudi and Kuwaiti assistance, work in education and administration sectors was ongoing with Rs 14.5 billion.

For modern facilities of life, work continued on the city development projects with an amount of 353 million US dollars.

Gilani said Kashmiris and Pakistanis had a strong bond between their hearts and souls, and mentioned that Shaheeds Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto gave the vision of a solid ideological link with Kashmiris. He said Mohtarma also highlighted the Kashmir issue at international fora.

He said the government was fully aware of the challenges confronting Kashmiris and would stand by them in all difficulties. He said Kashmiris live in the hearts of Pakistanis and stressed that “we will do the best for their development and welfare.”

He thanked the international community and NGOs for their assistance in the hour of distress.

Gilani said as the Prime Minister of Pakistan and also the Chairman Kashmir Council, it was his responsibility to take every possible step for the development of Kashmir and the welfare of Kashmiris.

Mian Manzoor Wattoo, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, said the movement of accession of Indian Held Kashmir with Pakistan had now been inherited to the younger generation. He mentioned the commitment of Shaheeds Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Bhutto who always stood for the rights of Kashmiris.

He said PPP government was pursuing politics of reconciliation.He said the Mangla Dam upraising would ensure provision of water to the residents of Mirpur and adjoining area.
President AJK Sardar Yaqoob Khan said Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was the only head of government who visited Azad Kashmir, the most and more often. He gave the credit of three medical colleges, built in AJK, to Prime Minister Gilani and Pakistan Peoples Party.

He said Kashmiris are a peaceful nation and said their struggle would continue till realisation of their right to self-determination.

He thanked the Turkish government for the assistance provided for the completion of medical college and in other areas of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

PM AJK Chaudhry Abdul Majeed said the medical college would provide a great educational facility to the students of Azad and Jammu Kashmir, and also to students belonging to Gilgit-Baltistan and other northern parts.

He thanked the Government of Pakistan for providing facilities to the people of AJK in various sectors and for the support of Pakistani people for the Kashmir cause of self-determination.

He said the AJK government and people would also stand by Pakistan in all its challenges.

Earlier, Chairman Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) said ERRA had completed 55 percent of its projects.
Former AJK prime minister Sardar Muhammad Attique and Turkey’s Ambassador were also present.

Prayers were offered for those who were killed by devastating earthquake in 2005.

Earlier, a group of Kashmiri girl students sang ‘Jiway Pakistan’ [Long live Pakistan] in chorus amidst an applause by the audience.

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