MUZAFFARABAD, Feb 21: Azad Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan on Tuesday rebuked the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for subjecting AJK to inordinate loadshedding and asked the federal government to “undo the discriminatory treatment towards AJK in this regard”.

“In spite of generating maximum power, Azad Kashmir is being subjected to excessive loadshedding which is unfair to the Kashmiris,” he said at a ceremony in President House to inaugurate the spring tree plantation drive.

“We are Pakistanis more than the Pakistanis and our struggle and sacrifices for Pakistan’s security and integrity as well as defence of its ideological and geographical boundaries are not less than those of anyone else. Therefore the government of Pakistan, particularly Wapda, should end the discriminatory treatment towards the AJK people with regard to loadshedding,” he added.

The bitter remarks of the AJK president, who is known for his forthright talks, came in the wake of worsening loadshedding situation in AJK, leading to violent protests in many areas.

“I am deadly against the monopolists…There cannot be any compromise on the identity and rights of the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Regarding reforestation, the president pointed out that plantation and protection of trees was not the responsibility of any single department but all sections of society were duty bound to undertake this responsibility with missionary zeal.

Underlining the need of special measure to stop timber felling in AJK, he said it was imperative to provide natural gas to Muzaffarabad, Mirpur and Rawalakot and added that he would speak to the president and prime minister of Pakistan in this regard.

Pointing towards the forest department officials, Mr Khan said if millions of saplings were practically planted in AJK, as would be claimed every year, there would have been jungle in every nook and corner of the region.

He exhorted the forest department officials to ensure post plantation protection apart from meeting their targets.

Mr Khan also came down on the scheduled banks, saying they were making no tangible contribution towards the uplift of social sector in AJK.

“I have taken up this issue with the State Bank’s governor and I once again adjure the scheduled banks to play their role for development of our social sector,” he said.

In the same context, he also reminded the cellular companies to contribute towards development of AJK as they were earning millions of rupees from the region.


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