AJK PM’s claim leaves social media users stunned

Published October 25, 2021
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi was heard using the word trillion instead of billion, leaving cabinet members, government officials and many others in the gathering stunned. — APP/File
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi was heard using the word trillion instead of billion, leaving cabinet members, government officials and many others in the gathering stunned. — APP/File

MUZAFFARABAD: An inexact claim by Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi about a mega development package not only left the audience of an official ceremony astounded here on Sunday but also provided netizens with an opportunity to poke fun at him after a video clip of his speech went viral on social media.

After a recent meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Mr Niazi had claimed on a number of occasions that AJK had been given a special development package worth Rs500 billion, in addition to its normal development budget, though sources in the AJK finance department had denied having received any such indication from Islamabad in black and white, let alone any fiscal release.

However, at the foundation day anniversary ceremony, Mr Niazi was heard using the word trillion instead of billion, leaving cabinet members, government officials and many others in the gathering stunned.

“I have glad tidings for you that Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken a visionary decision about the development and progress of Azad Kashmir. [Previously] He had also given a big package for GB [Gilgit-Baltistan] of Rs370 trillion,” Mr Niazi said, adding: “In Azad Kashmir he has given more than Rs500 trillion budget/package for our development which includes many of our major projects that I cannot list here for want of time.”

“I feel it will not only ensure development of our area, it will also have a good impact for our oppressed Kashmiris,” Mr Niazi said.

As the video clip of this part of his speech went viral on social media, the faux pas evoked a fusillade of humorous as well as sarcastic comments.

Fatima Anwar, a Rawalakot based PPP activist, remarked: “I and Niazi sahib do not know how many zeros there are in a billion and a trillion.”

Mohammad Rafique commented: “It is the [PTI] party policy… From senior Niazi [Imran Khan] to junior [Sardar Abdul Qayyum] Niazi, everyone does this: Making mountain out of a molehill.”

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2021

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