MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas on Monday said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan would be invited to address a mammoth gathering at his preferred location in the liberated territory.

“We are the soldiers of [Imran] Khan. We will assemble a crowd bigger than the one that had assembled at Minar-i-Pakistan [in October 2011] and the whole of Pakistan will feel proud of us,” he said at a public meeting in Bagh, his maiden formal appearance in the town after assuming the office of AJK premier in April this year.

“Its venue might be in Muzaffarabad or in Kotli or here in Bagh,” he said, amid calls from many of the participants to select Bagh for the event.

“If the people of Bagh give us assurance [of pulling in a huge gathering] we will convince Khan to agree for this town,” he said. Referring to Imran Khan’s struggle, he asserted that it had incentivised the youth to play their role for real change in the country.

Warns to protest outside Parliament House if region’s grants not given; cadet college to be set up in Bagh

“I am not a man who would switch loyalties every now and then and my affiliation with Khan will continue till my last day in politics. I will prefer to take rest at the end of my political engagements [rather than changing loyalties],” he said.

The AJK prime minister also took strong exception to the alleged denial of AJK’s due share in fiscal grants by the incumbent regime in Islamabad, indicating that it could force him to stage a protest outside the Parliament House in the federal capital.

“We do not demand additional funds but what is our right and we know how to get them,” he said in a threatening tone. The AJK premier also paid rich tributes to the struggling Kashmiris across the Line of Control and asserted that theirs was the movement for completion of Pakistan.

Remembering Syed Ali Geelani, he said the name given by his government to the veteran leader’s death anniversary had drawn appreciation far and near.

The prime minister also made several announcements on the occasion to the delight of the gathering which kept on chanting slogans like “Teri aas meri aas (your and my hope), Tanveer Ilyas Tanveer Ilyas”.

He declared that the tehsils of Hari Gehal, Beerpani and Rehara would be upgraded as subdivisions and said their infrastructure and administrative requirements would be met on a priority basis.

Continuing, he declared that Malot and southern Bagh would be made niyabat [tehsils].

The government would also address the issue of potable water supply in the southern and northern parts of Bagh, he said.

He announced that a military cadet college would be set up in Bagh and informed the audience that the GHQ had given him the go-ahead in this regard.

He further said the University of AJK’s campus would also be opened in Bagh, apart from establishment of a veterinary college to encourage cattle farming.

“Bagh will become bagh [garden] in the true sense of the word, with no room for unplanned constructions,” he added.

Mr Ilyas said he was a man of words and would fulfill all the promises he had made to the people of Azad Kashmir during the election campaign.

Earlier, the prime minister was received by large gatherings of enthusiastic PTI workers and supporters at different places all along his journey to Bagh via Kohala and Dhirkot.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2022

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