MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan will address a ‘mammoth gathering’ in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) capital later this month in his first public appearance in the territory after last year’s election campaign.
Adviser for information Chaudhry Rafique Nayyar said the ruling PTI’s parliamentary party had decided at its meeting, presided over by party’s regional president and prime minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, to hold the public meeting in K.H. Khurshid mini stadium in the heart of Muzaffarabad on Sept 29 “to renew the unflinching affiliation of the Kashmiris with their ambassador”.
Early this month,PM Ilyas had announced at a public meeting in Bagh that Mr Khanwould soon be invited to address a “huge jalsa” at the place of his choosing in Azad Kashmir.
“The venue of the public meeting might be in Muzaffarabad or in Kotli or here in Bagh,” he had said in Bagh, but immediately it was not clear if Muzaffarabad was the choice ofMr Khan or that of Mr Ilyas.
PTI govt to grant tax exemptions to promote industry in region
Mr Nayyar said the parliamentary party in general and PM Ilyas in particular were sanguine about huge public participation in the Sept 29 event “because of the strong bond between the Kashmiris and Mr Khan”.
“Kashmiris owe rich tributes to Khan sahib for the way he fought their case at international forums and provided generous funds for the development and prosperity of Azad Kashmir in spite of country’s bad economic condition and they will accord him a rousing reception in Muzaffarabad,” the press release quoted Mr Ilyas as saying at the parliamentary party meeting.
According to the press release, the parliamentary party also decided to take part in the forthcoming local bodies elections with full force, expressing optimism that it would clinch victory exactly like that of the last year’s general elections.
“We will devolve powers to the grassroots level in accordance with the vision of our leader Imran Khan,” PM Ilyas said, informing the participants that the PTI’s parliamentary board for LB polls would soon be constituted.
The parliamentary party also gave its nod to a proposal by Mr Ilyas to grant tax exemptions to promote industrialisation in AJK, following which a 15-member committee, headed by the finance minister, was constituted to determine the ratio of exemption. The committee was asked tosubmit its report to the prime minister within two weeks.
“We have to take bold initiatives to create an investment-friendly atmosphere in our state so that we can attract more and more investors which will eventually create employment opportunities and strengthen our economy,” Mr Ilyas said.
Meanwhile, the AJK cabinet has decided to upgrade 300 schools, 330 first aid posts, 66 basic health units, the district headquarters hospital Bagh, tehsil headquarters hospital Khuiratta and rural health centre Baloch and establish a cardiac unit in Dadyal.
The cabinet meeting with PM Ilyas in the chair also decided to increase the salary and allowance on a par with other provinces, establish a medical university and two dental colleges in the state. It also decided to establish four tehsils in Azad Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2022