MUZAFFARABAD, July 24: Muslim Conference president Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan was sworn in as Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister here on Monday. AJK President Sardar Mohammad Anwar Khan administered the oath of office to Sardar Attique at a ceremony attended by AJK assembly and council members, civil and military officials, members of the superior judiciary, MC workers and others. Outgoing AJK premier Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan and veteran leader Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan also attended the ceremony held in the premises of the Legislative Assembly.

Sardar Attique is the seventh prime minister of Azad Kashmir after the parliamentary form of government was introduced in the region in 1975.

After the swearing-in ceremony, the new premier was presented a guard of honour by contingents of the AJK police.

Later, speaking at gathering, he said Kashmir freedom movement and reconstruction of the quake-hit region would be his priorities.

He said he would ensure a corruption-free administration in the state.

He praised the Kashmir policy of President Gen Pervez Musharraf and said his government would support efforts of the president and the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Sardar Attique urged India not to stall talks with Pakistan. “India should review its attitude and let the peace process continue,” he said.

He condemned the Mumbai blasts, but refuted that Pakistan or anyone affiliated with resistance movement in the occupied Kashmir had hand in the bombings.

He appreciated the bus service between the divided parts of Kashmir and said its frequency should be increased.

He said there should also be a truck service to increase trade between the two sides.

“Regardless of the legitimacy of elections on the other side, I wish Indian held Kashmir chief minister and his cabinet members travel to our side as Kashmiri citizens,” he said, adding he also wanted to travel across the dividing line.

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