Kashmir issue will be resolved in two years: AJK PM

12 August 2009
The Daily Times

Lahore: The Kashmir issue would be resolved within the next two years as India is no longer in a position to prolong the dispute, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Yaqoob Khan said on Thursday. He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). LCCI President Muzaffar Ali, Vice President (VP) Irfan Iqbal Sheikh and former VP Aftab Ahmad Vohra also spoke on the occasion. He said India could not become an “Asian Tiger” until it withdraws its 800,000-strong army from the Indian-held Kashmir. He predicted that India would disintegrate into six states if it failed to resolve the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir and international community. Potential: He said the AJK had the potential to generate over 14,000 megawatts (MW) of hydro-electricity. Yaqoob said the AJK government had initiated a 1,000MW project, adding that another 1,000MW project would be started soon. He said the AJK government, from its own resources, had also started several small projects. All the electricity produced would be supplied to Pakistan, as the AJK required only 400MW. He also presented a set of proposals for investment in AJK. Facilitate investors: Yaqoob said his government would provide land on easy instalments besides facilitating investors in overcoming all hurdles. He said that five-year tax-holiday, exemplary law and order situation, a business-friendly bureaucracy and an easy market access were the opportunities that have no match in the entire world and should be availed by all the Pakistani businessmen. The LCCI president said several areas in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir had a climate like that of Europe and were quite suitable for dairy development. He said installing new production units could enhance productive capacity in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir. There was tremendous scope for expansion in the handicraft, woodcraft and handloom industries. Inviting private sector and involvement of foreign investment would, however, be a necessary prerequisite to ensure sufficient inflow of resources to achieve expansion of productive capacity, he added. He said local tourism industry required a world-class infrastructure, adding that an exercise for this purpose needed to be undertaken and smooth and well-constructed roads could be established across the state. To attract global tourism, he said, roads in the region needed to be refurbished, adding that several roads were in dire need of remodeling. “Business chambers can always join hands to yield tangible results. The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry can be a focal point for addressing any query about trade from Kashmiri friends,” he concluded.