Gilani Kicks Off PPP Election Drive In Azad Kashmir

Gilani Kicks Off PPP Election Drive In Azad Kashmir

16 May 2011
The Dawn
Tariq Naqash

Muzaffarabad: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday kicked off election campaign of the AJK chapter of his People’s Party, calling upon the Kashmiris to elect his nominees in order to get their problems resolved at his hands. “I have come at a time when general election is round the corner. I promise to hold free, fair and transparent election because we respect the mandate of people. I hope the way you will support the PPP candidates. You elect them and (in return) I will resolve your issues in my capacity as AJK Council chairman and prime minister of Pakistan,” he said. Mr Gilani was speaking to a convention of PPAJK workers who had been drawn from different constituencies by their leaders, aspiring for party ticket for the upcoming general election, most likely to be held in the last week of June. His brief visit was aimed at reinvigorating the party’s rank and file before the announcement of election schedule which might debar him and other public office holders from attending election rallies. “We are democrats and have come to power not through backdoor but with the support of the people. People’s Party will also succeed in AJK with the power of people and its office bearers and workers,” he said. Prior to Mr Gilani’s speech, federal ministers Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah, Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, former AJK premiers Barrister Sultan Mahmood, Sardar Yaqoob Khan and PPAJK president Chaudhry Abdul Majeed also spoke on the occasion. “We want to strengthen democracy, the system and institutions,” Mr Gilani said, adding, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto also sacrificed their lives to strengthen their countrymen. “The way people of Kashmir have been offering sacrifices for their freedom, Pakistan and the PPP makes us duty-bound to take care of your development and prosperity,” Mr Gilani said. Assuring completion of all developmental projects, he said although Pakistan was in the grip of recession but, nevertheless, there will not be any cut on AJK’s budget. However, Mr Gilani stopped short of making any categorical announcement notwithstanding some demands made earlier by Mr Majeed. As the convention also saw some unruly scenes with some group of activists chanting slogans against local leadership, Mr Gilani twice urged the PP workers in his speech to shun their “petty personal differences.” “There should not be any friction in your ranks because it will eventually deal a blow to the party,” he warned them. Recalling a famous quote of ZAB that “we will fight for freedom of Kashmir for 1,000 years,” he said: “That fight continues to this day.” While reaffirming Pakistans political, moral and diplomatic support to the struggling Kashmiris, he added: “We will support you as much as possible for settlement of your longstanding issue.” “I am sure the sacrifices you have rendered will not go in vain. The day of freedom will definitely dawn in Kashmir,” he said, pointing out that Pakistan and Kashmir had a deep rooted and spiritual bondage which will remain in place for good. Regarding the war on terror, he said Pakistan was a responsible country fighting terrorism to ensure law and order and peace for its people. “The sacrifices by the people, political leadership and security forces of Pakistan during the war against terrorism are without parallel. Our sacrifices are greater than the collective sacrifices offered by the rest of the world.” Stating that the PPP was the largest party with its government in Centre, Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, he added: “As far as Punjab is concerned, we respect the mandate of people and have no intentions, whatsoever, to dislodge any government.”


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