AJK wants end to dispute before pact on Mangla raising
14 April 2003
The Daily Times
ISLAMABAD: The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has refused to sign an agreement with the government of Pakistan on Rs 59.454 billion project for raising the level of Mangla Dam because of the unresolved power tariff dispute with the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).'The AJK government linked the signing of written agreement with the resolution of power tariff dispute,' sources said.The demand came from AJK Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan in a Monday meeting chaired by Water and Power, Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao. The meeting was convened to bridge the differences and seek the signing of an accord on the compensation package for the government and people of AJK.WAPDA Chairman Lt-Gen Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Ministry of Water and Power Secretary Riaz A Khan, Kashmir and Northern Affairs Secretary M Javed Ashraf Hussain, AJK Council Secretary S M Junaid, the AJK Electricity minister and the officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Law and Justice also attended the meeting. Sources said that a six-member committee, headed by the Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas secretary and consisting of the representatives of the AJK government, the Ministry of Water and Power and the WAPDA, had been formed to finalise its recommendations in a week on ways to resolve the tariff issue. Sources said the agreement would soon be inked once the tariff matter was adjusted.Sources said President Pervez Musharraf had decided that the AJK government would purchase electricity from the WAPDA at the rate of Rs2.32 per unit by September 2003 on ad hoc arrangements. 'The AJK government have always demanded that it do not want to purchase electricity as a bulk consumer,' sources added.Sources said, 'The meeting also decided to extend 15 paisas per unit to the AJK government as royalty and to give fishing rights to the AJK government.' The Pakistani side also expressed willingness to honour the relief package announced by President Pervez Musharraf at the inauguration of the project on September 30, 2002.