June 2003 News

Political parties' alliance demands AJK-style govt in Northern Areas

21 June 2003
The Daily Times

ISLAMABAD: The All Parties National Alliance (APNA), a grouping of political parties of Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan, has asked the federal government to form a government on the pattern of AJK in Gilgit and Baltistan.Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, APNA Chairman Wajahat Hussain Mirza said, 'Like the people of Held and Azad Kashmir, we are also a party to the Kashmir dispute.'He said the Northern Areas should be given representations at any future talks on the Kashmir issue.He welcomed the peace overtures between India and Pakistan and added that talks between the two countries should not be based on the division of Kashmir and independence of the people living there.Mirza also demanded an end to cross-border Indian firing, which is taking a heavy toll on civilians. He said before any Pak-India dialogue, an opportunity should be provided to the real representatives of Held Kashmir, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan so that they could decide their future in accordance with the people's wishes.He rejected the Chenab formula floated by AJK Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat - regarding the division of Kashmir on religious lines with River Chenab marking the boundary between the two parts - and said it was not the solution of the issue and only the people of the region could decide their future without any outside interference..He urged the government to take immediate measures for the rehabilitation of victims of the earthquake and flood in Gilgit and Baltistan on permanent basis. -NNI


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