AJKPP Demands LoC's Immediate Opening
22 November 2005
Islamabad: Kashmiris have demanded immediate opening of the Line of Control (LoC) so that the relatives on both sides of the LoC could meet and help each other in the aftermath of the October 8 deadly earthquake. This demand has been made at a press conference addressed by the AJKPP President Sahibzada Ishaq Zafar here on Tuesday. Sahibzada Ishaq Zafar said Peoples Party was in favour of soft borders and, therefore, there was no idea of LoC. He said General Musharraf's concept of soft borders was not a new one as PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto had spelled out this policy more than 10 years ago. Ishaq Zafar refused to comment on the issue of self-governance and demilitarization of Kashmir, saying he will meet party chairperson Benazir Bhutto in London on 26th of this month and get her guidelines and directions on the matter. He condemned lathi-charge on the Kashmir families at the Jalalabad garden. He said the AJK government had completely failed to provide relief to the affected people. He also assailed the AJK PM's statement that he was the Prime Minister of a graveyard. Ishaq Zafar said that the people of Kashmir were very much alive and wanted to stand on their own feet once again. He said around 90 per cent of the houses were collapsed in the four districts of AJK. He was of the view that if the donors' money were spent in the right direction there would be no problem in rebuilding the houses and making the entire area livable again. He said different measures if adopted would provide relief to the affected persons of the AJK and NWFP. He advised the rich not to get benefited from the relief goods and instead leave them for the poor. He said the government employees of the AJK and NWFP should be given 3-month advance salary so that they could build shelters for themselves. To provide them more comfort their house building advances and agri loans should also be written off right away, he suggested. Earlier, Sahibzada Ishaq Zafar welcomed the donations from the citizens of Pakistan and saluted them for whatever they did for their Kashmiri brethren. He specially mentioned the services of Ayesha Aziz, wife of Aziz Ahmed Khan, incumbent Pak Ambassador to India, for providing much needed assistance in the first ten days of the earthquake. He said the lady, who was representing the organisation called (MGPO), walked 20 miles and helped bring 400 sorties of helicopters in the affected areas of Chakoti, Chinari and Gujarband. He also thanked the international community for providing timely assistance to the quake- affected people. He was greatly impressed by the medical and relief teams, which reached inaccessible places on foot and established their camps up there. He said former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto called him on the D-day and after knowing about the immense devastation caused by the earthquake she announced the donation for 5 million rupees. He said the PPP-P has until now provided 500 truckload of relief goods, 10,000 blankets and 3000 warm shawls. He said the party's preference would be to reconstruct schools and hospitals. He said the emphasis up till is only on tents, but as CGI sheets are needed to build a wooden house to protect citizens from snow and chilly winds.