Kashmir Issue At Critical Point: Says AJK Ex-PM Sultan
25 June 2006
Associated Press of Pakistan
Karachi: Former prime minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) chief of Peoples Muslim League and Opposition leader, Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhry has said that Kashmir issue has reached a critical point in the wake of world community's awareness regarding the gravity of the situation. 'The long standing dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir has entered a critical stage as the whole international community, becoming aware of the gravity of the situation, now wants an amicable resolution of the same,' he said while addressing a press conference here at Karachi Press Club on Sunday. He was giving an overview of his party's standpoint and priorities ahead of the upcoming elections to be held in Azad Kashmir on July 11. Emphasising the importance of recognition of Kashmiris as a directly involved party in Kashmir dispute, Sultan said the world's unconditional support could only be obtained when the Kashmiris themselves will give voice to their issues on international forums. 'If we succeed in the elections we will take necessary steps in this regard,' he said. He said the coming elections in Azad Kashmir assume great significance amid the ongoing composite dialogues on Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India and the involvement of the international community in this regard. It is due to this reason that the whole world is now focusing on these elections. 'It is imperative that transparency and fairness of these elections be ensured as it will not only have implications on the affairs of Azad Kashmir but also on the General Elections to be held in Pakistan in 2007,' he said. He also emphasised upon international monitoring of the elections. Appreciating President General Pervez Musharraf's proposal of withdrawal of Indian troops from the valley, he said if Indian Government agrees to this it will come as a significant achievement of the ongoing composite dialogues because it will greatly help in providing relief to the people of Kashmir in actual terms. Sultan also referred to the devastation caused to Azadf Kashmir by the last year's earthquake. He said the reconstruction has not yet been started by the present Government in AJK. But he said, 'We will take on the much needed reconstruction work at war footing as soon as we come into the Government'. He said they will give 33 per cent representation to the Women in AJK. He said unemployment is also a big problem in AJK which needed to be addressed and solved in an effective manner.