May 2007 News

‘NAs be given representation in AJKLA’

2 May 2007
The Dawn

Muzzafarabad: Demanding fundamental and constitutional rights for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas), the People’s Party Azad Jammu and Kashmir (PPAJK) has said that these areas should either be given representation in the AJK Legislative Assembly or allowed to be governed by its natives instead of an Islamabad-based federal minister. “Gilgit and Baltistan are part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and any decision about their future cannot be taken in isolation because it will have serious implications for Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir,” said PPAJK secretary-general and MLA Chaudhry Latif Akbar while talking to Dawn. He was commenting on a reported statement of federal Minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs Tahir Iqbal and its subsequent espousal by AJK Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan that the Northern Areas would be converted into a province of Pakistan. “The PPAJK strongly condemns and rejects the stance of the federal minister and its endorsement by the AJK primier. “This lends credence to our suspicion that the governments in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad are pursuing the agenda of division of Kashmir,” Mr Akbar said. He, however, stressed that the people of Northern Areas should be given their basic fundamental rights and their chief executive should be from among the members of their legislative body — the Northern Areas Council — instead of the federal minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs. “Or else, until the region is remerged into the entire state, its people should be given representation in the AJK Assembly which will eventually accrue a right to them to become president or premier of the joint territory.”


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