No govt can deviate from principled stand on Kashmir: minister

4 December 2008
The Dawn

Muzaffarabad: Federal Minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira on Thursday said no government in Pakistan could deviate from the principle stand on Kashmir or accept a solution to the issue without taking into account the aspirations of the Kashmiris. Speaking to the District Bar Association members at Rawalakot, Mr Kaira expressed optimism for settlement of Kashmir imbroglio through tripartite talks. “The solution to the issue lies in dialogue. If dialogue is stopped, deadlock is created and deadlock leads to war which causes destruction and devastation,” he said. Vowing that the incumbent federal government would never compromise on ‘national integrity’, Mr Kaira said trans-LoC trade was launched on the recommendation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) as well as the AJK’s political leadership. About the ongoing political crisis in AJK, the minister made it clear that neither the federal government was meddling in the AJK affairs nor had it devised a policy to destabilise the AJK government. In this regard, he cited that while the federal government had slashed the development budgets of all provinces, it had not taken any such step in AJK. “However, if the elected representatives in AJK want to take any decision about change of government, the federal government cannot stop them,” he said. Mr Kaira said there had been differences in the ruling party (Muslim Conference) in AJK and the rulers should not adopt an ‘ostrich like attitude’ towards the prevailing situation. “Instead of keeping their own house in order, they are pointing fingers at others which is not a wise thing,” he said. On the occasion, he also asserted that the PPAJK lawmakers were at liberty to take any decision in this regard. Regarding Azad Kashmir’s judicial affairs, which are looked after by the AJK council, Mr Kaira said his efforts as in-charge minister of the council would soon prove productive. He admitted that non-appointment of a permanent chief justice in the AJK High Court over the past two years was a grave constitutional and legal error but announced that it would be compensated shortly. The minister expressed similar views at a public meeting at Sabir Shaheed Stadium. Speaking on the occasion, a former PPP MNA, Chaudhry Manzoor, said the political change in AJK could hardly be prevented. The remnants of former president Pervez Musharraf in Azad Kashmir who talk about civil-military democracy would have to go at the earliest, in a clear reference to AJK premier Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, he said. PPAJK president MLA Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, Chaudhry Latif Akbar, Sardar Ghulam Sadiq and Shazia Khatoon and leader of the opposition in AJK Assembly Sardar Qamaruz Zaman also spoke on the occasion.