Prime minister for all-out efforts to deal with mounting Pakistan debt

As the cash-starved government is juggling with the mounting financial obligations, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday called for working hard to get rid of the debt crisis – both domestic and external – which, he said, had shackled Pakistan. 

Addressing the AJK cabinet in the state capital, the prime minister said people were exercising their democratic right to press for their demands, but some miscreants had a sole aim of spreading violence in Azad Kashmir. 

He was talking about the recent protests against rising power tariffs and flour prices in Azad Kashmir which resulted in some deaths and damage to government properties. 

Shehbaz thanked AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, his cabinet and allied parties for giving prudent advice to solve the issue swiftly. 

The prime minister said he was in Muzaffarabad to say that they stood by the Kashmiri people. Unfortunately, one of the local policemen died in the violence and the sacrifices given by the Kashmiris won’t go waste, he said, adding that assistance under the martyrs’ package would be provided to each of them. 

He said the central bank had already transferred an amount of Rs23 billion to the state government announced under the Centre’s package within the May 16 deadline. 

According to Shehbaz, Azad Kashmir is home to a lively nation who knows how to raise voice for their rights. The people of Azad Kashmir love those living in Pakistan and feelings are reciprocated. 

“The 250 million people of Pakistan too acknowledge the sacrifices made by the Kashmiris. The Pakistanis raise their voice for the Kashmiri brethren at every forum.”

Quaid-e-Azam had described Kashmir as Pakistan’s jugular vein, the prime minister recalled and mentioned the bloodbath in the occupied Kashmir carried by New Delhi since late 1980s. 

India’s ruling party [Narendra Modi-led Hindu nationalist BJP] cannot contest elections in the occupied Kashmir, which was natural response to the injustices committed for decades, he said. 

The BJP decided against fielding candidates in the occupied Kashmir in Indian elections, fearing backlash after Modi deprived it of the special status on Aug 5, 2019, while starting an unparalleled repression. 

Shehbaz promised he would continue extending diplomatic and moral support to the peaceful struggle of Kashmiris, expressing the hope that they along with the Palestinians would one day get their rights. “Your development and prosperity is linked to the development and prosperity of Pakistan.”

He said they would fully adhere to the commitments between the two sides, adding that the power minister and secretary couldn’t visit Muzaffarabad due to their engagements related to the ongoing IMF talks in Islamabad. The issues would be discussed in detail once the IMF mission left Islamabad, the prime minister added.

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