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Press release: Federal government slow-footed on CPEC projects in AJ&K: PM AJ&K

Appreciates CPDR for report on AJ&K specific CPEC projects
March 10, 2020
The CPEC projects sanctioned for Azad Jammu and Kashmir can transform it into a highly developed and prosperous region but the present government has been quite slow-footed in the release of funds for their timely execution. This would only create complications along with a whooping increase in their construction cost.


This was stated by the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K) Raja Farooq Haider while addressing a report launch event, jointly organized by China-Pakistan Study Centre of Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) and Center for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR) in Islamabad. Authored by Sabur Ali Sayyid and published by CPDR, the report “CPEC in AJ&K: regional connectivity and beyond” discusses various dimensions of the four projects sanctioned for AJ&K under the CPEC and brings to table their benefits, besides giving a set of recommendations to address the challenges associated with them.

Addressing the audience, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said that the government has successfully addressed the concerns of the people of Muzaffarabad regarding the purported environmental impact of the construction of Kohala hydel project. “The ball is now in the court of the federal government for the initiation of construction without any further delay”, he underlined. He also assured the audience that his government would impress upon the federal government to link Neelum valley with Gilgit-Baltistan through a tunnel to develop a road link between the two regions. He appreciated CPDR and the author for bringing out a report on the subject and initiating a public debate on the benefits and implications of the project, if any.

Speaking on the occasion, Director General ISSI Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry reassured the audience that the economic development of AJ&K was a priority for Pakistan despite all odds and financial constraints. The timely completion of CPEC projects would ensure enhanced regional connectivity and socio-economic development in AJ&K. The author of the report Sabur Ali Sayyid, in his remarks, asked for a strong lobbying to ensure timely completion of the CPEC projects in AJ&K, including the Kohal Hydel Project, Karote Hydel Project, Express Way connecting Muzaffarabad with Mirpur and Special Economic Zone at Mirpur.

Prime Minister Haider highlighted key socio-development indicators of the AJK region and the work being undertaken by the government to improve education standard and provision of quality health-care in the region. He noted that CPEC will supplement AJK’s socio-economic development as tremendous human capital of AJK is its biggest asset.

Mr. Zulfiqar Abbasi, leading businessman of AJ&K, Dr. Syed Asif Hussain, Additional Chief Secretary Government of AJ&K, and Mr. Hasan Daud Butt, Chief Executive KP Board of Investment & Trade reviewed the report and shared their thoughts.

Earlier, Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director CPSC, in his introductory remarks commended the author for producing a high-quality report that highlight economic potential of AJK and opportunities for connectivity under the CPEC initiative.

Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors ISSI,while delivering vote of thanks also reiterated importance of CPEC for socio-economic development of AJK and Pakistan.

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