State Subject certificate should be enough for cross-LoC travel: Pak President

Greater Kashmir

Muzaffarabad, Jan 13: Pakistan administered Kashmir’s President Raja Zulqarnain Khan has strongly supported free movement of Kashmiris through all natural routes across the Line of Control without any procedural complications.
 “The State Subject certificate of every Kashmiri should serve as a spot-card without any requirement of application for the trans-LoC movement,” said the president in an exclusive interview with Greater Kashmir at his rundown office during which he also candidly answered questions on reconstruction related issues in quake affected areas and the Mangla dam extension project.
 The president demanded that not only the citizens but also the vehicles bearing registration number of any Kashmir should also have open permission to ply across the dividing line.
 “These vehicles should however not be driven beyond the territorial limits of the region on either side.”
 While nostalgically recalling his days in Jammu and Kashmir before 1947, he said: “I also want to travel to across. Indeed I am President but at the same time I am also a citizen of this state.”
 “Free movement within one’s own motherland is fundamental human right of every human being. Until India and Pakistan come to an acceptable decision on Kashmir, they should allow free travelling between the divided parts of Kashmir, he said. 
 “What if they do it when we are no more?”
 To a question, he said the uncertain situation in Pakistan had overshadowed Kashmir issue, interrupting the significant move by Islamabad and New Delhi to resolve all disputes through peaceful means.
 “Though the progress of peace process was also slow but the current situation has suspended it altogether,” he regretted.
 He noted that settlement of Kashmir issue hinged on Pakistan’s stability, strength, prosperity and persuasiveness.
 “The more Pakistan is strong, the more India will be serious in early resolution of Kashmir issue,” he said.
 Khan also pointed out that although India’s economic indicators sounded good, but the stark truth was that it could sustain its economic growth only by maintaining friendly relations with Pakistan and that was not possible in the presence of an unresolved Kashmir issue.
 He expressed the hope that with the installation of new government in Pakistan, Kashmir issue would also make some headway.
 Khan said Pakistan’s every government had helped the Kashmiris and that’s why he believed that the PaK government should not become a party in Pakistan’s forthcoming elections.
 “We and our political organisation, Muslim Conference, should remain neutral,” he said.
 The PaK president appeared unsatisfied with the pace of reconstruction and rehabilitation work but was hopeful that the authorities will compensate the delay through the best planning and execution of development projects.
 “I am yet to be briefed by the authorities (on reconstruction issues) in detail but whatever progress and pace has so far been there …..I am not satisfied with it,” he said.
 “The difficulties of the government aside, we have wasted a long time. Now the authorities concerned ought to plan and execute every project efficiently. This delay can only be compensated through the best planning and execution,” he added.
 He stressed that there should not be any further hold-ups. Every authority and agency needed to discharge its responsibilities “wholeheartedly.”  
 The president also made it clear that the new infrastructure of the PaK University, pledged by the Saudi government, would be constructed at Chattar Klas, the site which was initially proposed for the $ 133 million project but was dragged into controversy after the government announced that Langarpura village was suitable for it.
 “In my view Chattar Klas is the suitable place for the university…I have decided it would be built there and I wish the construction work to begin at the earliest,” said the president, who is also varsity’s chancellor.
 He said he had directed the chief secretary to initiate proceedings for acquisition of land in Chattar Klas.
 However, he said, he was open to any reasonable views by the people of Muzaffarabad as well as the members of faculty.
 “But unless someone convinces me otherwise, my opinion remains the same that the varsity should be built in Chattar Klas,” he said.
 When asked if he was in disagreement with the prime minister over any issue, like the reconstruction of varsity, he denied any conflict or discord with him.
 “Under the Constitution, prime minister is the chief executive, whereas I am the constitutional head. We don’t go beyond the book (constitution),” he said.
 Describing the prime minister “as a responsible person heading a major political party,” he said he had never poked his nose in day to day affairs of the government.
 But, Khan added, the focus of “all of us” should be to rebuild Muzaffarabad at the earliest as a “praise and pride worthy capital.”
 On his concerns about the Mangla Dam upraising project, he said since the affectees were offering the great sacrifice for the prosperity of Pakistan their problems must be looked into in true perspective.
 He said the basic demand was that every married couple of the affectees should be treated as a separate family and compensated accordingly.
 “The financial implication of this demand is only Rs 6 billion which is a peanut when compared with the gains from the project to the country,” he said.
 He said Wapda was citing the (initial) agreement but that was not a divine book that could not be amended.
 He said he had also raised this issue with President Pervez Musharraf at a recent meeting and had received a very sympathetic response.
 He also disclosed that extension project was progressing at snail’s pace and was one year behind its scheduled completion period and added that raising of water level in the dam would not be allowed until the basic demands of the affectees would be met.
 He pointed out that Pakistan was in dire need of water reservoirs to meet its power and irrigation needs and it were the Kashmiris who were displacing themselves for the second time to help it overcome the worst energy crisis.
 He expressed the hope that people in Pakistan would also follow the Kashmiris in their interest of their own country.