MIRPUR (AJK) (APP)-AJK President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan met at the President House on Saturday and discussed the successful passage of the 13th Amendment to Act 1974.
It devolves additional legislative, administrative and financial powers to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Both the leaders said that the passing of the 13th Amendment leading to reforms of the AJK Council is a historic step which empowers the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The president extended his felicitations to Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider for successfully spearheading the efforts towards the strengthening of the AJK Legislative Assembly and helping pave the way for this significant amendment. The president said that this amendment truly reflects the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Azad Kashmir towards achieving greater empowerment and autonomy.
It would also open the doors to the accelerated development of infrastructure, power generation, health, education, tourism, industry, agriculture and telecommunications sectors in AJK, the president said.
Masood said that the passage of the reforms package results in an increase in the responsibilities of the AJK Government where we have to ensure enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of the government machinery, good governance, socio-economic and political development, general welfare of the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in a sustained manner.
He urged the political parties across AJK to forge unity and come towards working together for the welfare of the citizens and the prosperity of Azad Kashmir.
President commended the efforts of all those involved in the process leading to the 13th Amendment. He said that with greater financial and administrative autonomy provided through the reform package, the AJK government will be able to address more of it chronic issues like the supply of electricity, water usage charge and resource sharing.
The president said that these reforms would help enable the government to streamline matters related to governance, service delivery and enhance the capacity of the administrative machinery by making it more efficient.
Empowering AJK's legislators would make them more accountable and answerable to their constituents, which he said would strengthen the legislative body and the democratic structure in AJK.
They expressed their gratitude to former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former Federal Minister for Kashmir for their support in approving these well-needed reforms.
With these reforms, the president and the prime minister said that the citizens and government of AJK have been further empowered, and AJK being the base camp would help inject new vigour towards our struggle for the realisation of the right to self-determination of the innocent Kashmiris of Indian Occupied Kashmir.
They renewed their pledge to selflessly dedicate all efforts in helping raise the profile of the Kashmir issue and also thanked Pakistan for its continued support to the Kashmir cause.