MUZAFFARABAD - Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League N president, Nawaz Sharif said his heart beats equally for Pakistanis and Kashmiris.

Nawaz claimed he loves the youth of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as much as he loves the youth of Pakistan. The PML-N chief said that he had several plans for AJK's development that would have eliminated unemployment from the region, but they were all ruined due to his disqualification in July last year.

“They ruined my plans,” he said, and then chanted a slogan: “Respect the vote. Respect Pakistan.”

Addressing a public gathering regarding Kashmir Solidarity Day at the Muzaffarabad University College Ground, former prime minister said the freedom struggle in Indian-held Kashmir will achieve victory soon. He paid tribute to the separatists in India-held Kashmir and lauded their "bravery". He vowed to stand by the people of Kashmir that were struggling for their right to self-determination.

"The brave people of Kashmir are being blinded by the pellet guns used to fire at them," Nawaz said, referring to incidents of injuries resulting from Indian forces' use of pellet guns against separatists in Kashmir. "Don't lose heart. God is with you."

The three-time premier said he had never seen a bigger rally than this in the history of Kashmir. Nawaz said the rally was three times bigger than the one he addressed at the same venue after winning the 2013 elections.

“No [court] decision can break the bond I have with people of Kashmir,” Nawaz asserted, referring to his disqualification as prime minister by the Supreme Court last year. “My heart beats equally for Pakistanis and Kashmiris,” he added.

Addressing Kashmiris across the border in Indian held territory, Nawaz condemned the state brutality and said the “people of Pakistan stand with you”. He also prayed that the freedom struggle in Indian held Kashmir achieves victory soon.

Nawaz also promised to turn Muzaffarabad into Lahore, vowing a continuous increase in AJK’s development budget.

“We will make a four lane motorway from Muzaffarabad to Mirpur-Dina,” adding that a similar project would be constructed from Muzaffarabad to Mansehra. “I have been disqualified from Pakistan, but ‘qualified’ for AJK,” he said, asking the AJK premier to utilise his services in the state.

Addressing on the occasion, the daughter of former prime minister PML-N, Maryam Nawaz, said her heart bleeds when the people of Kashmir suffer.

“The day will come when we celebrate ‘thanks giving’ day in Srinagar,” she vowed while addressing to the public rally.

She urged her supporters to pray for the day when Kashmir will gain independence from India’s slavery. She also thanked the crowd for showing their support for her party, saying that the people of AJK “did not vote for any party but PML-N” in 2016 elections. PML-N had won 31 seats out of 41 in the in the AJK Legislative Assembly in 2016.

Earlier, on his arrival to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) capital, Nawaz held a meeting with members of the AJK Council, party leaders, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and others. Nawaz’s daughter Maryam, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and other leaders will also speak on the occasion.