MIRPUR (AJK)-Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Wednesday said that hearts of the people of Pakistan and Kashmir beat in unison and Pakistan will not ever leave people of Jammu & Kashmir alone in their just and principled struggle for the right to self-determination.

Punjab CM Usman Buzdar was addressing a ceremony at adjoining village Bong, Khari Sharif where he inaugurated the phased-project of restoration of Upper Jhelum Canal, damaged by recent devastating earthquake in Mirpur.

The Punjab CM continued that Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan fought the case of Kashmiris through his bold and courageous address in the United Nations General Assembly - which is the manifestation of Pakistan’s everlasting, unequivocal moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris struggle for their birth right to self-determination.

CM Buzdar said that it was ample proof of the fact that hearts of the people of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir beat in unison.

He further said that the historic address of Imran Khan to the UNGA raised significance of early peaceful solution to Kashmir issue the world over. “Pakistan will continue raising the Kashmir question across the global until Kashmiris are granted their internationally-acknowledged right to decide about their destiny in line with the UN resolutions,” he reiterated the historic stance of Pakistani nation.

Earlier, the Punjab CM inaugurated the project at Baang Khari Shareef, about 20km from Mirpur city. The project to restore the ancient canal after hectic two-week long repair to the canal damaged in September 24 devastating earthquake in Mirpur and adjoining areas.

Restoration and revival of the canal will lead to irrigate additional 5.40 lakh acre of agricultural land in seven districts of Punjab including adjoining district of Gujrat and Manda Bahawauddin in the first phase. And in second phase, uninterrupted supply of the canal water to irrigate lands in rest of six districts of Punjab including Gujrawnwala, Hafizabad, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh will be ensure after completion of the second phase of the project.

Besides senior officials of Mirpur division and district administration including Divisional Commissioner Muhammad Tayyeb, DIG Police Mirpur Division Sardar Gulfraz Khan, DC Mirpur Tahir Mumtaz, senior officials of AJK and the Punjab governments and notables of the area were also present on the occasion.

Secretary Irrigation Department Saif Anjum, while apprising the audience of the upper Jhelum canal’s revival project, said that the September 24 devastating earthquake measuring 5.6 at Richter scale in Mirpur and the adjoining areas caused breach in the canal, emerging from the water of Mangla dam inundating scores of the adjoining quake-hit villages. He said that the irrigation department immediately blocked the canal five minutes after the deadly earthquake. “Had the water flow in the canal was not closed, there would have been colossal loss of life and material following inundation of the huge area in the breached canal water”, he claimed.

The Secretary Irrigation said that the first phase of the revival of the canal project for supply of four thousand cusecs of water has so far been completed.

It was further told in the briefing that the canal’s wall measuring 37 thousand RFT from Head Bong to Jatlaan town was damaged in the catastrophe, which was repaired in a short span of only two weeks soon after the calamity.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said that the affected portion of the historic Upper Jhelum Canal has been restored within a short span of a couple of weeks.