MIRPUR (AJK)-Austrian Ambassador to Pakistan Madame Brigitta Blaha called on AJK President Sardar Masood Khan here at the President House in Muzaffarabad on Saturday

Masood Khan welcomed the Ambassador and her team to Azad Kashmir. The AJK president on the occasion said that both Pakistan and Austria enjoying friendly diplomatic relations which through mutual efforts will be further strengthened.

He said that AJK and Pakistan are on the cusp of an economic revolution and invited Austrian investors and entrepreneurs to explore new avenues for investment, especially in energy and the tourism industry.

The Austrian Ambassador said that steps are being taken to explore opportunities in enhancing people to people ties between the Austria and Pakistan in the fields of cultural and educational exchange programs, trade and other spheres of the socio-cultural corporation.

The AJK president informed the Ambassador that Azad Kashmir having natural beauty has massive potential for a full-fledged tourism industry. He said that tourism in AJK is still in its embryonic state and with the backing of the government measures will be taken to encourage private investors in establishing quality motels, hotels, log huts, theme parks and organizing guided tours for visitors coming to AJK.

He added that plans are underway to construct a 200km long tourism corridor passing through all the tourist sites and districts including Muzaffarabad, Sudhan Gali, Lasdana, Toli Peer, Banjosa and others. He said this corridor will have all necessary infrastructures for attracting domestic and foreign tourists. Priority, he said, is being given to the development of the road network, which would facilitate tourist traffic.

Eight more ministers

AJK Prime Minister Farooq Haider-led cabinet has been expanded as eight more ministers were inducted here on Saturday. The new minister took oath of their offices in a ceremony held in the State’s metropolis, it was officially declared.

With induction of the new minister, the number of the existing 12-member AJK cabinet has rose to 20.

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan administered oath to the eight newly-inducted ministers including Raja Abdul Qayyum Khan, Raja Naseer Ahmed Khan, Chaudhry Muhammad Ishaq, Chaudhry Javed Akhtar, Chaudhry Masood Khalid, Muhammad Ahmed Raza Qadri, Chaudhry Yaseen Gulshan and Col (r) Waqar Ahmed Noor.

The oath-taking ceremony was held at AJK President’s House. It was attended among others b Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir, Senior Minister Chaudhry Tariq Farooq, Ministers Dr Najeeb Naqi, Ch Muhammad Aziz, Mrs Noreen Arif, Sardar Mir Akbar, Ch Muhammad Saeed, Barrister Iftikhar Gillani, Advisor KB Khan and Members of the State Legislative Assembly.

The AJK Chief Secretary, Inspector General AJK Police, Secretaries to the AJK Government, Head of Departments, and other pertinent officers were also present on the occasion.

Earlier, Additional Secretary AJK Services and General Administration Department Amir Mehmood Mirza read the notification regarding induction of the new members into the cabinet.

President Sardar Masood Khan, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir, Ministers and other participants greeted the new cabinet members on this occasion.