MIRPUR (AJK)  -   AJK President Sardar Masood Khan has said that India has, for the first time, recognised Jammu & Kashmir as disputed region by raising an objection on the road being built under gigantic CPEC project that will run through Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

He expressed these views while talking to the officials and executives of State Bank of Pakistan AJK branch who called on him in the State's capital town the other day.

The AJK president said, "Gilgit-Baltistan is historical and geographical part of Jammu and Kashmir State and the area should not be turned into a province of Pakistan", he suggested. Masood Khan said that the people of GB should be given their political, constitutional and economic rights without disturbing the disputed status of the region.

The AJK president said that gigantic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC) has helped to internationalise Kashmir issue besides bringing huge economic benefits to the country.

Later talking to a delegation Chairman Muzaffarabad Traders' Joint Action Committee, Abdul Razzaq Khan, which called on him, Masood Khan said the AJK government is committed to addressing grievances of the masses on priority grounds.

"The local heated environmental issues caused by the diversion of the Neelam river water due to the arrival of Neelam Jhelum Hydel Power Project, confronted by the population of the AJK's metropolis and its suburbs would be resolved", he assured.

The president vowed to find a solution to the ecological problems affecting residents of Muzaffarabad due to diversion of the water of river Neelum to fill the composite dam of Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project (NJHP).

"Both NJHP and Kohala Power Generation project are important projects of national significance but reservations of the people being affected by the projects directly or indirectly can also not be overlooked", he said.

He said the AJK government is persistently pursuing relevant authorities of the federal government to fulfil their obligations by strengthening the sewerage system and treatment facilities in the city.

He said that the government will also make sure that at least 20 percent water of the river should continue to flow in the river besides construction of small water bodies in its lower basin.

Masood Khan said "the AJK government is also contemplating a study for identification of environmental hazards for human, Aquarian and wildlife." He added that drastic measures would be taken in light of the proposed study. Earlier, the head of the delegation Abdul Razzaq Khan strongly suggested to the president that the federal government should sign an agreement with AJK government before starting construction work on Kohala Project.

"People of Muzaffarabad also want that the project should be built on run of the river instead of diverting the water through a tunnel that will cause multiple ecological problems in seventeen kilometre thickly populated area from Saran to Kohala", the traders leader pointed out.