Masood lauds Pakistan-AJK co-op in energy, other sectors

MIRPUR (AJK)-President Sardar Masood Khan said the 147 Megawatt Patrind Power Project was a milestone in hydropower generation in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
The project had been inaugurated by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi the other day. The president complimented Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on his courageous stance on Kashmir and Palestine in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Summit and earlier at the United Nations General Assembly.
Masood said that the Patrind Power Project is a bridge between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and AJK as it was built on the Kunhar River flowing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It was, he said, similar to the Karot Hydropower Project which is a bridge between Azad Kashmir and Punjab.
“This deepens connectivity between Azad Kashmir and Pakistan,” he said. He further said that the AJK government led by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan has created a hospitable environment for investment in Azad Kashmir. The absorptive capacity of the administrative and financial apparatus has increased manifold, he said.
He said at the moment Azad Kashmir is producing 1,500 MW of energy out of which its requirement is 400 MW, while the remaining 1,100 MW is being contributed directly to Pakistan’s National Grid.
The AJK president said that in the next 10 years, in collaboration with Pakistan, Azad Kashmir is planning to generate 8,000 MW of electricity out of which 3000 MW projects are under different phases of implementation and planning.
In the next decade even if Azad Kashmir’s own energy needs would grow to 2,000 MW, it would still have surplus of 6,000 MW for contribution to Pakistan.
He said that in the short term Neelum-Jehlum (969 MW), Karot (720 MW), Gulpur (100MW) and Kohala (1124 MW) power projects will be completed, and this will be followed by a cascade of projects, including Azad Pattan, Mahl and Dudnial.
Thanks to the strong technical and financial support of Pakistan, an economic revolution has started in Azad Kashmir, he said. He thanked Pakistan for formally making Azad Kashmir a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
He also thanked Pakistan over various development projects in AJK encompassing infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, tourism, industry and agriculture.
He appreciated that now fair and just hydropower agreements were being signed between Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, which would ensure provision of adequate electricity and water supply to Azad Kashmir, and ensure rehabilitation of displaced people due to construction of dams. He added in the process, precautions were being taken to protect the environment.
He said that as economic development was taking off here in the state, Azad Kashmir must now be perceived as an asset, not a liability.
It is Azad Kashmir’s determination, he said, to become self-sufficient and an economic engine for Pakistan. It already is, he said, a strong rampart for Pakistan’s security and defence. He castigated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for launching so called water aggression against Pakistan.

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