Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur on Saturday said that the decision by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Election Commission to bar him from entering the region is “excessive”.
Addressing a press conference alongside Federal Minister for Communication and Postal Services Murad Saeed, Gandapur said the people of Kashmir “know full well the performance of the previous governments, where a medical college was constructed but with no sign of a hostel and pockets were lined with the commission obtained from the project”.
Speaking of the AJK Legislative Assembly elections due tomorrow, he said that the federal government provided all kinds of support to the AJK government to ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections.
The minister said both the PML-N and the PPP have “tried their best to spoil the election environment”, but PTI “thwarted all their efforts by keeping its party workers calm”.
He cited the incident that took place when he along with Saeed and other PTI leaders, were heading to a public gathering in connection with the upcoming elections when some people pelted stones at their car near Jhelum Valley.
“We have decided not to respond to PML-N workers’ attempts to sabotage the general elections process as the whole democratic world is eying elections in the liberated territory,” he said.
Gandapur said he had informed the public before launching the party’s election campaign in AJK that the PML-N “would promote the Indian narrative” in its addresses. He said party vice president Maryam Nawaz “proved his saying by not uttering a single word against Modi’s tyranny the and cruel measures in occupied Kashmir”.
The minister claimed that the PTI “would form a government in AJK after a landslide victory in the general elections”.
“We will secure a performance-based victory in the AJK polls as the federal government doubled the funds for development projects in the valley,” he said.
The Kashmir Affairs Ministry, he said, had executed development projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) that had been pending for the last decade.
He said the federal government had launched a project to build underground bunkers in around 57 villages for the safety of local residents living near the Line of Control (LoC).
Gandapur said the PTI government has provided Sehat Insaf Cards to all residents of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, while the scope of the Ehsaas Cash Emergency Programme was also being extended across the valley to help the needy.
The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan has internationalised the Kashmir cause by highlighting it at every international fora.
Murad Saeed, taking over the briefing, also referred to the incident in which the PTI convoy had come under an attack.
He said that “it was not Gandapur that fired shots, in fact he was the one who was fired upon”.
Saeed said Gandapur’s way was “blocked seven times”.
Gandapur asked to leave region
On July 16, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Election Commission ordered Gandapur to leave the region following the attack.
The AJK election commission, in a letter written to the region’s chief Secretary, said that it had banned the federal minister from attending rallies and giving speeches.
“The federal minister’s speeches are creating law and order problems in Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” the letter said.