LoC firing threat to international peace, says PM

BAGH: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said here on Wednesday that the hearts of Pakistanis beat in unison with Kashmiris and warned that the incidents of firing across the Line of Control (LOC) were a threat to international peace.

`Our patience should not be taken as our weakness. . .desire for peace is our strength,` he told a gathering after inaugurating a string of development projects in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The prime minister said recent incidents of firing from across the LoC and death of civilians had shaken the conscience of the international community.

He termed such incidents a threat to international peace and said Pakistan would continue to raise its voice against human rights violations and atrocities at all international forums.

`We cannot forget those who lost their lives along the LoC.

Pakistani citizens and their property along the Working Boundary had also been attacked, Mr Sharif added.

The prime minister said Pakistan was playing an effective role against terrorism and would continue its fight till elimination of terrorists from its soil.

He said all those supporting terrorism would also be dealt with.

The Zarb-i-Azb operation was gaining success and would continue till all objectives were achieved, the prime minister observed.

He said incidents of kidnapping for ransom, targeted killing and extortion in Karachi had decreased to a negligible level and street crimes would also be curbed.

During his daylong visit to Bagh, he inaugurated 42 projects in the health, education and basic infrastructure sectors. `These projects will benefit three million people in Azad Jammu and Kashmir,` Mr Sharif said.

The total estimated cost of the projects is Rs2.7 billion.

The prime minister announced that a modern cardiac centre would be set up in Bagh and more such hospitals would also be opened in AJK.

He asked the Punjab government to urgently build a quality road from Kotli Sattian to Kalyari Bridge saying that a bridge over River Jhelum would also be built at Khapdar.

The projects include schools, basic health units, administrative of fices, roads, drinking water, a memorial, a bus terminal and a sports complex in Bagh, Poonch and Muzaffarabad areas that were devastated by the 2005 earthquake.

Addressing a gathering at the newly inaugurated sports complex in the town, he said he was keen to see widespread development across AJK and would have been more happy to invite local people to see the government`s efforts for their wellbeing.

He promised that the pace of development would accelerate and schools, colleges, healthcare units and roads would spring up across the valleys and hills of Azad Kashmir.

The prime minister lauded the high literacy rate in AJK and said his government was committed to increasing it.

He said the newly inaugurated projects would provide better services to the people and also create jobs and business opportunities that would boost local economy.

He said the water supply scheme in Bagh would cater for the town`s needs for the next 30 years.

Prime Minister Sharif said the Oct 8, 2005, earthquake had devastated vast areas, but also proved to be an opportunity to build better.

He said Pakistan had no experience of coping with a calamity of this magnitude, but the people had risen to the challenge with courage and commitment, with help from the armed forces and the international community.

Nawaz Sharif praised the performance of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority and said the rebuilt projects could be compared with those in the developed world.

The prime minister paid tribute to the earthquake survivors who had worked hard to rebuild their homes despite having suffered heavy personal and physical losses.-APP

Published in Dawn