Muzaffarabad: The 147 Megawatt Patrind Power Project is a milestone in hydro power generation in Azad Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said while welcoming Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who inaugurated the electricity plant here today.
After inaugurating the project, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressed a large gathering attended by Prime Minister AJK Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Chaudhry Barjees Tahir, AJK Cabinet Ministers, members of the AJK Legislative Assembly, CEO Star Hydro Waqar Ahmad Khan, Korean experts and senior members of the bureaucracy.
President Masood Khan complimented Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on his principled and courageous stance on Kashmir and Palestine in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Summit and earlier at the United Nations General Assembly. He said his statement was hailed by the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir and Muslims world over.
President Masood Khan said that the Patrind Power Project is a bridge between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and AJK as it is built on the Kunhar River flowing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is, he said, similar to the Karot Hydro Power Project which is a bridge between Azad Kashmir and Punjab. “This deepens connectivity between Azad Kashmir and Pakistan”, he said.
The President said that the AJK Government led by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan has created a hospitable environment for investment in Azad Kashmir, including by foreign corporations. The absorptive capacity of the administrative and financial apparatus has increased manifold, he said.
The President said at the moment Azad Kashmir is producing 1500 MW of energy out of which its requirement is 400 MW, while the remaining 1100 MW are 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 8000 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 grow to 2,000 MW, it would still have surplus of 5000-6000 MW for contribution to Pakistan.
The President 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.
The President thanked Pakistan for formally making Azad Kashmir a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The President also thanked Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for Pakistan’s full support to 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 this process, precautions were being taken to protect the environment.
President Masood Khan 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.
The President castigated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for launching the so called water aggression against Pakistan. Had India not occupied large parts of Jammu and Kashmir, he said, it would not have occupied Pakistan’s waters and it would not act as an upper riparian.
In pursuance of its water aggression, he said, India is rapidly developing nine dams on the western rivers including Kishan Ganga, Ratle, Sawalkot, Kwar, Pakul Dal, Barsar and Kirthai I and II.