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AJK seeks federal govt help to fight fiscal woes

MUZAFFARABAD: The newly installed PML-N government in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is looking for an ‘institutionalised support’ from the federal government rather than any one-time grant to tackle its fiscal woes.

In this regard, the AJK government has prepared a detailed briefing for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about what Muzaffarabad wants from Islamabad in the pursuance of two federal government notifications, issued in 1971 and 1992 by the cabinet and finance divisions, respectively.

Mr Sharif was scheduled to fly to Muzaffarabad on Thursday to chair the budget session of the AJK Council, have a meeting with the ruling PML-N parliamentary party and attend a briefing on AJK’s overall requirements.

All the arrangements for his engagements here were ready, but the visit was put off at the last moment due to inclement weather.

Sharing salient points of AJK’s case with Dawn, Dr Najeeb Naqi, Minister for Finance, Planning and Development, said: “Even though our exchequer is hard-pressed due to the huge fiscal liabilities inherited from the previous (PPP) government, we will, however, not seek any one-time grant from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”

“Instead, we will request him to direct all federal ministries and divisions to honour and implement, in letter and in spirit, the 1971 and 1992 notifications, which in turn will help us have sufficient funds on the one hand and ensure our representation, even if as an observer, in all federal entities on the other,” he added.

While the 1971 notification explicitly states that “for all practical purposes AJK shall be treated as a de-facto province”, the 1992 notification deals with AJK’s fiscal needs, such as its share in the federal taxes, yearly increase in its development budget and availability of resources for construction of hydropower projects in the territory.

courtesy : dawn news

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