Kashmiris voice can not be stifled: Rajwana

CPEC to strengthen national economy: governor

LAHORE, Oct 9 (APP): Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana has said Kashmir issue is crying for peaceful resolution but, unfortunately, India has been trying to stifle the voice for freedom by Kashmiris.

In an interview with the APP on Sunday, the Punjab Governor said “The more Kashmiris are coerced into subjugation, the more Kashmir freedom movement rises”, adding “we are a peaceful country and want a peaceful solution of the Kashmir issue through dialogue as per the UN Resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiris.”

To a query, Rajwana said Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir is quite clear, adding that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif highlighted sentiments of Kashmiris in United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session and won their hearts by pleading their case.

About Indian highhandedness, the Punjab Governor said India’s role should be positive towards the solution of the long-standing dispute but India has always shown traditional stubbornness and violated the basic human rights of the minorities while Pakistan is accused of certain incidents in India.

About minorities status in Pakistan, he said minorities enjoy constitutional protection in the country, while Muslim minority in India is being butchered on the pretext of slaughtering of cows, adding that the minorities are being persecuted in our neighbouring country.

Malik Rafique Rajwana, in response to a query, said Christians, Sikhs and Hindus are safer in Pakistan and make up an integral part of the fabric of society.

He said Pakistani nation is united against all challenges.

“I personally dislikes the term ‘Minority’ for the Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and other Pakistani non-Muslims,” he said and added the minorities should be addressed as non-Muslim brothers.

When asked about women development, Rajwana said the government has worked tirelessly to empower women in all fields of life, adding that Punjab government of Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has introduced legislation to improve the plight of women and introduced historic legislation besides providing opportunities to achieve economic independence.

He said such effective legislation has been introduced in honor killing cases that ‘compromise’ in such cases is not acceptable to the courts.

Vis-a-vis Southern Punjab, he said the government supports the demand of separate provinces of Bahwalpur and Southern Punjab, adding that PML-N government believes the provinces should not be created on linguistic identity but administrative grounds.

To a query, the Governor, who himself hails from the Southern Punjab, said the government was determined to empower the Southern Punjab, adding that offices of the Special Secretary level would be set up in the South so that the people don’t have to travel so far away for resolution of their day-to-day problems.

He said the government has undertaken multiple development projects in the South besides the provision of health and education facilities and improvement of the infrastructure.

About the implementation of NAP, Governor Rajwana said the NAP has been implemented in Punjab in letter and spirit which has helped control extremism and terrorism and improve law and order in the province, adding that the implementation of NAP promoted economic activity resultantly.

He said China has invested in Pakistan as a result of the successful implementation of the NAP, adding CPEC holds significant importance for the country and it would prove to be a game-changer for the country.

Responding to the opposition’s role in democracy, Malik Rafique Rajwana said opposition is pivotal in a democracy, adding that the protest by the opposition is always welcomed as constructive criticism leads to progress.

He said at a time when propaganda is being hatched by India against Pakistan due to the Kashmiris struggle for freedom, the opposition should not act injudiciously to create such a situation which harms national cohesion and unity.

Rafique Rajwana, being constitutional head of Punjab, expressed his satisfaction over the performance of the Punjab government in various sectors including health, livestock, agriculture, social development and education, for adding network of universities and hospitals as public welfare initiatives.

About the sub-campuses of universities, the Chancellor said interests of the students will be protected in all decisions taken by the sub-committees, constituted to decide the fate of sub-campuses of Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) and University of Gujrat (UoG).