ISLAMABAD, Dec 11 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said dichotomy of life in two sides of Kashmir was an eye-opener for the world as people in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan enjoyed full civil rights in contrast to their brethren in the Indian occupied valley suffering unending human rights abuse.
Addressing here at the prize-distribution ceremony of a photographic contest titled ‘Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan – Through my lens’ at Pakistan National Council of Arts, the President said AJK was open to the world with its proud calm and serenity, whereas India through a communication blackout falsely portrayed normalcy in the sieged Valley.
The contest organized by Special Communication Organization (SCO) provided an opportunity for the students and people of AJK and GB to capture the mesmerizing beauty of their native towns through their cellphone cameras.
President Dr Alvi said holding of photographic competition among the students of school, colleges and universities of AJK and GB gave a strong message to the world about the level of educational opportunities Pakistan provided to them.
On the other hand, he said, India’s recent Citizenship Amendment Bill was another racist step by a government which was fully determined to tear off the pages of Muslims from the annals of history.
He said the new anti-Muslim move in India was fourth in a row after registration of citizens in Assam excluding Muslims, abolition of Article 370 from Constitution and the Babari Mosque’s verdict.
The President said Pakistan was emerging with a renewed strength and was set to witness an era of development and prosperity.
He said after improved security situation in the country, the tourism in Northern Areas was flourishing with around 2.2 million visitors recorded this summer as compared to 15,000 in 2015.
He mentioned that Pakistan was home to several great civilizations, with largest number of Buddhist artifacts as compared to combined in rest of the world.
Stressing the need for preservation of culture and heritage, the President lauded the efforts of Aga Khan Foundation for revival of local languages, music and art of Hunza and other parts of GB.
President Alvi gave away shields and certificates to 32 winners of the contest, shortlisted among 35,000 received entries. He also a took round of the art gallery and evinced keen interest in the photographs put on display.
Earlier, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi said the captivating photographs of AJK and GB showing its people with happy faces was a true and peaceful reflection of Pakistan.
He said SCO besides its national duty of providing communication services in the northern areas, had taken a commendable initiative of encouraging people to explore beauty of their areas.
Director General SCO Major General Ali Farhan said the organization with its largest telecommunication infrastructure was reaching out to far-flung areas of AJK and GB. He said currently digital traffic was being transmitted through optic fiber from China to Europe via these area.
Singer Bano Rehmat aka ‘Nightingale of Kashmir’ presented a Kashmiri song, whereas a group of orchestra by Altit Music School gave a contemporary performance on Hunza’s legendary poet Shehbaz Ali Khan.