MIRPUR: AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan Monday said the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) had got desired financial autonomy as the federal government had increased its share in the central divisible tax pool substantially.
“We have got financial autonomy and the process to bring administrative and constitutional reforms is underway,” Prime Minister Haider said after chairing a cabinet meeting.
He said the federal government had increased the share of AJK in federal taxes from 2.27 percent to 3.64 percent. “With such reforms and more autonomy, our responsibilities have increased manifold. We will have to strictly maintain balance between income and expenditures,” he added.
He said the AJK got its due share because of the keen interest of former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in its socio-economic development.
Giving credit of reforms to his party’s government, Farooq Haider said it was for the first in the history of AJK that the development budget was raised to Rs10 billion last year and it was now further increased to Rs 25 billion.
He said several issues, including increase of water use charges for AJK, state’s share in federal taxes and more administrative and constitutional powers to the AJK government, had been lingering on for decades. The credit went to the PML-N government for resolving those issues amicably and in the best interest of the people of Azad Kashmir, he added.
The prime minister and the cabinet appreciated the role of former Chief Secretary Ejaz Munir and Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Dr Syed Asif Hussain Shah in settlement of issues with the federal government.
The cabinet also paid tribute to Prime Minister Farooq Haider Khan for his consistent struggle for the rights of AJK people.