MIRPUR (AJK) - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Monday said Pakistan would continue extending ideological, political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris in their just and principled struggle.

“The government is taking keen interest in speedy progress and prosperity in all sectors of life in Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” Gilani added while addressing a mammoth public meeting at Islamgarh, a town located 23 kilometres from Mirpur.

Underlining the priorities of the PPP government, the prime minister promised to resolve all problems, including power load-shedding, of the country, saying the recently-inaugurated Mangla Dam Raising Project would help bringing about an economic revolution in the country.

Gilani vowed to nourish the ideological asset of the PPP and recalled that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had sacrificed their lives for the rights of the masses and the PPP would continue the struggle in the larger interests of the people, adding that cruel elements, who opposed the public-friendly policies and ideology of the PPP, had deprived the masses of their popular leaders.

Gilani announced to link Mirpur with the rest of the world by constructing an international airport to facilitate hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri expatriates, saying the required funds for the project would be part of the next budget.

He also announced establishing the University of Information Technology in Kotli and a grid station in Samani sub-division of Bhimbher district to ensure the smooth power supply to the area. He ordered the Wapda chairman to immediately halt the current exercise of unscheduled load-shedding in Mirpur district, where the country’s second largest water reservoir, Mangla Dam, is located.

The prime minister also announced to shift the headquarters of Azad Kashmir Radio from Rawalpindi to Mirpur and Rs 10 million grant for the Mirpur Press Club.

Gilani also laid the foundation stones of two mega projects in education and communications sectors in the district, including new campus of the state-run Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Jari Kass at the cost of Rs 1.56 billion and Rs 4.23 billion Hazrat Meeran Shah Bridge linking Mirpur city with Islamgarh.

The bridge is being constructed under the Rs 108 billion package offered by the Pakistan government in the wake of the Mangla Dam Raising Project. The 7.181 km long bridge would be the largest in South Asia, while the construction work is expected to be completed by August 2014 by a reputed Chinese company.

The bridge will not only reduce the distance between Mirpur city and Islamgarh town from 23 km to seven km but also reduce the traveling time for the people traveling between the district headquarters of Mirpur and Kotli.

The construction of bridge over the picturesque Mangla Dam, surrounded by the lush-green hills, will open new vistas for the promotion of tourism industry as well.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also inaugurated the newly-established Rs 34 million rebroadcast station of the PTV at Bhimbher. The project will benefit over a population of two million in the region with clear transmission of the state-run TV channel.

Federal ministers Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo and Changez Khan Jamali, AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, Senior Minister Ch Muhammad Yasin, former AJK premier Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, AJK minister for finance Ch Latif Akbar and Political Advisor to AJK Prime Minister Shaukat Raja Advocate accompanied Prime Minister during his visit to Mir and Bhimbher.