AJK minister defends his actions
MUZAFFARABAD, Nov 18: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Minister for Health Sardar Qamaruz Zaman has offered to cooperate in a possible probe into allegations against him. He said this with regard to some artefacts from Neelum valley.
“I recommend a parliamentary committee be constituted to investigate this issue. The committee I propose should be headed by the Leader of the Opposition and should not include any legislator from my party (PPP),” he said while talking to a group of reporters here on Sunday.
“If I am proven guilty, I will step down as minister and even quit politics,” he added.
Mr Zaman reiterated that the artefacts were gifted to him by a former AJK minister and a schoolteacher, belonging to the Neelum valley, and were transported to Muzaffarabad by his staff in his absence.
He however admitted that he had no information about the Antiquities Law that prohibited movement of artefacts without a government notification.
“But even if I had prior information of that particular clause, I would not consider those objects as historical artefacts because I was told that these are very common items and found in plenty, in Neelum valley,” he said.
To a question, he said that he had also invited some experts and if their opinion went against the information provided to him by his donors, he would ensure that these artefacts were protected and preserved in a museum to be established by the government.
“Let me tell you again, I am not guilty of any wrongdoing and that’s why I have openheartedly offered myself for an inquiry by the opposition lawmakers.”
Mr Zaman asserted that since he had started an ambitious plan to exploit AJK’s rich potential in precious and semi precious gemstones in Neelum valley, a smear campaign had been launched against him.