PM Ashraf announces Rs 2 billion package for Gilgit-Baltistan
29 September, 2012
GILGIT: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, while expressing the government's commitment to socio-economic development of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) on Friday, announced a Rs 2 billion grant to address the financial problems of the region.
Addressing the first joint session of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council and Legislative Assembly, Raja directed the Ministry of Finance to immediately release the amount.
He said with an improvement in the financial position of the federal government, more resources would be provided to Gilgit-Baltistan.
Gilgit-Baltistan Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah, Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Manzoor Wattoo, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Secretary General Senator Jehangir Badr and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.
The prime minister assured complete cooperation of the government and said that he was fully familiar with the administrative and financial difficulties of the area.
He said he was informed of the difficulties faced by the GB government in its efforts to improve administrative affairs and rehabilitate the flood victims of 2010.
"We are committed to the development of Gilgit-Baltistan and want the people of the area to get basic facilities, including health and education as available in other developed areas. With the support of the people and the government of Gilgit-Baltistan, we will make it a model region," he said. He said unfortunately Gilgit-Baltistan was not safe from extremism and terrorism, as such incidents occurred from time to time. "The elements involved in sectarian prejudice and extremism are taking advantage of the situation and are tarnishing the peaceful and secure environment for their nefarious designs," he added.
Raja said there would be no compromise on law and order and directed the administration to take strict action against anyone who broke the law. He warned of strict action against all those involved in any sort of discrimination.
The prime minister said that Frontier Constabulary, Gilgit Baltistan Scouts and police were deployed on the Karakorum Highway (KKH) for the protection of passengers and that they were being provided all necessary facilities.
Raja on Friday also launched two landmark multi-million dollar strategic projects at the KKH, aimed at restoring the historic road linkage with China that was severed due to the artificial Attabad Lake that was created as a result of landslides.
He performed the groundbreaking of re-alignment of a 17-km-long section of the highway, which will be constructed in place of the 25-km-long section that was submerged in the Attabad Lake. The new road will be completed in one year.
The prime minister also inaugurated the $510.42 million up-gradation of a 335-km-long section of the road from Raikot to Khunjerab that has now been widened and meets international standards of construction.