Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani asked the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan and his Cabinet colleagues to prepare a comprehensive development plan for Gilgit-Baltistan with a futuristic vision leading to self sufficiency. He emphasized for preparing policies to help create economic opportunities and generate economic activities. The objective of according autonomy the Gilgit-Baltistan region, he added, was to ensure good governance and welfare of the people.
The Prime Minister was talking to the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah and members of his Cabinet who called on him at PM’s House here this afternoon.
The Prime Minister said that the Gilgit-Baltistan region has tremendous potential for tourism both to attract foreign and local tourists. He asked the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to devise a strategy to promote tourism and develop self-sustaining facilities, for the tourists. The Prime Minister drew the attention of the participants that the Agha Khan Foundation had also shown interest in the development of the region. He asked the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to extend facilities in this context.
The Prime Minister said that he would visit Gilgit-Baltistan soon to see for himself the status of implementation of his earlier directives and announcements. He further directed the Ministry of Communication to speed up the work on Gilgit-Baltistan-AJ and K link road to facilitate travel and trade between the two regions. He also asked the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to prepare PC-I for improving the drainage systems of Gilgit in the first phase and Skardu in the second phase. The Prime Minister further assured the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan that like FATA and AJ and K the government would extend every possible assistance to Gilgit-Baltistan through the Federal PSDP as and when possible. The Prime Minister asked the Chief Minister to make necessary preparation in consultation with the relevant quarters for payment of compensation to Diamir Bhasha dam affectees and their resettlement.
Earlier the Chief Minister of Gilgit –Baltistan and members of his Cabinet apprised the Prime Minister of the challenges they are facing after implementation of the Empowerment Act. While thanking the government of Pakistan for giving voice to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan through the Empowerment Act, sought the Prime Minister’s guidance and support for rebuilding the governance infrastructures in accordance with the needs. They also reminded that the announcement, and commitments made to the government and people of Gilgit-Baltistan were not yet fully implemented and require intervention.
The Secretary Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, informed the meeting that most of the announcements/commitment made by the government of Pakistan have been fulfilled to quite an extent. He mentioned that proper planning and capacity building of the officials in various institutions in Gilgit-Baltistan would help in accelerating the pace of development and progress. He referred to the package of incentives recently announced by the Prime Minister for posting officers of the government of Pakistan to Gilgit-Baltistan which he said, would help to strengthen the administrative structure of the region. He asked that the government of Gilgit-Baltistan also needs to prepare PC-Is for the 1300 development schemes and also select qualified persons for the 1781 posts being created for the region under the Empowerment Act.
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