Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo,
Minister-in-Charge Gilgit-Baltistan Council
Pir Karam Ali Shah,
Vice Chairman Gilgit-Baltistan Council/Governor GB
Syed Mehdi Shah,
Chief Minister, Gilgit-Baltistan
Mr. Changez Khan Jamali,
Federal Minister for Science and Technology
It gives me immense pleasure to chair this 3rd Session of Gilgit-Baltistan Council. This Council has been functioning efficiently since 2009, and its Secretariat too has been providing institutional and technical support to the Council.
I am pleased to know that the Special Committee on Management Structure for the Council Subjects has very aptly handled the task assigned to it by settling the issues relating to management of certain subjects. The Boards would serve as harbingers of development in Gilgit-Baltistan, I trust.
I am mindful of the fact that certain subjects such as Tourism, Electricity, Forest, and Mineral development fall under the legislative list of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council, yet Gilgit-Baltistan Rules of Business, 2009 provide for their temporary administration by the Gilgit-Baltistan Government. It requires joint planning and execution of these subjects by the Council and the Gilgit-Baltistan Government. Now I believe, settlement on these subjects has taken place whereby new structures are being proposed for management which would clearly demarcate the areas of respective jurisdiction between the Council and the Government.
Similarly, based on Minutes of the 2nd Session of the Council, the Special Committee constituted for the imposition of Income Tax in Gilgit-Baltistan has also done remarkable job by finalizing its report. As a result, the Income tax is now being introduced in Gilgit-Baltistan to meet its development needs aimed an equitable social uplift of the people.
Coming to the development programmes in Gilgit-Baltistan, it is important to mention the Diamer Bhasha Dam, which besides the generation capacity of 4,500 MW of power, will help mitigate floods, improve living conditions and create thousands of employment opportunities in Gilgit-Baltistan. I would be glad to see the Minister in Charge Gilgit-Baltistan Council working in close collaboration with the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the matters relating to compensation of land acquired for the Diamer Bhasha Dam.
I am also mindful of the wheat subsidy which we would like to keep supporting by making it realistic on account of increasing inflation and transportation charges; we will definitely regulate the wheat subsidy for the benefit of the people.
I have a firm belief that the Council and the Government together can make a difference; both can join hands to bring in an era of revolution in Gilgit-Baltistan whereby the ultimate goal of socio-economic empowerment of the people should be the priority.
It is high time that the Council and the Government, pursuant to their respective legislative lists, jointly chalk out policies and plans especially in the area of mineral development, tourism, forest, and electricity with a view to capitalizing on the untapped resources of Gilgit-Baltistan for the socio-economic uplift of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
I thank you all!
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