Month: June 2011

Gilgit-Baltistan:Early Establishment of IT Institutes in Under developed Areas

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ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said that human resource development in the field of Information Technology would facilitate expansion of IT and Telecom Sector in the country. He emphasized on the early establishment of IT institutes in the under developed areas of the country to equip the youth in these areas with requisite knowledge and skills.The Prime Minister was chairing a meeting here at the PM House on Thursday to review the status of his directives to establish IT Universities/Institutes in the under developed areas of the four provinces, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan.
The Prime Minister directed that in the cities, towns earmarked for the establishment of IT Institutes, preference should be accorded to places where infrastructure in the shape of University or College is already available.
He further directed that time-lines for the establishment of IT Institutes in respect of Universities and Colleges in accordance with his directives be fixed to ensure early benefit to the people.
The Prime Minister asked the Ministry of IT to conduct fresh survey of various under developed areas of the country on urgent basis to determine the exact needs for establishing the IT Institutes and Universities.
The survey should also focus on the future teledensity prospects of the regions, he said, adding, the model of virtual University Campus could also be adopted at some places if appropriate.
The Prime Minister, however maintained that the input of the universities and colleges where the institutes would be established be given due consideration.
Earlier Secretary IT briefed the meeting on the progress on the Prime Minister’s directives and announcements for the establishment of IT Institutes and Universities in various under developed areas and regions of the country.
He mentioned that the cities/towns earmarked for the establishment of IT Institutes and Universities have been distributed into two categories. The first category includes places where basic infrastructure in the shape of university and college is available and the second category require building and infrastructure for the IT Institutes and University.
He further informed that presently around 20000 IT graduates are being produced per year while the requirement would increase in the future after adoption of new technologies in the telecom and IT sectors. The establishment of IT Institutes in the first category would be completed in one year with an estimated cost of Rs. 210 million, he added.
The IT Institutes/Universities in category two, he added, would require three years to complete with an estimated cost of Rs.  1.5 billion once the amount is made available.
The establishment of IT Institutes would create job opportunities and after introduction of modern technology and expansion of IT and Telecom sector, the job opportunities would further increase, he added.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Fruit Industry, 5 Model villages and No tax in GB – Nawaz Sharif

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Nawaz Sharif, the head of Pakistan Muslim League (N) arrived at Skardu airport on Wednesday to visit the flood affected areas of Gilgit-Baltistan. Talking to the media at the Airport he hinted the wikileaks cables and said that he is considered a dangerous man, for he always spoke in the best interest of Pakistan without being indulged in tricky politics. His government championed the nuke tests and people hardly swallow that bitter fact.

Regarding the taxes in Gilgit-Baltistan he assured that his party would not let that happen. He said taxes cannot be levied here until and unless the area is brought to the political and constitutional parity. He announced that Gilgit-Baltistan would be pretty much industrialized in the coming years. Tourism and fruit industry shall be developed for which the area has a great potential. He claimed that the PML (N) will not sit until it revolutionary change the area and make it a role model for the whole world. He said that the PML (N) shall play its role to give the people of the regions their political rights.

Nawaz Sharif apparently suggested modifications in the current Gilgit-Baltistan empowerment bill rather than proffering any out-of-box thought. He said that PML(n) will, with the passage of time, play its part to make changes in the package.

Nawaz Sharif later visited Hunza where he distributed Rs. 500000 among the Attabad affectees. He criticized the government’s apathy towards the people who have been severely hit by the flood and land sliding.

“The government should have built alternate roads right away but it could not do so, which is sad. I have relation with Mir of Hunza for about 40 years and I have seen the whole Hunza. This place has great potential and we will work for the promotion of tourism in this region”, he said at Ghazanfer’s abode.

Nawaz Sharif suggested building Motels around the lake in Gojal. He promised to fully support the displaced people despite the fact that  he is not in the Parliament. He said the government of Punjab will fund and provide logistics to rehabilitate the affected people in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The PMLN head announced to build 5 model villages  in the disaster hit areas. Nawaz Sharif, while speaking to a public gathering said that the natural resources of Gilgit-Baltistan could leverage prosperity in Pakistan.

Courtesy: Dardistan Times

Gilgit-Baltistan: Digging of 6 km tunnel, 6 high raise bridges and 70 small bridges to be prepared in 6 years at a cost of $ 275 Million

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 18 (APP): National Highway Authority (NHA) and China Roads and Bridges Corporation on Saturday signed $ 275 million agreement for repairing Karakorum Highway (KKH) damaged with Attabad accidental lake in Gilgit-Baltistan.Chairman NHA, Altaf Ahmad Chaudhry and Chairman Roads and Bridges Corporation of China, Wen Gong signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.Briefing the media on the bilateral agreement, the chairman NHA said that the accidental lake of Hunza Attaabad has badly damaged several portions of KKH that need urgent repair.The Chinese engineers have advised to bring down the surface of the lake by at least 30 feet down to carry out repair work of the damaged portion.
He said that 15 km of the KKH will be recovered by bringing down the surface of the lake while the rest of the damaged portions will be reconstructed under an agreement between the two countries.
The reconstruction including digging of six km tunnel, six high raise bridges and 70 small bridges will take six years under the project and will cost $ 275 million, he added.

Gilgit-Baltistan:Joint Boundary Commission comprising KP, GB and Federal Government to decide the Issue of Provincial Boundary

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Five small dams having power generation capacity of 225 MW would be completed during next eight months to help mitigate power shortage in the country.

The projects to be completed during the period include Sattpara dam, Gomal zam and Jinnah Hydel Power projects, Chairman Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Shakeel Durrani said while addressing the two-day seminar on `Land Acquisition and Resettlement of Mega Hydropower Projects in Pakistan, on Friday.

The government has released Rs. 6 billion for Mangla uprising projects and payments to the affectees would start from the next month, he said adding that it would increase the storage capacity of the dam by additional 2.8 million acre feet water by next raining season.

Shakeel Durrani said that there was complete consensus among all the stakeholders for constructing the Diamer Basha Dam (DBD) and all outstanding issues including land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation have already been settled.

The process of land acquisition would continue for next three years and survey to provide all basic facilities for 30,000 affectees of DBD would be completed soon, he added.

He said that government has provided Rs. 70 billion for purchasing 200 acre land to construct the physical infrastructure besides the donor agencies were also very keen as after a gap of 35 years any maga project was initiated.

To a question, the chairman said that 12 MW thermal unit for Neelum Jehlum Hydel Power Project was order to provide power supply for the construction of the project.

Besides, he said that a 18 MW thermal unit would also be installed in site of DBD adding that a 18 MW hydel unit would also be constructed to provide electricity.

Chairman WAPDA said that a joint boundary commission comprising representatives of Khyber Pakhtonkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and federal government would decide the issues of provincial boundaries.

He said that more seminars would be organized in respective areas of Gilgit and Chillas to create awareness about the construction of the dam.

Speaking at the seminar, local representative, NGOs and tribal elders urged the government to involve the local community in decision making for smooth working on the projects.

They also asked for adjusting the local labour and technical work force as it was their due right and also urged to fully compliance of government commitments in this regard.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Alam Bridge, Attabad and GB Government’s Authority

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The prolonged delay in repairing of the strategic Alam Bridge has become a cause of embarrassment for the Mehdi Shah led government in Gilgit – Baltistan.  The Alam Bridge was closed for heavy traffic in mid of May after some cables holding it broke down. After a lapse of almost 45 days, the bridge still awaits restoration.

Alam Brige is a very important piece of infrastructure connecting Baltistan with rest of the country. The people of Skardu and Ghangche districts rely very heavily on the bridge for obtaining supplies from outside the region. Suspension of traffic on the bridge led to shortage of different commodities in the markets of Skardu and Ghangche. Traders and transporters organized strikes across Baltistan to protest against the government’s failure to restore the bridge. Smaller vehicles were initially allowed to cross the bridge but recently it has been closed for all sorts of traffic and instead another vulnerable bridge, known as Ram Gath Bridge, is currently being used for light vehicular traffic.

According to government sources, the delay was caused by a tussle, on a “whose-responsibility-is-this” kinda issue, between the National Highway Authority (NHA) and Frontier Works Organization (FWO), who are often seen acting like competitors in Gilgit – Baltistan. The controversy between these two organizations was so large that the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit – Baltistan had to intervene, by taking a Suo-Moto notice of the situation.

On June 28, 2011, the Supreme Appellate Court after a specially called hearing ordered FWO to complete repair of Alam Bridge within 3 weeks.

The court had to intervene because the ‘dialogues’ and ‘statements’ of the political representatives failed to make any difference in the attitude of FWO and NHA.

The tussle between two federal organizations has highlighted the GB government’s inability to exercise complete authority in the region. Be it the case of draining the dammed Hunza River or that of repairing the damaged Alam Bridge, the people of Gilgit – Baltistan are witnessing the helplessness of their elected representatives in front of certain institutions.

It is important for all organizations of the country to realize that people of the region want to see their elected leaders as powerful political players in the region, and not as titular rulers. In the existing situation, the idea of self-governance may seem to be a distant dream to thousands of the residents of Gilgit – Baltistan.  In order to dispel the impression, the Self-Governance Order 2009 needs to be implemented in its true spirit. This is important to make the people believe that their deprivations can be overcome, gradually, through political processes and reforms.

Courtesy: Pamir Times

Gilgit-Baltistan: More than 50,000 Families being Facilitated in GB under BISP

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Astore—The officials of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has distributed the cheques and watan cards among the flood affectees across Gilgit Baltistan (GB). Regional Director BISP Muhammad Hasan told APP that BISP is providing relief to the poor segment of the society. “We are providing cheque through post office and instructed post officials to release the payment after checking original CNIC, “he added.

He said that watan card payment will be provided through ATM service. The development of Gilgit-Baltistan is among the top priorities of the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) government, said Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Farzana Raja on Wednesday. In a press release , she said, “Following the vision of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, the government has initiated the development process to end the sense of deprivation among the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.” She said more than 50,000 deserving families are being facilitated in Gilgit-Baltistan, under the BISP.

She added that for the first time in the country’s history, the government has started poverty census to get accurate data about the poor families. Farzana said that jurisdiction of the BISP is being expanded to Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country to provide financial, technical and healthcare assistance to the deserving families.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Tourists Demand 24 Hours PTDC Hotel Service

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Diamer—The tourists coming from various parts of the country demanded from government officials to keep the Pakistan Toursim Development Corporation hotels open for 24 hours in all the districts of Gilgit Baltistan (GB). Many tourists told APP that PTDC hotels remained closed at night in some areas of GB, which create difficulties for the toursits. Gilgit-Baltistan is one of the most spectacular regions of Pakistan. Here world’s three mightiest mountain ranges- the Karakorams, the Hindukush and the Himalayas- meet.

The entire Gilgit-Baltistan is like a paradise for mountaineers, climbers, trekkers, hikers and anglers. The region has a rich cultural heritage and variety of rare plants and flowers. Historically, the area has remained a flash point of political and military rivalries among the Russian, British and Chinese empires. Immediately after the end of British rule in the sub-continent in 1947, the people of this region extended their allegiance to Pakistan through.—APP