Gilgit-Baltistan: The objective of according autonomy to GB was to ensure good governance and welfare of the people, Gilani

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Saturday asked the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) chief minister and his Cabinet members to prepare a comprehensive development plan for Gilgit-Baltistan with a futuristic vision leading to self-sufficiency.
Gilani emphasised on the preparation of policies to help create economic opportunities and generate economic activities. The objective of according autonomy to the province the Gilgit-Baltistan region was to ensure good governance and welfare of the people, he added.
The prime minister was talking to GB Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah and members of his Cabinet, who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House. The prime minister said that the Gilgit-Baltistan region had tremendous potential for tourism, both to attract foreign and local tourists. Gilani asked the Gilgit-Baltistan government to devise a strategy to promote tourism and develop self-sustaining facilities, for the tourists.
Prime Minister Gilani drew attention of the participants that the Agha Khan Foundation had also shown interest in the development of the region. He asked the GB government to extend facilities in this context.
Gilani 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 Communications to speed up the work on the Gilgit-Baltistan-Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) link road to facilitate travel and trade between the two regions.
Prime Minister Gilani also asked the GB government to prepare PC-I for improving the drainage system of Gilgit in the first phase and Skardu in the second phase. The prime minister further assured the GB chief minister that like FATA and AJK, the government would extend every possible assistance to Gilgit-Baltistan through the federal public sector development programme (PSDP) as soon as possible.
Gilani asked the GB chief minister to make necessary preparations in consultation with the relevant quarters for payment of compensation to the Diamir Bhasha dam victims and their resettlement. Earlier, the GB Chief Minister and members of his Cabinet apprised Prime Minister Gilani of the challenges they were facing after implementation of the Empowerment Act.
Thanking the government of Pakistan for giving voice to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan through the Empowerment Act, they sought the prime minister’s guidance and support for rebuilding the government infrastructures in accordance with the needs.
They also apprised Gilani that the announcements and commitments made to the government and people of Gilgit-Baltistan had not yet been fully implemented and required his intervention.
Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs secretary informed the meeting that most of the announcements/commitments 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 strengthen the administrative structure of the region. APP

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