Month: July 2011

Gilgit-Baltistan: AIOU will establish campus in Gilgit

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Gilgit—The Vice Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Dr.Nazir Sangi has said a campus of university will be established in Gilgit, at a cost of Rs.30 million so that people could benefit from the distant learning.

Talking to APP here, he said there were 45000 enrollments with the institution while 15000 students were actively pursuing studies in various disciplines. He said AIOU had played a pivotal role in promotion of education in Gilgit-Baltistan and rest of the remote parts of the country which is a feather on the cap of AIOU.

VC said that negotiation with government functionaries were almost finalized and work for establishment of a full-fledge campus began which will provide all facilities to the students yearning for education. He said the campus will include hostels for girls and library as well.

He said the enrollment of women students was quite satisfactory and there was always inclination from the females which proves AIOU was helping women greatly in getting education at footsteps. He said AIOU was focusing on improving quality of education.

He said in order to remove academic deficiency extra courses are being offered so that students could reach at standard level and said that curriculum improvement was top agenda of the university.

He said distribution of books and timely dispatch was ensured and keeping in view the socio-economic facilities AIOU will undertake measures for the promotion of education and facilitate students. Meanwhile, it is reported that Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will offer Associate Degree in Commerce with specialization in Accounting and Finance, Banking and Finance from August 1.

Naqvi said that Associate Degree Programme has been designed in consultation with Higher Education Commission (HEC) to develop professionally trained human resources for the specific needs of the industry.—APP

Gilgit-Baltistan:Hunting and Smuggling of Threatened Animals of GB

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Gilgit: People from Azad Jammu and Kashmir enter Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and hunt threatened animals. They smuggle highly valuable herbal and medicinal plants outside of G-B, Abdul Hameed, a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker told the house on Friday.

He added that residents of Astore Valley had approached him with the complaint that illegal chopping of forests is also on the rise while relevant officials remained indifferent to the situation.

Chief Minister (CM) Mehdi Shah taking notice of the complaint summoned Secretary Forest in his office. He also announced the release of Rs200 million for clearance of school dues for children hailing from Attabad who are studying all across Pakistan. In wake of the tragedy in Attabad, the government had announced free of charge education to the people affected by the calamity in early 2010. This issue was highlighted by another lawmaker Mutabiat Shah.

Responding to questions raised by various lawmakers during the fifteenth session of G-B legislative assembly on Friday, the CM informed them that the federal government had increased the wheat quota of wheat for G-B, and the region will receive 500 more bags of wheat in the future. He added that G-B airports would be improved so they can function in different climatic conditions. The CM said that Gilgit and Skardu will be declared big cities soon.

Baig, addressing the treasury benches, said that China had upheld the honour of the government by providing relief to the people affected by calamities during the hour of need. Although he said the relief had now exhausted and therefore they should ask China for more assistance.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Gilgit-Baltistan: GB Assembly accused Mehdi Shah of blocking inquiry against illegal appointments

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Gilgit: Lawmakers in the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly on Thursday accusedG-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah of blocking an inquiry against illegal appointments made in the police force. They demanded that all such appointments be annulled.

“The G-B police appointments made by the previous government were illegal, but ironically the chief minister is protecting them,” said the lawmakers during the G-B legislative assembly session.

Shah said the move was justified because an inquiry could leave several people unemployed.

Barrage of complaints

The issue of illegal appointments was not the only complaint on the table at the session. Shah assured the assembly that restoration of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) along the Attabad Lake spillway will start soon.

“We will be visiting China soon and the task of restoration of KKH will be given to a Chinese company,” Shah said as a lawmaker, Mutabiat Shah, voiced dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work on the lake that has cut off more than 25,000 people in the Gojal area.

The members of the assembly also expressed discontent over a delay in the regularisation of 33 doctors’ services in Gilgit.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Gilgit-Baltistan: Petition Filed in SC against appointment of Retired Judges

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was requested on Thursday to declare the appointment of retired judges as chief judge or judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan illegal and against the Constitution of Pakistan.

A petition filed by Advocate Mohammad Ikram Chaudhry on behalf of Dr Ghulam Abbas, a social activist who is also chairman of the Gilgit-Baltistan National Movement and recipient of the Jinnah Award and Quaid-i-Azam Award, also sought an amendment to the relevant laws requiring the chief judge and judges of the G-B Supreme Appellate Court to serve as judges up to the age of 65 years like judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the AJK Supreme Court.

The federal government through the law ministry, chairmen of G-B Prime Minister`s Secretariat and G-B Legislative Council, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and G-B Division and G-B Legislative Assembly speaker are respondents in the petition.

The petitioner also requested the apex court to declare unconstitutional Article 60(5, 6) and 60(8) of the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009) because it violated fundamental rights of the citizens of Gilgit-Baltistan and all norms of justice and principles as laid down by the Supreme Court.

The petition sought a suitable amendment to the Empowerment and Self-Governance Order to bring it on a par with the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan and the Interim Constitutional Act of AJK 1974. “This will help ensure independence of the judiciary and fundamental rights in Gilgit-Baltistan.”

The petitioner said that a retired and controversial judge who taken oath under the Nov 3, 2007, Provisional Constitution Order had been appointed as chief justice of the Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court after his retirement which was contrary to the Supreme Court`s July 31 judgment declaring the PCO judges illegal.

The decision was not only unjustified but also amounted to discriminatory treatment with the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, the petitioner contended. “The Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court is not like a service tribunal or election tribunal rather a full-fledged court like the Supreme Court of Pakistan and, therefore, it should be treated like an independent court.”

In 1999, the Supreme Court held that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan (then Northern Areas) were citizens of Pakistan and, therefore, entitled to same fundamental rights as available to the citizens of Pakistan. It had also ordered the federal government to establish an appellate forum to hear appeals against decisions of the apex court of Gilgit-Baltistan. In 2005, the government had established a court of appeal which was renamed in 2007 as the Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit. It is still functioning under the Northern Areas Governance Order 1994.

The petitioner contended that terms, conditions and privileges of Supreme Court judges in Pakistan regarding the retirement age were available to AJK judges, but the same were denied to Gilgit-Baltistan judges. “They are appointed on contract as per the 2009 order which militates against Articles 175 and 203 of the Constitution and even is in conflict with the chief court/high court position under the law.”

The petitioner asked that when the retirement age of the chief justice and judges of AJK Supreme Court as well as the chief justice and judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan is 65 years why the judges in Gilgit-Baltistan were being appointed for a period of three years.

Courtesy: Dawn

Gilgit-Baltistan: Subsidy on Sale of Wheat in GB

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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet finalised on Wednesday the prices of essential food items for Ramazan under a Rs2 billion subsidy package, which was approved in the last meeting. Federal Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting.

The summaries that were discussed in the meeting were ‘Subsidy on Sale of Wheat in Gilgit Baltistan’. The ECC in principle agreed with the request and formed a committee to devise a system by which locals get the benefit, not hoarders.

The Ramazan package subsidises sixteen essential edible items.

The committee directed the authority concerned to ensure availability of the items throughout Ramazan.

The Utility Stores Corporation and Ministry of Industries assured the committee of installing separate counters for sale of the subsidised items during Ramazan.

The chairman of the ECC asked the Ministry of Industries to keep monitoring teams alert throughout the country to make these items available at these counters.

On the summaries moved by the Ministry of Industries, the ECC constituted a committee headed by the Finance Minister to have further deliberations on import of urea for Kharif 2011 and Rabi 2011-12.

The committee includes Syed Naveed Qamar, Dr Asim Hussain, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and Secretary Industries.

The ECC approved the request by the Minister of Water and Power for a waiver of demmurage and detention charges for the 425-MW Combined Cycle Power Project at Nandipur being implemented by the Northern Power Generation Company provided the Law Division also approves. In case Law Division raises objections, the matter shall be referred to the Cabinet for further discussion.

It may be mentioned here that machinery for power generation is lying at the Karachi Port whose authorities are asking for proper follow up of the procedure for the release of this consignment. The government approved the project in the ECC meeting held on December 27, 2007, at an agreed price of 329 million dollars. But it was subject to Ministry of Finance’s guarantee for the loan of 329 million dollars.

On the request for purchase of 50,000 metric tonnes sugar from Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, the ECC said that in the wake of the satisfactory situation of the strategic reserves, procurement is not required till December.

However, the Chairman of the ECC decided to hold a smaller meeting in this regard within next two days.

Courtesy : The News

Gilgit-Baltistan: Making GB an Economic Zone

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GILGIT: President Asif Ali Zardari would visit china in few days and would sign different projects with china during visit.

Pakistan and China would struck various projects including making Gilgit-Baltistan economic zone, to construct gas and railway line on Shahra-e-Karakuram, Chinese investment and other important development projects during the next week.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah with other officials of government will visit China to give final shape to these projects.

The official sources told “SANA” that Chinese government has prepared the physibility for the construction of the railway tract on the Karakurm highway.

Meanwhile break through regarding the establishment of cement factory and other projects are included have been finalized.

At diplomatic level, the matters have been finalized and in the result of the agreement the historical investment from the Chinese investors in GB is expected.

For rectification of these mega projects, President Asif Ali Zardari and Chief Minister GB Syed Mehdi Shah will visit China in next few days, which would bring historical revolution in the economic condition of the area.

Courtesy: SANA

Gilgit-Baltistan: President directs MOF to resolve issues related to the development projects in GB

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President Asif Ali Zardari Thursday directed Ministry of Finance and Planning Commission to visit Gilgit Baltistan to resolve issues related to the development projects. The President also said that Bhasha Dam would be inaugurated soon and also directed for the up gradation of Gilgit airport with night landing facility.

Syed Mehdi Shah, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Thursday called on President Asif Ali Zardari here at Aiwan-e-Sadr along with his cabinet and discussed the issues of development projects of Gilgit-Baltistan. Senior Minister for Food Muhammad Jaffar, Law Minister Wazir Muhammad Shakeel, Finance Minister Muhammad Ali Akhter, LG & RD Minister Muhammad Ismail, Works Minister Muhammad Naseer Khan, Health Minister Haji Gul Bar Khan and Advisors to CM-GB Mrs Sadia Danish and Aftab Hyder were present on the occasion.

They disused issues relating to Bhasha Dam, situation in Gilgit-Baltistan with reference to development of the area, various mega projects, role of BISP in GB and other related matters with the President during the meeting. The President directed that the representatives of Ministry of Finance, Planning Commission and the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit-Baltistan should visit Gilgit Baltistan to resolve various issue related to the developmental projects.

The President said that the Government was committed to the uplift of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by focusing on bringing in socio-economic development in the region. He said that the Party gave political representation to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan for the first time and keeping with that spirit, the people’s representatives need to gear up their efforts for addressing the issues of the people and to be more responsive to their needs.

He said that Gilgit Baltistan was one of the areas where there was immense potential for attracting foreign investment. Being the water bank of Pakistan, it not only offers excellent investment opportunities for hydal power projects but also tourism, mineral and agriculture sectors for both the international and the local private investors. The President said that there was a need to gear up efforts to highlight the investment potential in the area, on one hand, and to neutralise negative perceptions about law and order situation, further improving communication network and enriching human capital, on the other, so that the available opportunities could be fully exploited.

Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah extended invitation to the President to visit the area. The President, accepting the invitation, said that he would visit Gilgit-Baltistan soon. Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Rehman Malik, Federal Minister for Interior, Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Planning Commission Secretary Javed Mehmood were also present besides other senior officials. The meeting was also attended by Ms Mehreen Anwer Raja and Ms Rukhsana Bangash. The delegation thanked the President for his keen interest in the development of the area.

Courtesy: B Recorder