Gilgit-Baltistan:Hollow Promises of PM?

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GILGIT (ET): Prime Minister (PM) Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s speech during his maiden visit to Gilgit has left many locals disappointed. They maintain that the premier made tall claims of mega development projects in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), similar to those made by his predecessors many times and which they failed to deliver.

Moreover, they dubbed the Rs2 billion development package announced by PM Ashraf for G-B as “insufficient” for the region.

“We know now not to get excited over the claims that politicians make during their visits,” said Saeed Khan, a local contractor.

Aziz Ali, another resident, concurred, saying that the former PM, Yousaf Raza Gilani, had promised to upgrade airports of Gilgit and Skardu to the international standards “but nothing has been done so far in this regard”.

He said that PM Gilani had also pledged to establish a development authority in the region, the fate of which is at stake due to shortage of funds.

He pointed out that despite the dilapidated condition of roads, no new development projects have been initiated in the region.

In what appeared to be a rerun of past announcements made by PM Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, PM Ashraf addressed the legislators, asking Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) authorities to increase the number of lights to G-B to put an to the hardships faced by travellers.

“We just hope the number of PIA flights increases and so does the promised money for the region,” said Ghulam Mustafa, a trader.

However, G-B Information Minister Dr Ali Madad Sher assured that PM Ashraf issued orders to the concerned authorities and did not make “hollow promises”.

He expressed hope that the orders would be implemented soon.

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