Our Correspondent Skardu
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Saturday that the federal government allocated a ‘record’ share in the next budget (2021-22) for the development of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) as Prime Minister Imran Khan desired its uplift on par with other parts of the country.
Addressing a news conference here at the Skardu Press Club, he said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), soon after coming into the power in the GB, announced a development package worth Rs 300 billion for the socio-economic development of the area.
The amount, which would be spent in the next five years, would bring significant improvement in the infrastructure of the GB and boost economic activities through tourism promotion, he added.
The minister regretted over dilapidated condition of the road infrastructure in the GB and lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for ‘doing nothing’ for its rehabilitation despite being in the power for a long period of time.
Fawad said he had been told by the political and civil administrations of the GB including the Chief Minister and Commissioners of various areas that the services of professional town planners were hired to formulate master plans of all the districts including Skardu, Shigar, Gilgit, and others.
He added that the situation in the GB would also look like Karachi in the next eight to ten years if the development work was carried out without proper planning.
The minister appreciated the GB’s Chief Minister for taking such a timely decision, adding it was crucial to the sustainable development of the area.
He said completion of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would mark a new era of development and prosperity in the GB as it was situated at critical route of the multi-billion dollars project.
Fawad was of the view that Indians had a track record of hatching conspiracies against the area, adding it was the people of GB who always stood by Pakistan.
He said the whole nation and people of GB were unanimously condemning the illegal and unilateral actions of the Indian government in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). He also condemned such actions of Indian government against the IIOJK’s people.
The minister said Pakistan had ended trade relations with India to give a message to the people of Kashmir that the Pakistani nation was stood with them.
He said Pakistan had also ended the agreement with India to telecast Pakistan and England cricket matches series. However, he said, alternative arrangements would be made to telecast the cricket series.
He said the government of Pakistan had also decided to give interim province status to the GB as work on its legislation was being carried out at fast-track basis.