Committee formed to work on provincial status for GB: Imran

Attends oath-taking ceremony of the new Gilgit Baltistan Cabinet

By: News Desk      Published: 03:05 PM, 2 Dec, 2020
Committee formed to work on provincial status for GB: Imran

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday announced a string of development projects including a universal healthcare system and Ehsaas Poverty Alleviation Programme while directing the new government in Gilgit Baltistan to pull up their sleeves and work speedily for the under-privileged people of the region, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Imran Khan said a committee has been formed which will complete the task on timelines to give the status of the province to Gilgit Baltistan. He said as the new Gilgit Baltistan government was in place, the federal government would immediately launch work to grant it provisional provincial status for its uplift at par with other provinces. “An exclusive committee would be tasked to work out the formalities for the provisional provincial status on timeline-basis that would meet the longstanding demand of the people,” he added.

Imran Khan was addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-elected 14-member GB cabinet headed by Chief Minister Barrister Khalid Khurshid in Gilgit on Wednesday. GB Governor Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon administered the oath to the members of the cabinet.

Imran Khan advised Barrister Khalid Khurshid, “Do not drag away from these two foundations, the top two qualities of a leader Sadiq and Ameen. If you work for people, you will get loads of prayers and ultimately have a peaceful sleep.”

"A poor household has to face many difficulties when battling a sickness. They sell their possessions; seek loans for medical treatment. So we are introducing health insurance for all of the GB," he said while talking about the Healthcare Cards in which Rs1 million will be allocated for each household for availing medical treatment at any hospital.

Imran Khan said, “As a Prime Minister and head of your party I caution you that you have a great responsibility on your shoulders.”

He vowed that the PTI government will focus on the areas like GB, erstwhile FATA and South Balochistan which were way behind as far as the national development is concerned.

Imran Khan also announced to utilize the potential of Gilgit Baltistan tourism including domestic tourism. He said people will be given easy loans for building guest houses along their residences so that they can accommodate the growing influx of tourists in the region during the season.

The premier said he met officials of an Austrian company dealing in skiing sports which is quite popular in Switzerland and Austria. “The company officials told me that Pakistan has high peaks, where skiing can last for seven months of a year. We are introducing skiing in Gilgit Baltistan.”

Imran Khan said 250-bed Skardu Hospital will also be completed and upgraded and two hydropower stations are under construction, two are in pipeline while two have also been approved along with focus on solar power to meet the energy demand of the region which is 300MW. Besides, micro hydel power stations would also be installed in villages on the model of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he added

Imran Khan also announced the establishment of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as Gilgit Baltistan is the area that connects Pakistan with China. He expressed the hope that this GB government will set a new tradition and better governance.

Imran Khan said he is the only prime minister who has seen the entire Gilgit Baltistan area because he had first visited the region at age of 15. “I knew about your problems and was also well aware of the potential of the Gilgit Baltistan,” Imran said.

He said, “The federal government cannot direct from Islamabad what to choose and what not to. Choose your own development projects.”

The prime minister while congratulating the new GB government, hoped that they would set new traditions and standards of public service there to win the people’s hearts as well as the prayers. He resolved that the PTI government would put the GB region on a development course, that would change people’s lives altogether through multiple projects in tourism, power, economic and health projects.

The prime minister said the as the area was connected with China and an important part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a special economic zone would also be developed there.

He advised the newly elected GB government not to give up the principles of truth and honesty which were the core of the lives of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) as well as Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He said they had been given the power to change the people’s lives and it was the best opportunity to earn masses’ prayers which would also bring in mental peace as well as Allah’s appeasement.

Referring to opposition’s corruption, he said despite having appointed their crony as NAB head and signing Charter of Democracy with rival party, the corruption scams of the PML-N were unearthed through the Panama papers.

He said the corrupt people as well as their children had to tell lies throughout their lives just to cover up their theft. “The (stolen) public money is Allah’s curse. I have seen Nawaz and Zardari facing (Allah’s) punishment by coming in and out of jails, moving to Saudi Arabia or London just to cover up their theft and corruption,” he remarked.

The prime minister said that for the very purpose, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was holding public gatherings despite sharp COVID spike and reported above 70 deaths on Tuesday as the country’s highest death toll during last two and half months.

He said the doctors and nurses were concerned over mounting pressure at hospitals but the PDM was adamant to hold public gatherings.

Calling stress as the root cause of all major disease like heart, blood pressure and even cancer, the prime minister referred to the grilling of ex-finance minister Ishaq Dar by BBC’s host Stephen Sackur in an interview on Tuesday where he (Dar) was visibly under immense stress for facing questions about his assets and return to Pakistan.