Maintenance of law order in GB top priority: PM
* Raja says region has potential of generating up to 50,000MW of cheap electricity
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday said that maintenance of the law and order in Gilgit-Baltistan and improvement of its economy was the top priority of the government.
Addressing a meeting at the Prime Minister’s House, he said that the government gave identity to Gilgit-Baltistan and today it enjoyed complete autonomy with its own governor, elected chief minister, legislative assembly and other administrative institutions.
“Gone are the days when Gilgit-Baltistan used to be administered by a junior level bureaucrat based in Islamabad,” the prime minister added.
Ashraf said that maintenance of law and order should be the top priority even now because without this the economic development and prosperity of the people would remain a dream.
The prime minister assured the governor and chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan that the federal government would provide sufficient resources, expertise and requisite manpower to overcome the challenges of sectarianism and economic development.
He also appealed to intelligentsia, religious scholars, opinion makers and the political leadership to mobilise public opinion against sectarianism. He said that only the political leadership of all shades could create social resistance against the scourge, which was affecting the economic development of the region.
The prime minister said that the region provided energy security to the country because it had the potential of generating around 40,000MW to 50,000MW of cheap electricity on long-term basis. Ashraf said that with the completion of Diamer Bhasha Dam, an era of prosperity would commence because its construction and operation, besides creating thousands of jobs, would address the problem of energy deficit to a large extent.
The prime minister said that the federal government was keen to extend every kind of help for promotion of tourism industry because the region had tourist attractions due to its exceptional natural beauty and amazing landscape. He said that due attention would be accorded to tap its mineral resources, adding that the federal government would continue to give wheat subsidy to the people, and the Gilgit-Baltistan government must ensure that the poor people get benefits from the subsidy.
Earlier, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo appreciated the efforts of adviser on interior for restoration and maintenance of law and order in Gilgit-Baltistan. He also hailed the Gilgit-Baltistan government for introducing tax system, which would help increase domestic revenues, which are critical for socio-economic development of the region.
Minister Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira underscored the importance of taking immediate measures to improve the law and order situation on durable basis. He said that the government’s message in this regard should be loud and clear to all those who wanted to harm law and order.
Adviser to the PM on Interior Rehman Malik elaborated the steps taken to control the law and order situation in Gilgit-Baltistan, adding that some arrests had been made in connection with gruesome killings on the roadside in the region. The governor and the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan urged the federal government to release development funds at the earliest. App