SKARDU – Staff Reporter:
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday unveiled a five-year Rs370 billion uplift package for the scenic region of Gilgit Baltistan.
Addressing a ceremony here, the prime minister Imran Khan said: “I have done some mistakes in awarding the party’s tickets to many people but one thing I did right was to make Khalid Khursheed Khan the chief minister of Gilgit Baltistan.”
“When I visited GB 55 years back, there was the impression that the people here are being treated as second-class citizens. The people of GB had no powers.”
“In the past, the Centre would thought that the GB people had no capability to take decisions on their own,” Prime Minister Imran Khan pointed out, adding, “We gave Gilgit-Baltistan provincial status.”
“How could one make decisions concerning GB by sitting in Islamabad? We are going to empower the region and the start has been made.”
The prime minister said the GB CM is capable and doesn’t need to take dictation from Islamabad.
He was of the view that the region could become a big economic boon for all of Pakistan if it is given priority and equipped with essential services and infrastructure.
The PM said the region attracted about 20,000 tourists in 2005-06 but the number crossed one million last year.
The prime minister announced that funds to the tune of Rs370 billion would be spent in the region over the next five years, vowing to extend every possible help for the area’s well-being.
The development package envisages hydel power generation and transmission projects, connectivity projects for tourism, youth skill and scholarship program, up-gradation of health system and water and sanitation projects, he explained.
“The Centre would take money from GB instead of giving it funds if the region exploits its tourism potential in true sense,” the premier opined.