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Sense of deprivation to be removed by granting provincial status to GB: PM

GILGIT: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government will immediately make progress on giving provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan region and the sense of deprivation of GB people will be removed by declaring it a province, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Gilgit-Baltistan and attended the oath-taking ceremony of cabinet members. GB governor administered oaths to the newly-elected members of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA).

While addressing the event, the premier congratulated the newly-elected GB chief minister and cabinet members. He expressed hopes that the new government will continue its governance on new standards.

Imran Khan said that he is fully aware of the issues of the region. He vowed that the government will immediately make progress on giving provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region. The sense of deprivation of GB people will be removed by declaring it as a province.

He said that the government will immediately constitute a committee for proceeding the necessary legislation for granting provincial status to the region. The committee will begin its work on a timeline to finalise the lawmaking.

The premier asked GB people to decide on their own regarding the projects which they thought are suitable for them. He said that people have the right and authority to make decisions for their future. PM Khan said that no one could accurately measure the suitability of projects for a specific region while sitting in Islamabad and the region’s representatives will recommend fruitful projects as per their requirements.

Read: Govt decides granting provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan: PM Imran Khan

He said that it was the top priority of the state of Madinah for empowering weak segment of the society. PM Khan said that the federal government continued its Ehsaas poverty alleviation programme which will also be launched in the GB region besides expanding the health insurance programme.

The health insurance programme will enable GB families to get free medical facilities up to Rs1 million.

PM Imran Khan said that the federal government will make maximum efforts for promoting tourism in GB. He added that the tourism sector suffered a huge loss due to coronavirus pandemic this year. He announced that the government will provide soft loans for the construction of restrooms alongside houses.

He said that the government is a 300 megawatts power project for GB as two hydropower plants are already in progress and project proposals for two more projects were prepared. The addition of two more power plants will increase it up to six.

The premier said that the government will continue the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) besides completing the hydropower plants. He added that the federal government is continuing its efforts to uplift backward areas of GB, tribal districts and Balochistan.

Earlier, PM Imran Khan scheduled to visit Gilgit-Baltistan today to attend the oath-taking ceremony of new GB cabinet. He is accompanied by chief organiser Saifullah Khan Niazi, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan (FB) Ali Amin Gandapur and Adviser to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam.

During his visit, PM Imran Khan will also meet governor, chief minister and cabinet members.

On November 30, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Barrister Khalid Khursheed had been elected as Gilgit-Baltistan’s new chief minister. The election for the leader of the house of Gilgit Baltistan Assembly had held through the show of hands in the GB Assembly Hall in Gilgit on Monday.

Muhammad Khalid Khursheed got 22 votes while the opposition nominated candidate Amjad Hussain secured 9 votes. The session was presided over by Speaker Syed Amjad Ali Zaidi.

Last week, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had clinched both speaker and deputy speaker seats in the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA).

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