SKARDU: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday assured of holding free, fair and transparent elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and said ensuring level-playing field by the government encouraged all political parties to run for the polls.
Addressing a large public gathering organized by Pakistan Peoples Party at Police Ground here, the Prime Minister termed it “his government’s success” for encouraging participation of all political parties in the polls that once boycotted the 2008 general election.
The Prime Minister said Gilgit-Baltistan Self Governance Order 2009 not only gave identity to its people, but also provided opportunity to political parties to play their part for the development of new self-autonomous region.
He said from election onward, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan would enjoy complete internal autonomy with their own chief minister, independent Public Service Commission, separate judiciary and Election Commission.
Gilani declared Skardu as ‘big city’ similar to his earlier announcement for Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan. He mentioned that Skardu had already been upgraded to divisional level.
He announced that 200 schools and 100 dispensaries in Skardu would be made functional by the year’s end. He said the already allocated Rs 2 billion for education and one billion for health would be enhanced if required for more such projects.
He announced Hill Allowance for the employees of Grade 1-15 and fixation of Rs 6,000 as minimum salary.
Gilani announced upgradation of Skardu airport to international level in view of great tourism potential of the area.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani announced upgradation of Chalt and Denyore in Hunza district to tehsil level and directed to promptly submit him the case on Shigar, Gultari and Kharmang to make them districts.
He said Shatoon Nullah would be linked with Satpara Lake in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Prime Minister said hydel power had big potential in the area with a capacity of 40,000 Megawatt and added that Rs 5 billion would be spent on such projects.
He directed for the early implementation of Bhasha and Bunji dams projects at fast pace, adding that foreign investment to the area would bring a big economic revolution. He asked for providing early compensation to the affected and dislocated people due to construction of these dams.
He also pledged that the affected people of district Ghanche would be compensated soon.
He said the already allocated Rs 100 million had the target to buy 100 buses for students of Gilgit-Baltistan, out of which 33 had been purchased.
He said the salaries of police personnel would be equalized with their federal counterparts and said 5,000 more staff would be inducted in the police force on quota at district level.
He announced to double the amount of Benazir Bhutto Income Support Program for Gilgit-Baltistan and expressed the government’s intent to utilize it for health insurance and children school fee.
Gilani said ‘langars’ (free food) would be set up in all districts and mentioned that ‘Sweet Homes’ had already been set up for orphans with their centre at each district.
The Prime Minister directed Ministry of Youth Affairs to include Gilgit-Baltistan in its scheme of employing youth. He asked Ministry of Finance to soon approve PC-4 for all halted projects for their prompt initiation.
He said Pakistan Peoples Party was a mission that based on providing rights and empowerment to the masses.
He vowed to continue pursuing the vision of ‘two Shaheed Bhuttos’ for making public strong in real sense and carrying forward the politics of reconciliation.
PM Gilani said the government would make every effort to take the country out of challenges.
He said he was proud of addressing the public gathering at the same place where Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had once addressed the area people and had vowed to give autonomy to them.
About Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam who arrived in Skardu alongwith Prime Minister onboard from Islamabad, said he was ensured by the JUI(F) chief for full support from his party with some understanding on adjustment of seats for the Gilgit-Baltistan polls.