By Piar Ali Khudabadi
Gilgit, September 29: Thousands of people gathered at the Lalik Jan Shaheed Stadium to listen to Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousuf Raza Gilani, here in Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit – Baltistan. The prime minister was welcomed with slogans and claps as he reached the stadium with acting governor, president PPP and secretary general of the PPP’s regional setup.
Quite opposite to the ‘revolutionary’ announcements that he was supposed to make, as touted by PPP’s regional leadership, the PM failed to share any clear plan for uplift of the region.
He announced provision of ambulances for the district headquarters hospitals, as part of the health reforms plan. He also announced 87 Crore rupees for revival of the health sector and creation of a medical and an engineering college in the region. The biggest announcement came for the hospitality sector, which the prime minister declared as an industry.
He also promised that land will be allocated to government employees of GB in other provinces of the country and housing schemes for journalists and government employees will also be established in the region to improve life standards. The prime minister also announced revival of the “Gilgit allowance”, a special amount paid to employees serving in the difficult working conditions.
Gilani said that all legitimate rights of the people affected by Diamir – Bhasha dam will be protected and special plans had been devised for rehabilitation of the displaced people. He also said that mega projects in the region would bring economic prosperity and create better opportunities for regional development.
The prime minister said that DC office in Hunza – Nagar district will be made functional within a couple of days. He, however, made no mention of the additional constituency demanded by people of Hunza valley.
“Identity, administration and finance”, the premier said, were the primary areas of improvement in the region. He said that question of identity has been answered by christening it “Gilgit – Baltistan”. For betterment of administration he said that the local governor, chief minister, elected assembly have been provided under the ‘empowerment order’. He, however, did not announce any financial relief package for the region, during this speech.
Gilani said that the people of Gilgit – Baltistan have sacrificed a lot for the security and progress of Pakistan. “One of the evidences of the sacrifices”, the prime minister said, “is Lalik Jan Shaheed stadium”. He praised Pakistan Peoples Party for being the only political force that not only acknowledged sacrifices of the region’s population but also introduced progressive and positive reforms in the region.
Before the prime minister’s speech governor Kaira, PPP president Syed Mehdi Shah and secretary general, Ghulam Muhammad, also addressed the gathering, highlighting different issues and demands of the region, while also welcoming the prime minister to Gilgit – Baltistan.
Earlier the prime minister insepcted the guard of honor and was briefed by chief secretary and home secretary about the region.