Council a bridge between Gilgit – Baltistan and Pakistan, says Gilani

ISLAMABAD, Apr 3 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Saturday administered oath to the members of the first Gilgit Baltistan Council with a pledge to bring its people at par with other provinces of the country. “Our endeavour has always been to treat the people of Gilgit Baltistan at par with other provinces and areas of the country,” the Prime Minister said while addressing the oath-taking ceremony held here at the PM House.

The Prime Minister said the government had also committed to inject an amount of Rs 15 billion in next five years for the rapid development of Gilgit Baltistan and to ensure its progress.

He termed ‘Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self governance Order 2009’ as a landmark step to give people of the area their due political and financial rights that had never been allowed before.

“It has been the sole privilege of the people’s government to give maximum autonomy to the people of Gilgit Baltistan,” he said.

Prime Minister Gilani assured that development funds for Gilgit Baltistan would be released at the earliest. He said with the start of work on the Diamer Bhasha dam, hundreds and thousands of locals will get jobs and the project will usher in an era of development and prosperity in the region.

The prime minister said the establishment of the Gilgit Baltistan Council will serve as a bridge between the government of Pakistan and that of Gilgit Baltistan.

The Council set up under Article 33 of the Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009 comprises of its Governor as the Vice Chairman and its Chief Minister as member. The Council comprises six elected parliamentarians from Pakistan and an equal number from Gilgit Baltistan.

Prime minister Gilani said the Council will provide an opportunity to the representatives of Gilgit Baltistan to gain from the experiences of representatives from Pakistan and for them to have a better understanding of the issues and problems of the people of Gilgit Baltistan.

Gilani said the Council has been assigned 54 subjects for legislation including important areas of governance.

“It is now upto the members of the Council to ensure transparency, equity, justice, fairplay and efficiency,” he said.

He termed it a big challenge and hoped the members shall rise to the occasion to provide their selfless services in overcoming this challenge.

The prime minister asked the newly elected members to give practical shape to the aspirations of their electorate who have wholeheartedly welcomed the Gilgit Baltistan Council and the Gilgit Baltistan assembly.

He said it can be done through untiring efforts and commitment to bring about a change for the better. He said the new representatives were in a better position to run the affairs of Gilgit Baltistan in a better manner.

Minister for Kashmir Affairs Manzoor Wattoo said the empowerment of Gilgit Baltistan was the outcome of vision of the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party and paid tributes to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani for making it happen.

He hoped the Gilgit Baltistan Cabinet would be soon formed and its representatives will be able to serve their people in a befitting manner.

Prime Minister Gilani earlier administered oath to four members of the Council here at the PM house. Two members who could not reach Islamabad due to unavailability of flight will be administered oath later. Governor Dr Shama Khalid and Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah attended the ceremony.

Gilani also hosted a reception in honour of the Council members.

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  1. JKNIA Letter to British House of Commons/Lords and MEP`S.


    The candidates for UK parliamentary elections summer 2010.
    Dear Sir/Madam,


    The issue of an occupation of Jammu Kashmir, violation of Human rights, and the threat to the regional peace in South East Asia in the future.

    I am writing to you on behalf of Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance (JKNIA ) which is an alliance of Kashmiri political organisations in the UK working for the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue to achieve a united, independent,secular and democratic Jammu Kashmir for all the people of Jammu Kashmir.
    You may already be aware of the occupation of Kashmir issue. This directly affects approximately 700,000 people of Kashmiri origin who are citizens of UK and would like to see a resolution of the long standing Kashmir issue.There are currently over half a million Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir and there is constant violation of human rights including torture, abductions, rape of women, murder of innocent Kashmiri men, women and children.
    The so called government institutions in both the Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) are serving the political interests of their respective masters in India and Pakistan, without regard to the views of the ordinary citizens of Jammu Kashmir. [For example Pakistan Government has recently annexed Gilgit Baltistan (as a de-facto Pakistani province) which is historically an integral part of Jammu Kashmir.] As a consequence there is a deprivation in infrastructure and a huge lack of resources for health facilities, education and employment for the people of Jammu Kashmir which affects them deeply and causes suffering on a daily basis.
    Without going into the detail or history of the issue (which some of you will be fully aware of) we are writing to you at this important point in time before the General Election in 2010. At this important time the UK citizens of Jammu Kashmir origin will participate in the elections and may be able to influence the outcome of elections in some constituencies throughout the UK. We should be obliged if you would address the following points in particular:

    As an individual candidate please clarify your position on the resolution of the Kashmir issue leading to the creation of a unified, independent and democratic Jammu and Kashmir.
    The position of your Political Party in this respect
    How you and your party in your respective roles regardless of whether or not you win would help the Kashmiris in the UK and JKNIA in particular to advance the core cause for resolution of this very important issue.

    No doubt you will be aware that until and unless this issue is resolved there is a grave danger to peace in this region and to the World at large. As both nuclear powers India and Pakistan continue to regard this as a territorial dispute for their own interests and ignore the views of the people of Jammu Kashmir. Kindly acknowledge safe receipt of this letter a timely response to this letter will be appreciated. We trust this clarifies this matter if however you have any further queries or questions on this important issue please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Yours faithfully,

    Nadeem Aslam,
    General Secretary JKNIA Email-

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