By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Renovation work started on the dilapidated roads of Gilgit city on Tuesday to prepare for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s scheduled visit to Gilgit-Baltistan.
Officials of the works department initiated the task from Jutial by carpeting the damaged roads. Markets have also been cleaned and speed breakers have been painted to give Gilgit a facelift.
Tanvir Ahmed, a local journalist, said, “I wish the prime minister pays frequent visits to the region so that our city and roads are in a better condition.” The last time repair work was carried out in Gilgit, the capital city, was in 2012 when former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf visited the region.
Blessing in disguise
The residents called Nawaz’s visit “a blessing in disguise”. They said the prime minister’s visit was the only factor that had invoked a sense of responsibility among the officials who had otherwise disappointed people for years.
The government, which assumed charge in 2015, has so far failed to meet expectations. G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman had vowed that his government would bring a marked change during its tenure.
Nawaz, who is also the chairperson of Gilgit-Baltistan Council, will visit Gilgit on May 19 to administer oath to newly-elected members of the council. The prime minister will also chair the budget session of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council and announce new policies for tourism, mining, minerals, forests and timber. He is also expected to visit Hunza Valley to monitor development projects.
Meanwhile, the regional PPP leaders said PM’s Gilgit visit was aimed at launching his party’s election campaign for Saleem Khan, the son of G-B governor, who is contesting by-elections to be held this month in GBLA-6 Hunza. PPP G-B President Amjad Hussain said, “The PM will announce development packages during his visit. This is equal to pre-poll rigging.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2016.