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Nawaz Sharif: ‘Gilgit Baltistan to be developed at par with rest of Pakistan’

GILGIT – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said the federal government would develop Gilgit Baltistan at par with rest of Pakistan with specific focus on its tourism and mineral sector.

Chairing the meeting of Gilgit Baltistan Council here, the prime minister said that his government would be happy to provide funding to Gilgit Baltistan in priority areas for export of dry fruit. The Gilgit Baltistan Council under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved Gilgit Baltistan Protection of Pakistan bill 2015 and Gilgit Baltistan Council Adoption of Laws bill 2015.

The prime minister in his capacity as Chairman GB Council also gave approval of the Council’s budget for the year 2014-15. He also gave approval for forming a two-member committee to oversee disposal of timber lying with the local government since 2001. He stressed developing tourism in the area and also focusing the mineral sector.

Nawaz pointed that exports of fruits, especially dry fruits needs special attention of the GB government. He said that Pak-China Economic Corridor would immensely benefit Gilgit Baltistan. The members of the council thanked the PML-N government for providing wheat subsidy worth unprecedented amount of Rs 45 crore. He was pleased to note that conservation of Markhor (Ibex) was being done successfully and their population was increasing.

The prime minister said that conservation of existing and regeneration of forests of Gilgit Baltistan was a major priority of the government. Nawaz was briefed on Timber Policy and a Working Plan was presented to him under which a 30-year policy has been devised to save forests in northern areas with regeneration of forests as major component of the policy.

It is to mention here that the prime minister had directed in a meeting of the GB Council on December 6, 2013 that a well-considered long-term policy be formulated in this regard. The prime minister was briefed that the timber policy had been formulated after consultation with all stakeholders including forest owners and community representatives.

Under this plan, 2.6 million saplings will be planted during the 30-year period. He said that all expenses incurred by the GB Council must be used in a transparent manner and to eliminate corruption. The prime minister was also briefed that a special force was being raised for the security of Korakorum Highway.

Minister-in-charge GB Council Birjees Tahir said that people were grateful to the PML-N government for announcing a development package of Rs 47.2 bln for GB. The meeting was attended by GB Chief Minister Sher Jahan Mir, and MNAs Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar, Khalid Hussain Magsi, Dr Darshan, Syed Iftikharul Hassan, Isphanyar M Bhandara, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Amjad Hussain and Ghulam Hussain Saleem. Marvi Memon and Dr Asif Kirmani were also present.

Source: Daily Times

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