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Power first: Gilgit-Baltistan governor says electricity is his top priority

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan said on Wednesday resolving the region’s power crisis would be his top priority.

“I will go for power generation first. It will help the poor earn a living,” said the governor at his first media talk after assuming office last week.

Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan replaced Federal Minister for G-B and Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir, thus becoming the sixth governor of G-B.

“Attabad Lake could be the most feasible project to produce cost effective electricity in a short period of time,” said the governor who served for five years as the region’s chief executive during General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s government. The position was later elevated to that of chief minister in 2009.

Mir Ghazanfar, also called Mir of Hunza for being the progeny of the former ruler of the state, said if G-B gets sufficient power, it would help people run their businesses and feed their families.

The governor said the region should pay attention to exporting its products including fruits and vegetables. He suggested the region could export potatoes to China. “So far we have been importing goods from China and now it is time we should pay attention to exporting our products.”

Attabad resort

Mir Ghazanfar said G-B had immense potential for tourism and the opportunity could be tapped by providing more facilities to tourists and those individuals associated with the sector. “This time around, Hunza ran out of space accommodating tourists and instead people put them up at their homes as guests,” he said. “This shouldn’t be the case; we must have hotels to accommodate tourists.”

He said a plan was under consideration to make a tourist resort at Attabad. The governor suggested the administration provide soft loans to individuals to enable them to invest in the
tourism sector.

The governor, who enjoys family terms with the prime minister, said G-B would benefit a great deal if Nawaz Sharif formally introduced him to the Chinese government.

About Hunza’s share in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Mir Ghazanfar said at least one economic zone should be constructed in the area and another in Gilgit as both districts offered more land for the corridor.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd,  2015.


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