Minister Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Ali Amin Gandapur on Wednesday has stated that the government has decide to change the status of Gilgit-Baltistan to that of an official province of Pakistan entailing all constitutional rights, and representation in both the Senate and National Assembly, Express Tribune reported.
He further told that Prime Minister Imran Khan is soon to visit the new province and formally announce the new development. He relayed that Gilgit-Baltistan would be given adequate representation in all constitional bodies of Pakistan.
Constitutional rights for Pakistan’s fifth province
“After consultation with all stakeholders, the federal government has decided in principle to give constitutional rights to Gilgit-Baltistan,” minister Gandapur informed a delegation of journalists from G-B. “Our government has decided to deliver on the promise it made to the people there.”
However, Gandapur highlighted that the subsidy and tax exemption on wheat given to the region would not be withdrawn even though constitutional rights had been granted. “Until the people there stand on their feet, they will continue to enjoy this facility,” he added.
The Minister held that the neglect towards the people of Gilgit-Baltistan shall come to an end, and other steps for the development of the new province were being undertaken apart from constitutional rights and provincial setup in the region.
Investing in the future of Gilgit-Baltistan
“To provide better healthcare facilities to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, the government will provide MRI and CT scan machines to all District Headquarters Hospitals, while the basic health units (BHUs) to be provided ultrasound machines,” he said.
“Furniture will be provided to all schools. Rest houses will be set up at about 70 places to promote tourism. Loans will be provided to the locals to build huts and guesthouses at tourist destinations,” he told, regarding this he stating that they had reached an agreement with the National Bank of Pakistan.
Minister Gandapur said the government is undertaking the task of building a tunnel at Babusar top to improve the areas transport facilities, “This will make the travel to Gilgit-Baltistan via Babusar Top possible throughout the year.”
To protect the wilderness and wildlife, Gilgit-Baltistan would be declared as a protected area. Higher education institutions including medical and engineering colleges would also be set up in the province, as well as a mineral policy for the region.
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“Elections will be held on time and our preparations are complete,” he added, stating that party tickets will soon be distributed among the candidates. Gandapur responded to a question of whether PTI will enter into an alliance with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) by saying “there is no question of alliance with these two parties.”
GVS News Desk