Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. -File Photo

GILGIT: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, while expressing the government's commitment to socio-economic development of Gilgit Baltistan on Friday, announced a Rs2 billion grant to address the financial problems of the region.

Addressing the first joint session of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council and Legislative Assembly, he also directed the Ministry of Finance to immediately release the amount.

He said that with improvement in the financial position of the Federal Government, more resources would be provided to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah, Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Manzoor Wattoo, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, Secretary General Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Jehangir Badr and senior officials were also present on the occasion.

The prime minister assured of complete cooperation of the Federal Government and said he was fully familiar with the administrative and financial difficulties of Gilgit-Baltistan.

He said that he was informed of the difficulties faced by the GB government in its efforts to improve administrative affairs and rehabilitate the flood affectees of 2010.

“As you are aware that despite world recession and difficulties faced by the national economy, the Federal Government is providing financial assistance for the rehabilitation of flood affectees in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.”

The prime minister said progress and prosperity of Gilgit-Baltistan was the top most priority of the government.

“We are committed to the development of Gilgit Baltistan and we want the people of this area to get basic facilities, including health and education as are available in other developed areas. With the support of the people and the government of Gilgit-Baltistan, we will make it a model region.”

He said that unfortunately Gilgit-Baltistan was not safe from extremism and terrorism, as such incidents occurred here from time to time.

The elements involved in sectarian prejudice and extremism are taking advantage of the situation and are tarnishing the peaceful and secure environment, he added.

Raja Pervez Ashraf said that innocent lives had lost in these untoward incidents, which affected law and order causing concern for every Pakistani.

“My government is particularly focusing on these issues and is taking measures to resolve them,” he asserted.

The prime minister said that frontier constabulary, Gilgit Baltistan scouts and police were deployed on the Karakorum Highway for the protection of passengers and they were being provided all necessary facilities.

Prime Minister Ashraf said that instructions had been issued to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to ensure secure the journey on the highway.

“It is a matter of satisfaction that due to our sincere efforts, improvement has come in day-to-day life in Gilgit-Baltistan,” he remarked.

“In view of the strategic importance of Gilgit-Baltistan, there is a need to further solidify these efforts. Efforts made with sincerity never go waste,” he added.

The prime minister called on the Gilgit Baltistan Government to ensure safety of tourists and foreign guests so that negative impression about Pakistan could be erased, which would not only help promote tourism but enhance national honour.

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