GILGIT: Deputy Speaker Nazir Ahmed Advocate has formed a seven-member parliamentary committee having representation from both the opposition and treasury benches to take up with the National Highway Authority the alleged changes to the design of a key road, which was recently completed to connect Gilgit with Skardu.

He set up the body after lawmakers from both sides of the aisle during a session of the GB Assembly, which began on Saturday evening, protested the frequent blockages of the Juglote-Skardu Road due to landslides and rolling stones.

The deputy speaker, who chaired the session, would himself head the committee.

Pakistan Peoples Party member from Skardu Shahzad Agha had tabled a calling-attention notice on the Juglote-Skardu Road, highlighting that even light rain or snowfall blocked the road, causing trouble to travellers, especially tourists.

The calling-attention notice pointed out that National Highway Authority had said that eight tunnels would be constructed on the road and other necessary steps would also be taken for safety of travellers, but terms of the road contract had been violated during its construction.

The resolution demanded review of the design of the road to make it safe for travel.

Minister for information and planning Fatullah Khan told the house that the Juglote-Skardu Road project had been approved during the PPP government and work on the road started during the PML-N government, which was completed during the PTI government.

The minister suggested that a letter should be written to NHA chairman, asking him to conduct a survey of the road afresh to remove flaws in its design.

Meanwhile, GB Assembly members from both the opposition and treasury unanimously approved a private member’s bill seeking 60 per cent increase in salaries of the chief minister, the speaker and the deputy speaker, Leader of the Opposition, ministers, members, chairmen of standing committees and parliamentary secretaries.

The bill was tabled in November last year by the PML-N member Ghulam Mohammad.

However, later Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid Khan had returned the bill, saying it was no time to increase the salaries of lawmakers.

The copies of the bill were not shared with media.

Meanwhile, GB Assembly’s budget session has been called for Monday (today), where finance minister Javed Ali Manwa would present the region’s budget for 2022-23.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2022

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