GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly on Friday passed a resolution demanding finalisation of region’s due share in NFC Award and allocation of resources to GB on the pattern of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaker Nazir Ahmed chaired the assembly’s pre-budget session during which GB Finance Minister Muhammad Ismail and treasury member Amjad Hussain, along with opposition member Javed Ali Manwa presented a joint resolution.

The resolution stated that after detailed deliberation and discussion on the scarcity of financial resources and overcoming the financial crisis in Gilgit-Baltistan, the assembly unanimously resolved that the federal government should make an agreement for the allocation of resources to GB on the pattern of the financial agreement made with AJK and the federal government.

The resolution also demanded provision of a four per cent share in the grant-in-aid share of provinces from the federal divisible pool until the finalisation of GB’s due share from the NFC; continuation of the existing subsidy on the purchase of wheat and petroleum for GB; establishment of special economic and industrial zones; special initiatives for the region to attract private sector investors; provision of water use charges and net hydel profit on power generation; protection and provision of an adequate share for GB under the PSDP.

All members from both sides of the aisle favoured the resolution, which was announced adopted unanimously by Speaker Nazir Ahmed.

Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan called it a ‘discrimination’ to not provide NFC Award share to GB. He said he had discussed the provision of NFC Award shares to GB and Diamer-Basha dam royalty with the prime minister. He said that GB had been provided with Rs25 billion worth of PSDP projects during the fiscal year 2022-23, but during the current fiscal year, GB had only been given Rs8 billion for projects which was an injustice to the people.

He informed the assembly that government rest houses had been leased out to a private company for revenue, rejecting the impression that the rest houses had been sold out to a private company.

Earlier, GB opposition leader Kazim Mesum criticised the GB government for leasing out 37 rest houses to a private company without open bidding. GB opposition members Javed Ali Manwa and Raja Zakaria Khan Maqpoon said the opposition would resist leasing out public properties to a private company without open bidding.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

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