PM Imran announces Rs370 billion Gilgit-Baltistan development package

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced a five-year development package worth Rs370 billion for Gilgit-Baltistan during his visit to the area.

Addressing a ceremony in GB, the prime minister said that the government was starting with a package worth Rs370bn to be spent over five years and that never before had such an amount been spent in the area. “We will keep helping you,” he added.

The prime minister said that he had been waiting a “long time” to bring such a package for GB “which could bring development in actual terms to the region”.

He said that at the moment, Pakistan didn’t have enough resources — which he hoped it would have in the future — and there was demand from people all over Pakistan for money and government help so despite all that, “bringing a package like this I think is a very big achievement for Pakistan and GB.”

The prime minister recalled that he had an early association with GB since his school days and that the beauty of the region was untapped and unknown, even among Pakistanis. “Since our government came, it was our decision to bring up the potential of this region.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan elaborated on the projects under the development package and said they would constitute hydel power generation and local distribution networks, improving tourism connectivity such as development of the Babusar Tunnel, skills trainings and scholarships for the youth and upgradation of health services.

He added that water, sewerage and sanitation systems would be improved and “there was great need” for them in Skardu and GB due to their rapid expansion. Addressing the topic of industrialisation in the region, he said small and medium-scale industries would be successful such as food processing for fruits like apricots.

“The expansion of your infrastructure and expanding your airports,” the prime minister said, would also be a part of the package, specifically pointing to Skardu Airport which would cater to international flights now as well.

Earlier, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office had said that the premier would launch new projects of the Special Communication Organisation during his visit which would “provide mobile and internet services in remote areas of GB and improve the existing service” .

It had added that the premier would also be briefed on ongoing relief projects and future planning in the area under the Ehsaas Programme. He would also launch the Ehsaas Nashonuma (nutrition), Ehsaas Undergraduate and Secondary Education Scholarships and Ehsaas “One Woman One Account”.

“The prime minister will also be briefed on the promotion of tourism in GB.”

The prime minister had approved the package in a meeting regarding the development of GB last month.

Under the package, projects in various sectors would not only herald a new chapter of development and progress in GB but will also help address the problems of the region and create numerous employment opportunities.

More to follow,

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