Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the planning and development minister to review the decision with regard to slashing of development funds of Gilgit-Baltistan as well as the withdrawal of subsidy on wheat supply to the mountain region.
The prime minister has also asked the minister to ensure expeditious availability of funds for the ongoing development projects.
He gave these directives during a meeting with Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman at the Prime Minister’s house on Monday, lowering the heightened tension between the regional and the central governments, sources privy to the meeting told The High Asia Herald on Tuesday.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is ruling the roast in GB and Azad Kashmir. The PTI government recently changed the GB governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali and appointed PTI local chapter leader Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon which created tension between the centre and the regional government.
The prime minister has also appreciated the performance of the GB government, saying “The news about the provincial government’s initiatives for establishing good governance and peace are encouraging,” the PM commented.
Premier Khan assured the CM of his government’s support in the development of Gilgit-Baltistan government. PTI government will take steps for the betterment of the region with the consultation of the GB government, Khan said.
He also mentioned the social indicators of GB especially in the education sector which is better than other provinces, Khan observed. He mentioned the recent attacks on educational institutes in Diamer district which has affected the educational progress, however, the premier assured CM Hafeez that the federal government will take steps for the development of Diamer district.
The CM informed the premiere of the steps taken by his government and hoped that the federal government like its predecessor will continue to support him in maintaining the momentum of progress in the impoverished mountain region and peace that is prerequisite for development.
He attributed his government’s success to the previous PML-N government and other stakeholders and informed the Pm that the development budget of the region was increased from Rs7 billion to Rs17 billion during the last three years to bring the mountain region on a par with other provinces. He said that GB is the only province which ensured 100per cent utilization of its budget allocated under PSDP and ADP. There is no such precedence in other provinces, he remarked. He said one-third of GB ’s budget is spent on the provision of electricity as it is the only region which is not getting a single electricity from the national grid.
He urged the federal government to take back the decision of slashing Rs2 billion from the development budget of GB, continue funding to mega projects approved by the previous government and allocate more funds for the fast-track projects.
The PM directed the Planning and Development Minister Khusro Bakhtiar to ensure consultation of GB on mega projects and expedite availability of funds for the timely completion of these projects as CM Hafeez has successfully pleaded his case.
CM apprised the premiere of the importance of the sewerage project for the capital city as Rs400 million has already been spent on it which includes laying of pipelines for drinking water and gas, he added.
He also apprised the premier about the other important projects such as the first medical college and the first women university campus being set up in Gilgit, the Gilgit-Shandur road, which is very important in terms of security and economy and tourism in Chitral and GB, Chakdara highway, Batoga Road, and Kargah Road are very vital for the development of the region
The CM also apprised the PM about the apprehensions and reservations of GB about CPEC, Diame-Bhasha Dam and wheat subsidy.
Hafiz urged the PM to make people and government of GB in any decision about these projects which was accepted by the premier. and initiate projects in GB with the consultation of the regional government and says a statement issued by the media coordinator of the GB Chief Minister after a meeting between Imran and Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman at the PM’s house in Islamabad on Monday.
Earlier on October 3, the CM had a scheduled meeting with the PM which was canceled that provoked misunderstanding and criticism on social media as well as from the chief minister who held a news conference the other day and expressed his anguish and apprehensions about the government.
Meanwhile, the CM also met the minister for planning and apprised him of the situation arising out of the cut in the development budget and the PM’s directives.
The minister assured him that no major will be dropped from PSDP, However, he said funds availability should be made as per the priority of the provincial government.
He also assured that those projects which were hit by due to shortage of funds this year would be initiated with better allocation next year.
The minister clarified that it is difficult to provide funds for non-approved projects in the PSDP.