GILGIT: On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the newly elected cabinet members after the recent Gilgit-Baltistan elections. The ceremony was attended by Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur, GB Governor Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon and newly elected Chief Minister Barrister Khalid Khursheed.
On the occasion, the GB governor administered the oath to the 12-member cabinet.
During his address Prime Minister ensured that as new Gilgit-Baltistan government was formed, the federal government would immediately initiate work to grant it provisional provincial status for its development and uplift it similar to other provinces of the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also instructed the newly elected cabinet members saying, an exclusive committee would be tasked to work on the official procedure for the provisional provincial status on timeline-basis that would meet the longstanding demand of the people.
The newly elected cabinet members from Gilgit-Baltistan includes Obaidullah Baig and Raja Muhammad Zakria Khan Maqpoon as senior ministers, and 10 ministers encompassing Fathullah Khan, Javed Ali Manwa, Muhammad Kazim, Wazir Muhammad Salim, Raja Nasir Ali Khan, Raja Muhammad Azam Khan, Haji Shah Baig, Haji Gulbar Khan, Mushtaq Hussain and Haji Abdul Hameed.
While addressing the oath taking ceremony, Prime Minister expressed high hopes for the GB cabinet members that they would set new bars and standards of public service in their areas to win the people’s hearts as well as their prayers.
He also added that the PTI government would put the GB region on a development course, that would change people’s lives altogether through multiple projects in tourism, power, economic and health projects.
Imran Khan also shed light upon his vision of “State of Madinah Model” that would prove effective in eradicating poverty and will help in uplifting the poor.
While addressing the ceremony he also announced to launch anti-poverty Ehsaas Programme in GB, in addition Sehat Insaf Card of Rs 10 million health insurance cover would be given to the people of GB.
Additionally, he also reaffirmed that the major focus of his government is to enhance tourism in the province as this tourism potential of GB attracted enormous number of local and foreign tourists, particularly in summer.
For this, the government would provide easy loans to the people for the purpose of building guest rooms to house tourists and this will help build economy on which the federal government would update the chief minister in detail, he added.
Furthermore, in his address he also mentioned that the federal government is negotiating with Austrian company for enhancing tourism. This company would help in developing skiing resorts, skiing games. He also said that in such a case, tourism would also flourish even in the winter season.
Apart from tourism, Prime Minister also announced building of 250-bed hospital in Skardu that would be expanded as per local requirements.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also added that bearing in mind huge potential in GB, two hydro power plants were in progress, two more were in pipeline and another two had been approved for total power generation of 300MW to meet whole GB needs. In addition, micro hydel power stations would also be installed in villages on the model of KP, he said.
He also highlighted the geographical potential of GB saying, as the area was connected with China and an important part of CPEC, a special economic zone would also be developed there. During his address he advised the newly elected GB government not to give up the principles of truth and honesty which were the core of the Seerah of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) as well as the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Imran Khan also lashed out the opposition over its corruption claims saying that regardless of having appointed their pal as NAB head and signing Charter of Democracy with rival party, the corruption scams of the PML-N were unearthed through the Panama papers.
He lambasted saying, “The (stolen) public money is Allah’s curse. I have seen Nawaz and Zardari facing (Allah’s) punishment by coming in and out of jails, moving to Saudi Arabia or London just to cover up their theft and corruption.”
In his address he also talked about the increasing cases of COVID-19 and still Pakistan Democratic Party is holding huge public gatherings. He said the doctors and nurses were concerned over mounting pressure at hospitals but the PDM was adamant to hold public gatherings.
The prime minister also gave his two cents over the recent heated interview of ex-finance minister Ishaq Dar by BBC’s host Stephen Sackur on Tuesday. In this interview Dar was noticeably under immense stress for facing questions about his assets and return to Pakistan, he said.