PM unveils Rs 370 billion uplift package for GB: calls it “just a beginning”

GILGIT:Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday unveiled a development package worth Rs 370 billion for Gilgit Baltistan with a special focus on boosting tourism by enhancing road and aerial connectivity, power supply and upgradation of education and health facilities.

“This Rs 370 billion package for five years is just a beginning. We will be assisting you more as you require. I predict, if you properly take care of tourism, you will no more need money from center rather we will seek funds from you. You cannot imagine as how blessed you are,” the prime minister said addressing a ceremony here during his day long visit.

He was accompanied by Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Kashmir Affairs Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, SAPMs Dr Sania Nishtar and Zulfiqar Bukhari.

The prime minister, who earlier unveiled plaques to inaugurate and kick off multiple projects under the development package, said he had been awaiting such a package for GB.

He also appreciated Asad Umar for designing a mix of projects under PSDP and Public Private Partnership keeping in view the affordability of the federal government.

He said despite financial constraints owing to huge debt burden, the federal government had scraped Rs 370 billion package for GB with whom he had an association since his school age.

The uplift package consisted of hydel projects, new roads and Babusar Tunnel, scholarships and skills training for youth, upgradation of health and education facilities, water and sanitation schemes, promotion of SMEs and expansion of airports particularly Skardu Airport to cater international flights.

He said having visited Austria and Switzerland, he had found GB as the most beautiful region in the world, also admitted by his foreigner friends.

Even those who went through his pictorial book “Indus Journey” the people in Pakistan and abroad were stunned to see the beauty of Pakistan.