ISLAMABAD, Oct 7 (APP): Gilgit Baltistan Council, which met here at the Prime Minister House on Friday and presided over by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in his capacity as Chairman of the Council, unanimously approved the budget of GB Council for the fiscal year 2011-2012. The budget estimates consist of Rs. 482.665 million for the Financial Year 2011-12. According to the budget documents, non-tax revenues are Rs. 280 million, with capital receipts at 0.200 million, development expenditures at Rs. 180 million and non-development expenditures at Rs. 302.665 million, making total expenditure to the extent of Rs. 482.665 million.
Earlier, Prime Minister Gilani administered oath to three Advisors to Chairman Gilgit-Baltistan Council at a ceremony held at the PM House on Friday. The Advisors who took oath are Professor Ghulam Hussain, Ibadat Ali, and Atta Ullha Khan Shahab.
Soon after the oath taking ceremony, Prime Minister Gilani, while addressing the second session of Gilgit-Baltistan Council, congratulated the advisors to Chairman, Gilgit-Baltistan Council, on taking oath of office.
He hoped that the Advisors would discharge their responsibilities with complete sincerity.
The Prime Minister said that political and administrative autonomy was a long standing demand of the people of GiIgit Baltistan.
“It is democracy only that resolves people’s age-old problems by addressing their grievances and accommodating their demands. The government of Pakistan and People’s Party has done what the political party having two-third majority in parliament could not do,” he stated.
“Restoration of Constitution to its original form, devolution of powers under the 18th Constitutional Amendment to the federating units, 7th NFC Award, the renaming of NWFP as Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, introduction of amendments in FCR and Extension of Political Parties Act in FATA, are some of the historic initiatives with far-reaching implications,” the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister said that the political history of the region bore witness to the fact that all landmark developments that led to attainment of autonomy took place during the governments of Pakistan People’s Party.
The first major reform in the form of Northern Areas Council Legal Framework Order 1974-75 was promulgated by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, implying introduction of major administrative, judicial and political changes, he added.
The Prime Minister said that it was during the government of Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto that the Northern Areas Legal Framework Order 1994 was promulgated.
The final culmination of the process came about when the present government issued Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order 2009, giving people political, legislative and administrative autonomy in line with the manifesto of PPP, he added.
The Prime Minister maintained that the Gilgit-Baltistan Council was performing its responsibilities in an upbeat manner by providing complete institutional support to the Council to work out policies aimed at achieving welfare of people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Gilani said that the Gilgit-Baltistan Government was fully autonomous in running its affairs.
He said that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had their own Governor, Chief Minister and an Assembly with powers to legislate on scores of subjects. They had their own judiciary with their Supreme Appellate Court having original jurisdiction, he added.
The Prime Minister said that Gilgit-Baltistan had vast potential in the areas of power generation, tourism, mines and mineral and other areas.
The mega Hydro-power projects such as Diamer-Basha Dam were extremely vital to our energy and food security and its role in bringing prosperity to the people of the area hardly needs to be emphasized, he added.
The Prime Minister announced that the present Government also planned to initiate work on Bunji Dam which is projected to have power generation capacity of 11000 MW.
He said that the overall size of ongoing ADP (Annual Development Programme) projects in Gilgit-Baltistan—comprising 563 schemes—was about Rs. 52.3 billion.
Projects worth Rs 13.2 billion are being funded through Federal PSDP (Public Sector Development Programme), he said, adding, for the current financial year an allocation of Rs 6.076 billion has been made for Gilgit-Baltistan Government over and above the PSDP allocation of Rs. 1.58 billion.
The Prime Minister as the Chairman of GB Council prorogued the 2nd session of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council.
Those who attended the meeting included Vice Chairman Gilgit Baltistan Council and Governor Gilgit Baltistan, Pir Karam Ali Shah, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan, Syed Mehdi Shah, Minister for Science and Technology, Mir Changez Khan Jamali, MNA and Member GB Council, Farahnaz Ispahani, MNA and Member GB Council, Aftab Shaban Mirani, MNA and Member GB Council, Muhammad Tariq Tarar, MNA and Member GB Council, Sherry Rehman, MNA and Member GB Council, Engr Usman Khan Tarkai, Member GB Council, Prof Ghulam Hussain Saleem, Member GB Council, Muhammad Ibrahim, Member GB Council, Amjad Hussain, Member GB Council, Saeed Afzal, Member GB Council, Attaullah Khan, Speaker, GB Legislative Assembly, Wazir Baig, Deputy Speaker GB Legislative Assembly, Jamil Ahmed, Minister for Finance Gilgit Baltistan, Muhammad Ali Akhtar and senior official of Gilgit Baltistan Council.