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Govt trying to settle the issue of GB: Mamnoon Hussain

29 January, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain said on Thursday the government was trying to settle the issue of administrative status of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) without changing its principled stance on Kashmir.

“The federal government is mulling over different legal aspects to resolve the problems of Gilgit-Baltistan and to bring it on a par with other developed areas of the country,” the president said while talking to a delegation of politicians and civil society members of GB at the Presidency.

He, however, did not elaborate on the kind of status that could be granted to GB.

Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir, GB Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman and speaker, deputy speaker and members of the GB Legislative Assembly attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, an official at the Presidency told media men that although GB was nominally being treated as a province, this had no constitutional cover. Because of this, benefits being enjoyed by the other provinces were not being given to GB.

President Hussain said that in order to achieve national progress it was imperative for the provincial governments to improve their governance and initiate development projects to serve the people.

He expressed the hope that GB would greatly benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and said the people should help the government complete the mega-project.

Rejecting the concerns expressed by opposition leaders, he claimed that there had been no change in the route of the corridor and that there should be no ambiguity in this regard.

Mr Hussain said that completion of the Diamer-Bhasha dam would provide a great opportunity for development of the region.

The government had undertaken many development projects in GB, he said. “New educational institutions are being established and the status of others is being enhanced,” he said.

He called upon the people to shun parochial, ethnic and sectarian differences and forge unity to achieve the cherished goals of peace and prosperity in the country.

The president said that in order to provide better education facilities in the region, a decision had been made to set up a university there. Funds had already been earmarked for this project.

Mr Hussain said a campus of the Karakoram University would soon be set up in Hunza and the quota for students of Gilgit-Baltistan for admission to the federal universities would be increased.

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